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New Tesla versus used Tesla: Which makes more sense?

People want Teslas, and for some only a new one will do, but how does an older Model S stack up to its brand-new sibling?

Tesla Model S
Autopilot 2.0 cars come with eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a forward-facing radar. No lidar here, folks.

The great debate over new cars versus used cars seems to rage on endlessly, with each side of the argument having obvious merits as well as disadvantages. Previously, we've covered why used electric vehicles are probably a better deal than you might expect, but does that hold up when applied to Tesla?

YouTuber Tyler Hoover of Hoovie's Garage is wondering that too, it seems, so he picked up an extremely early production 2012 Model S 85. He paid just over $33,000 for it which looks like a pretty screaming deal when you compare that to the near-mythical $35,000 Model 3, a vehicle which we likely won't see for another year or two.

So, first of all, we want to know how a 6-year-old Tesla with over 100,000 miles has stood up to the test of time. Let's have Tyler show us:

All things considered, it's not too bad. Frankly, its held up even better than many would have speculated back in 2012. Sure, it lacks things like dual motors or "Ludicrous Mode," but for most people, driving the car daily, that's not that big of a deal. Plus the 85-kW model that Hoovie bought offers a range more than that of the standard Model 3 (265 vs 220), but less than the 310-mile range of the Model 3 Long Range.

What other benefits are there to getting an older Model S over a new Model 3? Space, for one. The Model S is a physically larger vehicle with more room for passengers as well as cargo. Some used models will be Supercharger capable, while some will not, but those that are should be able to use the network for free (for now, anyway). The most significant benefit will be a lack of waiting to get your car.

What are the downsides of a used Model S? Well, it's a used car, for one. Tyler's example is out of even its extended factory warranty period, so if anything outside the drivetrain breaks, it's on his dime. In his video, Tyler mentions that his car only has 3G data, and as you might imagine, that makes things a little sluggish. Getting a new car means getting the latest tech, and for some people that's important.

In the end, it's all down to personal preference and your unique needs as a buyer. Most of us would happily make room for a used Model S in our garage, while for others, nothing less than a brand-new, minty fresh Model 3 will do.