Is Tesla Model 3 a Good Family Car?

Is Tesla Model 3 a Good Family Car?

Before the Tesla Model 3 was even released, the promises made it seem like the perfect family car. Being the most affordable Tesla available, does it have everything your family needs?

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Tesla Model 3 as a Family Car?

Pros Cons
It is the safest car on the roadNot the most affordable option
Low energy costs Does not have a spare or run-flat tires
Low long-term maintenance costsPoor cargo space
You can add AutopilotNot ideal for car seats or boosters
Automatic software updatesApp-based Entry and Start
App-Based Entry and Start and AirNo child-lock settings on rear doors
4 USB portsLarge center screen
It Comes With Different OptionsAutopilot could be risky
Comes with Google Maps5 Passenger capacity 
 Low ranges can cause problems 

Although the Tesla Model 3 is the most affordable option in the lineup, there are some pros and cons to it as a family car. Let’s dive into what the pros and cons are further and see if the Tesla Model 3 is right for you and your family!

Is the Tesla Model 3 the Perfect Family Car?

The Tesla Model 3 is their answer to the massive interest in electric cars. This was meant to be the most affordable option in the Tesla line up, but you weren’t sacrificing any of what made Tesla such a popular brand.

Since it came in around a mid-range price for a standard luxury sedan, the Tesla Model 3 competed with smaller BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes. Featuring amazing safety ratings, low maintenance costs assisted driving, just to name a few benefits, it comes across as a great car for smaller families. 

With that being said, there are cons to the Tesla Model 3 as well. An all-electric car can be scary, depending on where you live in the country. Combine that with little cargo space, a small passenger capacity for most families, and the compact seats that are not great for car seats or boosters.

Deciding if the Tesla Model 3 is the car for you depends on quite a few preferences. The size of your family, your daily needs, and even where you live can play huge factors in if this car is going to work for you. Let’s find out more about the pros and cons of the Tesla Model 3. 

First Off, What Makes a Great Family Car?

Finding the right car can solve a lot of problems! Making sure that the car you choose is safe is one of the biggest priorities when you’re looking to pick up a great car for your family. All families are different. 

Before you go to look at any car, you need to have what you’re looking for clearly aligned. If you need cargo space, cabin space, or maybe just a lot of bells and whistles, doing research is going to help you out so much.

What Makes Teslas So Great?

Before we get into the specifics about the Tesla Model 3, what makes Teslas such a sought-after vehicle? The actual design of Tesla made waves when they hit the market. They offer a sleek and modern design that has the look of luxury cars of the same price range. Many consumers are also interested in going greener, and Tesla creates electric vehicles exclusively. 

Most people are fascinated by the idea of not having to hit the gas station whenever they run low, and the battery makes it easy to use, but you’re not losing any of the power you’re used to with fuel-powered cars. 

There is also the idea of charging your car to restore power, and auto-pilot is another benefit that many consumers are interested in. Combine that with automatic updates for the car, and you have a vehicle that needs almost no maintenance. 

Pros of the Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 has been one of the most desired cars since it’s release. It features a lot of the benefits of the rest of the Tesla line, but at a much lower cost to the consumer. 

It Has The Top Safety Rating Among All Vehicles

As of 2018, the Tesla Model 3 received the lowest probability of an injury in a vehicle that has ever been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since it is the safest car ever created, many families have been looking to add it to their garage. 

With five-star safety ratings in every category and sub-category, it has become the new gold standard. This includes front, side, and rollover crashes in the report as well. With that being said, anything can happen, so while you aren’t 100% safe in any car, you are less likely to have any incidents in the Tesla Model 3. 

The Tesla Model 3 was actually designed with safety in mind. The car was created with all of its’ weight in the car’s center of gravity. It also has a very strong passenger cabin, and the battery is protected as well. It is designed to evenly absorb pressure four times its’ own weight and has airbags formed to the human body to reduce any possible risk of injury.

