Despite being one of the youngest car companies, Tesla is credited with bringing electric cars into the mainstream.
This is thanks to its high-tech yet relatively affordable models and vast Supercharger network.
Since the launch of the Model S in 2012, the company has ramped up production to the point that its cars regularly appear in the UK’s top 10 best-selling cars each month.
Today, the company has a simplified range of models designed to cater to most drivers, including a pair of saloons and a pair of SUVs.
The best-selling electric cars
Deciding which Tesla model is best for you should be relatively easy: there are two saloon-style cars, each with a high-riding SUV-like counterpart.
Choice is certainly not limited, though, with plenty of power and battery setups to choose from.
All models are quick, but it’s worth noting that Tesla only quotes acceleration times for 0-60mph, which makes comparing them with other manufacturers that use 0-62mph a bit trickier.
All Teslas are well equipped with the latest technology and gadgets, making them an appealing option for existing EV drivers and first-time EV buyers.
This is the electric car manufacturer’s cheapest model, and it’s similar in size to the BMW 3 Series and the more expensive Mercedes C-Class.
It’s a four-door saloon with a large boot, another storage area under the bonnet, and a spacious interior.
As with all Teslas, there are no trim levels, but instead a choice of power options, beginning with a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive variant capable of up to 305 miles from a full charge.
Dual-motor variants add a larger battery and an extra motor between the front wheels, making them four-wheel-drive.
There’s a Long Range version capable of up to 374 miles and a Performance version that can do 0-60 mph in a ludicrously quick 3.1 seconds.
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Read our Tesla Model 3 review
The Model Y is based on the Model 3, so they share many of the same parts, but the Model Y is noticeably taller and slightly wider.
Unlike the Model 3, the Model Y has a hatchback boot, which means that the rear windscreen also lifts, making it a much more practical space for loading large, bulky items.
Inside, both cars are virtually identical, but the Model Y has more legroom and headroom thanks to its larger dimensions.
Like the Model 3, it’s available with a choice of single-motor or dual-motor power options, though range and acceleration are slightly less impressive because it’s heavier and less aerodynamic than the former.
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This is the longest-serving model in Tesla’s lineup and is similar in size to a Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5 Series.
While it looks like a larger version of the Model 3, it has a more practical hatchback boot that’s significantly larger than other similarly-sized petrol/diesel-fuelled cars.
Tesla gave the Model S a couple of design upgrades in 2016 and later again in 2021, before pulling it from sale later that year ahead of the launch of the left-hand-drive-only second-generation model.
A variety of power options have been available, with even the most basic capable of more than 250 miles of range when it first went on sale in 2012.
Read our Tesla Model S review
The Model X is an SUV that shares many of its parts with the Model S, but it’s available in five-, seven- and even peculiar six-seat formats.
This is Tesla’s most expensive model, with top-of-the-range examples costing well over £100,000 when new, which makes used examples incredibly good value.
With a length just shy of a Range Rover’s, it’s also the company’s largest and heaviest car, so while it does offer the benefits of low-cost electric motoring, it’s not as efficient as Tesla’s smaller cars.
The Model S is a car with huge appeal and would be at home on almost any driveway. It’s spacious enough for the whole family and all their luggage, and it has good electric range from a selection of large batteries.
Because this is Tesla’s oldest model, you’ll also be able to find good deals on these that, in many cases, will be cheaper than the much smaller Model 3.
For extra peace of mind, look for one that’s still covered by the eight-year/150,000-mile battery warranty.
The Model X is the only car in Tesla’s range to feature what the company calls its ‘falcon wing’ doors. Rather than opening outwards, the rear doors open upwards.
Each door has two sets of hinges and several sensors to fold and contort in such a way that they can open in very tight spaces without bumping into obstacles.
The Model X is also a very large car. It’s up to 10cm taller than an Audi Q8 e-tron and is even wider than a Range Rover.
All Teslas get access to the same free, over-the-air updates so new features will roll out regardless of the model, meaning that even buyers of the brand’s cheapest or oldest cars won’t miss out.
The Model 3 is also one of the most efficient electric cars you can buy, far exceeding the economy figures of most of its rivals thanks to a combination of the battery and motor tech and aerodynamics.
When the 73 plates came out, the Model Y was the UK’s third most popular new car of the year to date, selling in almost equal measure to the Vauxhall Corsa.
The Model Y blends the affordability of the Model 3 with the practicality of having a hatchback-style boot and more interior space.
It’s worth noting that its range is slightly less than that of the Model 3, but even in its most basic form, it can manage up to 283 miles, which is enough for most.
Tesla’s fastest car is the Model S. Before 2019, models badged P100D were the quickest and could do 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds.
This was replaced with the Performance version, which changed that acceleration time to 2.4 seconds. The larger Model X P100D does the sprint in 2.9 seconds.
In left-hand-drive markets, the second-generation Model S is available in Plaid form. With 1,020hp, it can do 0-60mph in 1.99 seconds.
Even the Model 3 and Model Y have Performance versions, capable of 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds and 3.5 seconds respectively.
If you’ve got your eye on a new or nearly-new Tesla, then the Model 3 is the most budget-friendly car in the range, despite being pretty punchy and having a good range.
There’s no shortage of used Model S vehicles either, which offer more car, performance, and range for your money – if you’re willing to get something a bit older.
The biggest Tesla is the Model X, which has more space than a Volkswagen ID.3 in the boot – even with all seven seats upright.
With only the front two seats in place, this adds up to more than 2,300 litres, which is more than the Volkswagen ID.Buzz.
The Model X also has a 183-litre storage space under the bonnet, which is only marginally smaller than the entire boot of a Citroen C1.
Many buyers may not need such a large vehicle, in which case the smaller Model Y might make more sense.
Its 854-litre boot is much more spacious than rivals like the Jaguar I-Pace and BMW iX3, and the 117-litre under-bonnet storage space is good for storing items like charging cables.
How much is a Tesla?
Tesla Model 3 vs. Tesla Model Y