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The top 5 cars traded for Tesla Model 3 in 2018 are surprisingly affordable

Doubly surprising, since the cheapest Model 3 still isn't here.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Model 3 is not a cheap car right now, and the introduction of the Performance trim has sent its price ceiling closer to the ionosphere. But the top five cars that have been traded in for Model 3s this year are much, much closer to ground level.

During the conference call following its Q2 2018 financial report, Elon Musk and his team revealed the top five cars that have been traded in for a Model 3 this year. In alphabetical order, they are the BMW 3 Series, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius.

Aside from the BMW 3 Series, these cars have some very low starting prices. The Civic starts below $20,000, and both the Prius and Accord can be had for less than $25,000. Considering the starting price of the cheapest Model 3 on offer right now is $49,000, that's a major leap in MSRP. Then again, it shouldn't come as a surprise that many car buyers don't max out their budgets on the regular.

Every car on the list has one thing in common -- practicality. They're all straightforward, sensible cars, offering some balance of build quality, reliability and efficiency. It doesn't necessarily surprise me that a number of Model 3 buyers are pragmatic folk.

While this is plenty interesting, I can't wait to see what this list comprises when Tesla actually gets around to building its "standard battery" car -- you know, the allegedly affordable one with the sub-300-mile range. Right now, Tesla's design studio for the Model 3 still has that version listed as being available in 6 to 9 months. Tesla hasn't always been great at meeting its own estimates in the past, but hopefully it'll stick this time around.