Tesla Model 3 is An Energy-Efficient Vehicle

The best thing about the Tesla Model 3 is that it can travel 141 miles off of the energy in one gallon of gasoline. It is the most energy-efficient electric sedan that there is on the market. Since Tesla takes 20% fewer batteries to go the full range, it can go, it saves you 20% versus other cars who offer the same thing. 

The Tesla Model 3 features a ton of great environmental benefits as well. It prevents the amount of emissions put into the environment. Although your Tesla is still ultimately burning fossil fuels, they do a better job at converting the energy stored into forward progress. 

Maintenance Costs Are Much Lower Than a Traditional Car

If you’re looking for a car that is truly low maintenance, then the Tesla Model 3 is going to be the best option for you. As a matter of fact, Tesla has reduced the recommended services to new owners because people just haven’t had anything to do to their vehicles. Many mechanics haven’t even seen a Tesla come into their bays.

Over the period of four years of ownership, you’re looking at less than $1,000 for overall maintenance for those owners who like to do it themselves. Compared to a Honda Accord, which is one of the more reliable cars on the road, maintenance costs are 75% lower over the course of a five year period.  

You Can Select Autopilot to Make Driving Even Smoother

One of the big draws to the Tesla line of cars is the auto-pilot that the cars have. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has said that the feature results in less physical damage and fewer injury claims as well. Even since these tests, Tesla has improved the response of the system.

The software is designed to help you drive better. While it is not full autonomous, it can help you to steer, break, and accelerate within the lane you’re driving in. It can also monitor the cars around you, road conditions, and anything else that may pop up while y you’re driving. 

If you’re driving with your family, then this is a huge benefit. Children and even pets can be a huge distraction when driving, and they may keep you from being fully aware of everything going on. The Tesla Autopilot can help make sure you’re keeping your family as safe as possible on the road.

Automatic Software Updates Keep Your Worries at Ease

Even if you’re not tech-savvy, owning a Tesla is quite easy. We have already went over how easy the maintenance is on a Tesla Model 3, and updating the software in your car is easier than any other car you could purchase. 

Tesla actually sends software updates for your car over Wi-Fi. They can add new features or enhance features that are already in your car without ever having to go to the dealership. 

You Can Enter and Start Your Car from Your Phone

By now, we all have smartphones, and Tesla has made your phone an important part of your car. The Keyless Driver feature takes away the need for a key fob. You just need to open up the app, put in your password, and you’re ready to go. 

It is also possible to remotely turn on the air conditioning in your car from the app as well. It’s important to note that this only works for about thirty minutes and settings will go back to manual once you are in your car. This is a huge benefit if you live in a warmer climate!

Four USB Ports Make for Easy Charging for Everyone

It seems like everyone always needs to charge their phone. The Tesla Model 3 makes it easy with four individual charging ports. With two ports on the center console itself and two on the back that are meant for the passengers in the back. All members of the family can charge at once without fighting over the USB cord. 

The two ports in the front can be used with the wired charging system or even with a wireless charging pad. The Tesla Model 3 even has their own charging pad that you can purchase from them as well. It also acts as a place to store your USB flash drive and external SSD for your Sentry Mode and TeslaCam recordings.

There are Different Versions Depending on What You’re Looking For

The basic version of the Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000. This option only comes in black, but for additional money, you can get different colors. This can cost you anywhere from $1500 to $2500, depending on the color you choose.

For $2,000 more, there is also the Standard Range Plus Model, which gives you an extra 20 miles, and it reduces the amount of time it takes you to speed up to 60mph. This also comes with heated 12-way power front seats with nicer seats and interior materials. Upgraded audio, smartphones docks, and LED fog lamps round it out. 

Starting at $40,000, the range of the Tesla Model 3 increases to 264mph, and it also makes the 0-60 even quicker. You’re also getting rear heated seats, fourteen speaker audio system, internet streaming music and media, and an internet browser which your kids will love! In terms of navigation, you’ll get a satellite view and even live traffic reporting. 

