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Why We Bought A Tesla

This week we took delivery of a 2021 Tesla Model Y. Previous to the Y we had multiple Subarus, the latest of which was a complete technology train wreck. We had more false alarms and dangerous technical failings in the 2019 Forester than I would care to admit. Thankfully, our lease was ending and we were fortunate enough to be able to have lots of options when it came to deciding on a new family vehicle.

Since the beginning of 2021, we’ve had one car. We don’t commute, we only drive to the grocery store a few times a week and to my in-laws every few months. A 10,000 mile lease is more than sufficient for us, so we decided that we could downsize to one car. With the exception of a few occasions, it’s worked out great. Our insurance and maintenance costs went down after selling my car, since my car had well over 160k miles on it.

As we were becoming less and less comfortable with the Forrester’s safety, we started the search. We’ve both been wanting to switch to an electric vehicle so we started the search with the Model Y. After taxes it was about $100 more per month on lease1 than our Forrester, nice. Delivery was quoted at 8 weeks from order time. We placed our $100 deposit to get our spot in line but then continued to survey the market.

We were willing to buy another ICE vehicle if it was the right deal. We looked at the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot and Passport, Audi Q5 and Q7 (and the eTron but I choked when I saw the price), and the Volvo XC60 and XC90. When TCO was calculated and delivery dates were accurately quoted, the Tesla ended up being the cheapest of the bunch2, checked all of our boxes, albeit a little small inside, and best of all - would be delivered this century. None of the other manufacturers could guarantee delivery dates on anything that wasn’t in inventory.

The order process for the Tesla took less than 10 minutes from configuration, to deposit, to credit approval. The delivery, at our home, took 12 minutes (I timed them). For comparison, the Forrester took us North of five hours to negotiate when we bought it. People say “Congratulations” when they find out we bought a Tesla, which means there’s still an idea of Luxury attached to the brand, when in reality, they’re nearly the same price on lease as an Acura MDX or a well appointed Honda Odyssey.

I don’t agree with some of the things Tesla or Musk do, but I imagine I could say the same for all the other automotive manufacturers out there. Eventually we will need to go back to two cars, especially once Charlie starts being involved in extra-curriculars. By then, I’m really hoping for Volvo/Polestar to be more prevalent in the electric car game - because Volvo really knows how to build a car - and I’ll probably go that route over a Tesla.

Either way, this car is a space ship and it seemingly meets our needs for now.

  1. We know that leasing is not the dollar for dollar best choice, but it’s a financial vehicle that works for us right now given our needs. We’ve done the calculations, pros and cons. 

  2. Residual value being a huge part of calculating TCO in a lease, the Tesla came out far ahead of the pack. 

/wes