How to buy a new Tesla Model S,X,3 or Y and their options

Last updated 04-Mar-2024

This guide talks you through the choices when buying a new Tesla. Like this whole site, it tries to give an unbiased view rather than just repeat what Tesla’s own website publishes. We also have a guide to buying a used Tesla which may be preferable if that is what you are planning to do.

It's important to know that Tesla rarely build to order. They build batches of cars and match customer orders to what they have built. As a result, you can be waiting for a particular specification car for some time while other buyers can order and take delivery fairly quickly of a similr car, only differing by colour or wheel choice. We would advocate always looking at inventory first to see if the car you want is already available, especially if you can be flexible on spec. Using our inventory listings will also reveal more information about the car than Tesla would ordinarily show you. The reason we suggest this is because Tesla will match you to the inventory carf anyway, and occassionally the new inventory have offers on, or the spec isn;t what you want. At the end of 2022 for instance there was a mix of cars with and without parking sensors in inventory, by using the inventory you could be sure you were ordering a car with parking sensors.

Of course, we'd also recommend you book a Tesla Test Drive before purchase to ensure you like the car. Just change the location in the top right hand corner for your country if it is incorrect.

Tesla Model Range

Which model?

Tesla currently have 4 models available to order, the Model S, a large executive hatch, the Model X, a large SUV, the Model 3, the entry level compact saloon and the Model Y, the compact SUV. The availability of each varies between countries with Model S and Model X initially only being delivered in the US, Canada and Mexico however is now available in Europe albeit still limited to left hand drive versions. Which is right for you will of course depend on your requirements and budget, and we provide detailed buyers guides for each model, but we set out the main factors below.

Selecting options for your car

Because Tesla rarely build to order they have reduced the number of models and options considerably. The choices today largely boil down to interior and exterior colour and choice of wheels, other options are typically software enabled.


The exterior looks have remained pretty much unchanged since 2016 when the MS was face-lifted and the MX launched. The Model 3 adopts many of the brand design features and its fairly clear they all come from the same family.

Colour and wheels are the only options now and it's certainly an area where the look of a car can change considerably depending on the chosen options. Dark large wheels can make it look menacing, smaller silver wheels can almost make the cars look like a toy. The previous options of sunroof on the Model S have gone, so there's now little in the way of options to select when buying new after you've picked the colour. We'd advise against the coloured wheel options as you can buy the standard wheels and get them repainted for much less money.

The paint colours have not changed much over the years, although Tesla appear to be bringng out a couple of new colours for MY cars built in Berlin. These do comne at a hefty price supplement.


The interior has changed on all models since their repscitve launches. The build quality has also improved although the material choice is now all vegan.

The choice for the cabin really boils down to seat colour as the rest of the trim is dictated by this. While the white seats may not look practical, they do lift the cabin colour and are relatively easy to clean.


The only real technology choice is whether to buy Full Self Driving or FSD, or in some countries the half-way house, EAP. This is one of the most debated topics amongst owners as the capabilities of FSD are still fairly limited compared to the promises.

There are some feature benefits to buying EAP/FSD which vary from country to country. These include Navigate on Autopilot, automated lane changing and parking assist. There are features being added such as traffic lights, and city driving, all of which will add capability to the car with FSD. What we are very doubtful over is whether these will ever reach a level of maturity so the car will be legally allowed to take responsibility for driving, or whether these will only ever be a driver assistance aids. As such, FSD feels a very expensive option for what it offers the buyer, even if you are on the FSD City streets beta programme in NA.

In the US, Tesla have started offering FSD as a subscription model rather than outright purchase and we feel this is a more appropriate model if you happen to be in that region. In other countries we would strongly advise against buying FSD, and would suggest people think carefully about buying EAP if that is an option.


The battery choice is now largely a question of range. The shortest range is the M3 Rear Wheel Drive (formerly SR+). Given the increases in range of this model coupled with its willingness to charge to 100%, and the car not really missing out on any features, this is a good starting point. It's only real downside is the performance is relatively poor compared to the AWD models, but still acceptable. The Model Y has an equivalent choice.

The Model S and Model X have the same battery, the only real choice is the Plaid model or simply the long range model. We would suggest the Plaid model is probably the way to go with the Model S, and the Long Range with the Model X.


Towing package has been standard on the Model X for some time. The Model Y has a dealer fit option and so does not need to be specified at order time.

The Model S previously did not allow towing and this has changed with the 2021+ model. Check locally about ordering as it is not approved in every country. The Model 3 previously only haad towing as a factory option although Tesla removed this from the website. We understand that the Model 3 has a similar arrangement to the Model Y where it can be dealer fit after delivery, but we recommend checking with Tesla first. The lack of publicity on this makes us think Tesla are reluctant to promote towing on the Model 3 now, even if its technically possible.

Buying well and depreciation

It used to be said that Teslas do not discount. Sadly thats not been true since mid 2022 and depreciation is now a real cost to ownership. Availability however is also much improved which has resulted in Tesla discounting cars to help sell them. Websites such as ev-cpo and waitingfortesla have at times shown inventory listings but we find they either don't work, or are very slow at updating inventory, some even charge for services they can not deliver. We believe our inventory listings are the most up to date and have the furtherst global reach of any in the world.

When buying, there are ways to get better deals if you are flexible. Our Guide to saving money when buying a Tesla talks about the best time of year to buy and how to find the best prices.

If you want more information on depreciation, or how much to pay for a used model, you can find Tesla Depreciation Charts for most models and countries here. Of course, past depreciation is no guarantee of what the future holds.

Which to buy?

Our brief thoughts on the cars to buy and why:

Tesla buying process

When you buy a Tesla you will do so online. At the time of ordering, each model, wheel, colour combination has an expected date. Tesla however seem to use these expected dates as a means to manipulate demand, paradoxically they may extend the date to drive short term demand by giving the impression that there is a long lead time, and then offer earlier delivery to anyone who has placed an order. If you find yourself in this situation, Tesla will allow you to put a not before date on your order, so long as that is not beyond the expected date.

When you're waiting, the first sign that you have a car is to see whether you have a VIN assigned. This is not initially obvious on your MyTesla account, but once you've logged in to MyTesla, visit where you'll see some easy to read computer data which will include your VIN if one has been allocated, together with the spec sheet for your car which can be decoded in our Tesla option decoder. If you see "Missing token", it means you've not logged into MyTesla first.

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