For $43,000, you’ll get a range of 325 miles. The Dual Motor All-Vehicle Long Range Mode, which starts at $47,000, actually drops back down to 310, but the take-off is half a second quicker, and both of these versions come with premium interior. 

The next step up is the Dual Motor Performance model coming in at $58,000. This has the same mileage range as the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Long Range at 310. It does cut the 0-60 down to almost half of what it originally is. There is also a lowered suspension, enhanced breaks, larger wheels, and a top speed of 155mph.

Lastly, there are a few more options, as well. You can choose 19-inch wheels, the color of your interior, and even features for your car. Autopilot, which is one of the most popular features for Tesla cars is an extra $3,000 if you order it, or an extra $4,000 if you want it after your car has already been delivered. You get all of the benefits of Autopilot, automated parking, and even the ability to summon your car to you. 

There is also a $5,000 version of Autopilot coming that can recognize and respond to traffic signs and stop lights as well!

The Tesla Model 3 Already Comes with Google Maps Installed 

The Tesla Model 3 uses Google Maps to provide the navigation in your car. The turn-by-turn directions may vary, but the navigation is still great. Many Tesla owners feel comfortable relying on their car navigation even in city environments. 

You can use voice search, typed search, and even save places, so you can pick from places you go often. This is great for families because it keeps your attention on the road, and if your children have a lot of after school activities, you can easily save the location, so you always know where you’re going.

Cons of the Tesla Model 3

As great as the Tesla Model 3 may seem, there are some cons which may make it not great as a family car. Although it may be fun to drive, sleek in design, and have some real benefits for you as an owner, let’s talk about the cons of owning the most affordable vehicle in the Tesla line.

For a Base Version, it is Not the Most Affordable Option 

The Tesla Model 3 starts out at $35,000 but can go up to almost $60,000 for the same car. While there are some serious benefits to the Tesla Model 3, there are not a ton of benefits or even space for use as a family car. 

For a very similar price, you can find larger cars with more room for you, your family, and any of the activities that you do. It’s also important to note that many of the features people want are coming an extra cost that you may not be aware of when you go to purchase the vehicle.

There are No Spare Tires, and It Does Not Come with Run-Flat Tires

One of the bigger cons of the Tesla Model 3 is that it doesn’t come with a spare tire, and it also does not have run-flat tires either. While there are a lot of cars that do not have flat tires now, for the price you’re paying, it is just something most people expect. 

One of the reasons that many cars do not have these is because it adds a ton of extra weight, and it also takes up room in a car that already doesn’t have a ton of room. If you’re traveling, this could cause a huge delay in the amount of time you could possibly have to wait if you do run into a flat tire.

The Cargo Space May Not Be Ideal for a Family 

Tesla states that the Tesla Model 3 has about 15 cubic feet of cargo space. That is pretty comparable to a Honda Civic. The car has a front trunk, and a back trunk, with both, combine to equal the 15 cu feet. If you’re looking to haul larger things in your vehicle, this may not be perfect for you.

Comparing it to a typical family crossover like the Honda CR-V, it has a storage capacity of 39cu feet that can change to 76cu feet if the rear seats are folded down. This makes the logistical side of traveling in the Tesla Model 3 difficult in terms of space, and also what you’re actually taking with you.

If you’re having to pack large strollers, little bikes, multiple suitcases, or anything like that, you may run into some problems when it comes to getting everything in the car.

The Back Seats Are Not the Best for Car Seats or Booster Seats

The Tesla Model 3 averages out to about a mid-size sedan. For car seats and booster seats, the rear seats don’t necessarily have perfect ratings. Many have reported that they had difficult securing the seat due to the stiff upholstery, which requires a bit of muscle to secure in place. 

There were also issues with the fixed head restraint, which seemed to push the car seat forward which is not how they were meant to sit. Booster seats also had some issues with how they fit on the actual seats. The buckles may be hard for children to find and use.

