Yes, it's true, the Tesla Model 3 is now available for lease for just $399 per month, and it seems many publications are eager to report on it. However, there are many cars out there available with monthly lease payments of less than $399, and we really need to look at the trim, the money due at signing, the mileage restrictions, the overall terms, and any fine print to determine if it's a worthy deal.
As you may know, we provide an article every month listing every EV manufacturer-sponsored lease and financing deal available in the US. Our extensive research helps paint a picture of trends in the industry, which have been quite interesting ever since the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in. Leases aren't nearly as appealing as they once were, financing rates are high, and cars are just more expensive than ever.
Tesla recently lowered prices across its whole lineup, so we were excited to learn whether lease prices would come down. Now, you can lease the base Model 3 starting at $399 per month. The deal applies to the single-motor Model 3 RWD that starts at $43,990, excluding any incentives or tax credits.
The full lease as specified on Tesla's official website is $399 per month for 36 months with $4,500 due at signing. It includes the $1,390 destination fee, but not taxes and other fees. The lease is good for 10,000 miles per year and only valid in 42 US states. For comparison, the same lease could be had for $499 per month for 36 months with $4,500 due at signing prior to the recent discount.
All in, including the $4,500 down payment, $399 first month's payment, $695 acquisition fee, and 35 consecutive monthly payments of $399, you're looking at an effective monthly payment of $543.
Keep in mind, this deal only covers a Model 3 with white paint, 18-inch Aero wheels, and a black synthetic leather interior. The Model 3 RWD offers 272 miles of EPA-estimated range and scoots from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Tesla says you can take delivery soon.
Should you hurry up and take advantage of this Model 3 lease deal? Obviously, it depends on your budget and priorities, and whether or not you're even a fan of the Model 3. These details aside, we've included a few deals on rivals' models below for comparison.
While it's not easy to find many direct rivals with the Model 3 due to market segment, the following EVs would be arguably worth cross-shopping against the Tesla sedan for one reason or another:
2023 BMW i4
- Lease for $719 per month for 36 months with $5,269 due at signing
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
- Lease for $269 per month for 36 months with $6,459 due at signing
2023 Hyundai Kona Electric
- Lease for $279 per month for 36 months with $3,999 due at signing
2023 Kia Niro EV
- Lease for $499 per month for 36 months with $3,999 due at signing
2023 Nissan LEAF
- Lease for $419 per month for 36 months with $2,179 due at signing
2022 Polestar 2
- Lease for $529 per month for 36 months with $5,000 due at signing
As you can see, only the non-luxury Bolt EV and Kona Electric have lower monthly payments than the Model 3, though the Chevy has a high down payment. The luxury i4 and Polestar 2 will cost you more than the Model 3, as will the Niro EV. While the Leaf has a lower effective monthly payment, it's not much lower than the Model 3's, and you'll get so much more choosing the Tesla over the Nissan.
To be fair, we should provide at least a simple comparison of how Tesla's latest Model 3 lease deal compares to some of the better gas-powered lease deals available this month. Some of the cheapest leases in the country right now are on the gas-powered Hyundai Venue, Kia Soul, Chevrolet Trax, and Hyundai Kona, with effective monthly payments of around $300, but these are budget vehicles that clearly don't compare to the Model 3.
As soon as you step up to a roomy luxury sedan or comparable small and premium crossover, such as the BMW 3- or 4 Series, Genesis G70, Volvo XC40 (gas), and the like, you're looking at an effective monthly payment of $650 to $750 or more.