Is Tesla Model 3 a Good First Car? These Owners Said…

By Muhammad Hassan •  Updated: 01/10/23 •  8 min read

Is Tesla Model 3 a good first car for you?

is tesla model 3 a good first car
Credit to Tesla

Well, there’s no straight answer because the answer depends on your individual circumstances.

Are you an adult with a job or a business?

Do you want to give your kid a Tesla Model 3 as his/her first car?

Is it a gift to your wife who doesn’t really know how to drive? (Or maybe she does. What’s the difference anyways?!)

I can’t give you the answer right away, but if you read the article till the end, I can guarantee you’ll have your answer by then.

Without further ado…

Tesla Model 3 Is NOT a Good First Car If…

You’re a Teenage Kid Barely Out of College

I don’t know if you’ve attended a driving school properly, but even if you have, I wouldn’t recommend you to go for a Tesla Model 3, or any Tesla for that matter.

Why? Tesla is a powerful car with above-average features, and in a novice’s hands, it’s dangerous – especially when the “novice” is a teenage kid barely out of college.

The Tesla Model 3 is an expensive purchase. If any mishap occurs, minor or major, you’ll be damaging a $50k+ car; believe me, it won’t feel good.

You need an ICE car, like a Honda Civic, which is easy to drive around in the city and isn’t too expensive. Just spend a year or so on that car, get your hands straight, and then you can definitely transition to the Tesla Model 3.

On that note, transitioning from an ICE car to an EV is easy, but if you reverse that, it’ll be a nightmare.

If You’re Giving It to Your Kid as His/Her First Car

Again, the same reasons I stated above. 

You shouldn’t be so naive to give your kid a $50k+ car as his first. It’s not safe. 

Micheal Nickerson, a father and an experienced Model S owner, gave pretty valid arguments on Quora when asked this question:

If you are talking about the first car for young teenagers, I wouldn’t get them a new Tesla. I have a few reasons:

  • The first year or two with a new teenage driver are very tough on a car. They don’t know how to judge distances and read traffic. Even if they don’t make a mistake, the other teenage drivers around them are likely to hit them. Think about a high school parking lot just after the final bell rings. The Tesla will be able to prevent some accidents, but it can’t dodge a sideswipe when stopped.
  • I find that young drivers do better if they can see over the car in front of them and see more of the traffic. With all the SUVs on the road, that will be hard in a Model 3.
  • I didn’t want my children growing up feeling entitled or “rich.”

Need I say more?

If You Can’t Manage Its Repair Costs

You’re not a teenage kid or in your early twenties, you’ve got a good job with decent earnings, and you can somehow manage to pay installments for a Tesla Model 3 for the next five years.

Take my advice and drop this idea. You’ll get this car, but you won’t be able to manage its repair costs, which are a lot. Even a small repair will cost you $100–$500.

Tesla won’t be so much fun then! The community agrees with me too…

No. And I say that as a Tesla fan boy driving my second Tesla right now.

Tesla’s are the best cars you can have. There is one problem though. They are very expensive to repair and it usually takes a long time to do so if you have an accident

Aleksey Matiychenko

Tesla Model 3 Is Definitely a Good First Car If…

You’re a Responsible Adult Earning a Decent Amount of Money (With or Without Family)

Being a responsible adult isn’t enough. Below are some important points. If you check them all, you’re definitely eligible for getting a Tesla Model 3 as your first car.

  1. You’re paying net cash for it. Or you’re buying it in installments and eligible to sell it whenever you want. If you’re planning to lease this car, don’t! drnick5 on Reddit gave pretty solid points:

With a lease, you are arguably MORE trapped than with a car loan, as you can’t get out of it early. With a loan, you could sell the car at pretty much any time. Also, specifically with Tesla, At the end of the lease, you have no option to buy out the car and keep it, you have to turn it back in. You’d then be back at square 1, needing to buy or lease another car. (Some people refer to this as the “Lease Trap”)

Are you leasing because it’s a lower payment? Leasing costs you more in the long run, as you always have a payment. If you can actually afford it, consider buying and keeping it long term.

  1. You can afford its insurance and maintenance costs, because believe me, they’re expensive. In fact, it’s one of the major reasons why some previous owners encourage not buying a Tesla Model 3.

According to RepairPal, repair and maintenance costs for Tesla are 27% more than the typical ICE vehicles. According to their estimate, your Tesla might drain $832 per year out of your pocket for maintenance and repair. On the other hand, typical ICE would drain up to $652 per year. 

  1. You have your own house or your building has EV charging points as well as good electricity backup. You’ll need to charge your car overnight every night, and if something hinders you to do so, you’ll wake up to big trouble the next day. Something similar happened to a Tesla owner. He posted his problem on Tesla Motors Club, and this is how an owner responded:

Ah, you have one of those new builds that’s a nightmare for EV charging due to parking away from the property.

Honestly, I’d not bother with an EV until you have moved and make sure you buy somewhere that’s not got a bad parking set up for EV charging. 


  1. You have a family, and you’re looking for a safe car for your family’s needs. If it’s one thing the Tesla Model 3 is good at, it’s being a good family car.

If you checked all the points above, congratulations! You’re eligible to have Tesla Model 3 as your first car. Go ahead and get it.

Determined to Buy a Tesla Model 3 for Your Teenager? Take These Precautions Then…

Leaving a Tesla with a teenager and just hoping for the best is certainly not a good idea. But with some precautions and careful management, you can definitely make it work.

Let’s hear it from Adam Roth:

If you take all these precautions, yes, you can definitely let your kid drive a Tesla as his/her first car.

Final Thoughts: Is Tesla Model 3 a Good First Car?

Told ya, you’ll have your answer by the end of this article.

I hope you resonated with one of the owners above and made up your mind about whether you should get the Tesla Model 3 as your first car or not.

I know the article mostly has cons, but I only shared what the Tesla community realistically thinks about the subject matter. 

This vehicle is just not safe for teenagers unless you take all the precautions stated above. Only a responsible adult with money, a good location, and preferably a family should get the Tesla Model 3 as their first car.

Muhammad Hassan

Engineer by trade and writer by passion, Hassan is an automotive enthusiast who thinks EVs are the future. At TTU, he discusses the coolest features and products Model 3 owners look for -- so they can better experience their cars. In his free time, he enjoys tea, reading, and listening to podcasts.

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