My family need a new car. We test drove a Tesla Model Y in July and we liked it. But before we make the final decision, I checked out other options to see if Tesla was the best option. My daily commute was less than 20 miles, which was well within the current generation of plug-in hybrid’s battery range. Plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars were my main target.

Option 1, Toyota RAV4 Prime and BZ4X

Toyota started the Hybrid trend with the Prius. Toyota’s cars are reliable and easy to maintain. Toyota cars were my first options. I priced the lowest cost Prius Prime SE. The base cost came out at $32,350. The second option is RAV4 Prime. The base cost of the lowest cost model SE was $43,090. The Toyota’s full electric SUV BZ4X’s lowest cost model XLE FWD (SE) was $42,000. All three options were viable. But we were looking for a SUV, so RAV4 Prime and BZ4X were the only true options for us. Unfortunately, when I visited the local Toyota dealership, there were none of these SUV available. The sales people told me that it might take months for the dealer to get any of these cars in. Since I could not test drive any of them, Toyota cars were out of the picture.

Option 2, Nissan Leaf and Ariya

Nissan Leaf was one of the widely adapted battery electric car. So I visited the local Nissan dealership. I was surprised to see both Leaf and Ariya were on the dealer lot. The Ariya was a full SUV. I priced the lowest cost model Ariya, ENGAGE FWD, at $43,190. The Nissan Leaf was too small for my need. Just for information, I priced the S Hatchback, the lowest cost Leaf model, at $28,040. The Nissan Leaf was very cost attractive if it was used as a second car for short distance commute. But we were looking for a SUV, so it was out of the picture as well.

Option 3, Tesla Model Y or Model 3

Tesla Model Y is the most popular SUV of 2023. We tested it in July. It was very responsive and very safe. I felt like big brother Elon was watching over me with lots of safety functions. For example, when the traffic light turned green, the car made a chime sound if I did not move the car. It also watched lanes and cars for me. If my car was too close to the edge of the lane, it reminded me with a chime or vibrating the steering wheel. The price for a model Y was $44,320 for an all wheel drive Model Y in the Tesla’s inventory right on Tesla website. Tesla Model Y also qualifies for a $7,500 credit if the household income is less than the threshold (AGI $300,000 if marry file jointly, $225,000 for heads of households, $150,000 for all other filers). The lowest price of a model 3 in the inventory was $36,220.

Final decision on a Model Y

Toyota, Nissan and Tesla were good options for my use case. There were four factors that tilted me into a Model Y:

  1. The tax rebate of $7,500. Only Tesla cars qualified for the rebate. With the rebate, Model Y actual cost would be $36,820. That was lower than other SUVs. The rebate also lowered Tesla model 3 to actual cost of $28,720, which was almost the same as a Nissan Leaf, but model 3 was a bigger car.
  2. Tesla Super Charger Network. As July 2023, Tesla had 1,847 Tesla Supercharger stations with 20,040 Tesla Supercharger ports in the U.S. I mainly charge the Model Y in my house, but I would feel much less range anxiety knowing that I could charge it along major interstate highway without problem. Also Tesla’s trip planner can route me to the nearest super charging station if I need to find one.
  3. Tesla’s software and technology. Tesla’s software is famous for stable and user friendly. Even I will not purchase the Full Self Driving (FSD, a $12,000 option) at this time. But knowing I can add this option later gives me a sense that I am future proof.
  4. Current availability. I could not wait for months for my car to arrive. I want my car in a month.

The final decision was a $44,320 Tesla Model Y.

By homer