The App-Based Entry and Start Could Be a Problem as Well

As much as the idea of not having to have your key is great, the Keyless Driver feature can cause some issues as well. Since your car and phone connect over the internet or cellular service, locations, where you may have little to no service, could make the keyless feature useless. 

If you’re traveling with your family, the idea of relying on a phone to open and operate your car may not be the best option. It is better to carry the key fob with you at all times, just in case. Getting locked out of your car with some tired children doesn’t seem like a great time. 

There Are No Child-Lock Settings on The Rear Doors

There are child lock settings on doors, but on the Tesla Model 3, you cannot choose which door you want the child lock on. If you don’t shut your door all the way or accidentally close it from the inside, then you’ll find yourself having to hopefully reach the touchscreen to release it, or having to wait for someone to turn of the settings, close the door, and then turn them back on.

This is a frustrating setting since most parents choose to have one of them sit in the back; this can be a setting that is honestly just annoying. This is a necessary setting for most younger children since the way you open the door is the button, and kids love buttons.

The Large Screen in the Center Could Be a Distraction 

While you may be thinking that the screen is a huge benefit for the Tesla Model 3, you may be surprised that most owners find it incredibly distracting. Since you basically control everything in your car on this screen, it is going to take your eyes off the road. Even a second of not looking at the road can be a serious problem. 

While the minimalism idea is great, having to use a screen is not ideal for most people. Everything from turning your air down to opening your glove box all rely on the giant screen in the middle of the car. It also can be a huge learning curves for those who are coming from a traditional vehicle dash.

Using Auto-Pilot Could Be a Huge Risk

Contrary to popular belief, your Tesla Model 3 does not actually come with Autopilot. As we mentioned in the options that you can add on, Autopilot is going to cost you anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000. Considering that you’re technically still in charge of everything happening with the car, it may be an extreme cost that you don’t need.

Autopilot is not something that makes the car drive by itself. Although it has been a safe hardware addition so far, you still need to be actively participating in the actual driving process. While there are benefits to it helping you drive, you should never rely on a machine fully to keep you and your family safe.

5 Passenger Capacity Could Limit Families That Can Use It

Although this car was basically advertised as the perfect family car, many have been questioning if it really fits the needs of modern families. The safety is a huge selling point for many families, but the capacity can take some families out of the market.

Many families are quite a bit bigger than they used to be. The Tesla Model 3 only holds five passengers which can limit those with larger families of multiple children or even multiple dogs. If you have ever sat in the middle rear seat on a family road trip, then you know that putting five people in a mid-range sedan is not necessarily fun.

If you’re using car seat or kennels, then this space is going to be cut down even further. This can also have a serious impact on the amount of cargo you are able to carry. Some cars provide enough room to store some luggage in the main cabin, but this Tesla is not one of those.

Low Distance Ranges Could Cause Some Serious Worry 

The Tesla Model 3 has the highest city/highway miles per gallon on the electric market right now at 250. This range can vary depending on where you’re driving, when you’re driving, and even where you live. While this is the highest on the market, you can run the risk of running out of energy while on a long journey.

Not everywhere has charging locations, so you may have to stop before you get to your final destination in order to charge your car. This is a con because it can add additional time to your trip that you may not have.

In addition to worrying about driving on the road, you’re adding an additional worry about the distance and range your car can actually travel. With a traditional vehicle, you don’t have to worry about a lower mile range or running the risk of possibly not finding a charging station wherever you live or are traveling to.  

So, Is the Tesla Model 3 Perfect for Families?

If you have a smaller family and live in a more urban area, I think you can really benefit from the Tesla Model 3. It has amazing safety ratings; you’re less likely to run into issues when it comes to charging. You’ll have plenty of room if you have one to two children, and you’re going to save a ton of money with gas and maintenance. This would also be a great second car for a family.

On the other hand, there is limits to the Tesla Model 3 that make it not ideal for every family. The limited passenger capacity and storage may deter larger families from choosing the Tesla Model 3 as their family car. The high price point and actual range and charging locations are also something that you should consider before purchasing.

Tesla Discounts:


The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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