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Tesla Model 3 Lease Costs Just $399 a Month After Price Drop

Tesla's base-trimmed Model 3 can be had for just $399 per month - but there's a catch.
via Tesla

If you’ve been debating whether or not to get behind the wheel of a new Tesla, now might be the time. After a serious price drop earlier this month, the automaker has effectively cornered its competition with screaming deals on the market standard for EVs. CEO Elon Musk says that Tesla has “seen the strongest orders year-to-date than ever in [its] history” in January, which he credits to the price changes across the board.

One vehicle in particular that has become more affordable is the Tesla Model 3. More specifically, the Model 3 in its standard Rear-Wheel Drive configuration. Tesla has priced the car at just $45,630 (including delivery and other fees) for new car buyers, but what is perhaps even more attractive is its lease offer.

Tesla’s new lease deal on the Rear-Wheel Drive Model 3 allows potential customers to lease the vehicle for just $399 per month for 36 months. Now, there are some gotchas, like the 10,000-mile annual limit, the $4,500 down payment, and a $1,390 destination fee that is also due at signing, but the monthly price is still attractive for many who couldn’t afford or justify the full purchase price of the car. However, if you divide out the down payment and destination fee, you’re effectively paying around $560 per month for the vehicle, which equates to around $20,000 by the end of the lease term. Things get even more expensive when opting for a 15,000-mileage limit at $447 per month.

Presently, the average interest rate for a 60-month auto loan is around 5.25% with approved credit, meaning that with a similar down payment, buyers can expect to pay around $760 per month for the same vehicle. That being said, there could be additional debates about leasing versus buying, including the fact that Tesla does not allow lease customers to purchase their vehicles at the end of their lease term, according to its website.

For those comfortable with leasing their vehicle and not going over their mileage limit, $399 can seem like a pretty decent price for a new EV. Comparatively, EV shoppers can lease a 2023 Chevy Bolt for $369 per month with $3,599 down and a 10,000-mile annual allowance, or a 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 for $659 per month with $3,699 down and a 10,000-mile annual allowance. If you want to upgrade to a Model Y, expect to pay a bit more. Tesla’s crossover costs $609 per month to lease, which, while more expensive, is still cheaper than 2022’s $800 per month with $5,995 down.

Tesla has offered similar deals in the past. For example, the now-discontinued Standard Range+ trim came in at a similar monthly cost back in 2019. However, the same lease for the Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive required $5,664 down and cost $469 per month last year, according to data sourced from Cars Direct.

A lease could be a good idea for those looking to get into a premium EV for a decent monthly cost. This is especially true for those not looking to get locked into an aging platform due for an inevitable update while competitors creep up alongside the king. But whether or not buyers can stomach the huge due-at-signing costs and mileage limits is certainly on a case-by-case basis.

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