Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive vs All-Wheel Drive

Choosing the right Tesla Model 3 variant can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to deciding between rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). Notably, these two available configurations have different performance capabilities and range characteristics.

This article aims to make your decision easier by providing an in-depth comparison of the RWD and AWD Tesla Model 3 variants. Keep reading—you’re about to find out which setup is best for you!

Key Takeaways

  • The Tesla Model 3 comes in three main trims: Standard, Long Range and Performance.
  • The Standard model uses Rear – Wheel Drive and can go for 272 miles before needing a charge.
  • All – Wheel Drive is featured in the Long Range and Performance models offering more power and control.
  • Driving range of the Long Range model is about 358 miles on one charge. This car has better grip and balance than others.
  • Rear-wheel drive uses less power than all-wheel drive so you need to charge it less often.

Overview of Tesla Model 3 Variants

A Tesla Model 3 speeds down an open road with diverse landscapes in the background.

The Tesla Model 3 comes in three primary variants – the Standard, Long Range, and Performance models. Each of these versions embodies distinct features tailored to meet varying driving needs and preferences.

The Standard variant provides an affordable entry point into the Tesla lineup. In contrast, the Long Range and Performance models offer enhanced capabilities such as greater driving range or sportier performance respectively and come with a dual-motor all-wheel-drive system for superior traction and control on different road conditions.


The Standard Tesla Model 3 is a base rear-wheel drive. This trim level stands higher off the road than the others do. It can run for 272 miles before needing a charge.

Long Range

The Long Range Tesla Model 3 is a top pick. It uses all-wheel drive for great grip on the road. This model gives you high mileage capability and efficient energy usage. You get an impressive driving range of about 358 miles! The motor setup in this car is perfect.

This car makes use of even power distribution to make your drives smooth. The weight split in this car is near-perfect, close to a 50-50%. That means it won’t lean too much when you take turns at speed.

This Long Range version sure knows how to keep its charge for a long time!


The Tesla Model 3 Performance brings top-notch speed. It uses Dual Motor technology for a fast and fun drive. The car’s controls react right away when you use them. This trim is also very good at turning, making it great for fun drives on twisty roads.

Its steering is sharp, letting drivers feel in full command of the vehicle at all times. Plus, its impressive acceleration can really take your breath away!

Performance Comparison


In this section, we’ll dive deep into the performance differences between the rear-wheel and all-wheel drive Tesla Model 3, examining factors like acceleration speed, top velocity, as well as handling and general driving capabilities.

Acceleration and top speed

Tesla Model 3 cars can move fast. The Performance model is the quickest. It gets to a speed of 100 km/hr from nothing in just 3.3 seconds! It also has a high top velocity of 261 km/hr.

But even the base Model 3 is quick, too. It speeds up to 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds. For those looking for more balance, there’s the Rear-Wheel Drive option or RWD. It hits a speed of 60 mph from a halt in around about six seconds flat.

Handling and driving capabilities

The Tesla Model 3 RWD car drives like a go-kart. This sporty feel makes it fun to drive. Its driving dynamics are noticeable, but different from the AWD model.

On the other hand, the AWD has better handling performance. It gives drivers more control on all types of roads. This improved handling is one big plus of choosing an AWD over an RWD vehicle.

Detailed Comparison: Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive vs All-Wheel Drive

The Tesla Model 3 has two choices. One is rear-wheel drive (RWD). The other is all-wheel drive (AWD). The RWD model uses one electric motor. This motor powers the back wheels. AWD models have two motors.

These power both front and back wheels.

The AWD model gives better control when driving. It works better than most usual AWD systems. The Long Range variant has a great weight balance because of its motors.

Even with one less motor, the RWD model can be quicker than most small to mid-size cars. Some times it’s faster than AWD models!

Long Range versions also stand out for battery size; they allow longer rides compared to the RWD versions.

Range Comparison

Here, we delve into a detailed comparison of the battery sizes and charging capabilities of Tesla Model 3 RWD vs AWD, as well as their real-life driving range. Keep reading to discover if the increased speed from an All-Wheel Drive could potentially lead to a compromise in driving range or if the Rear-Wheel Drive can hold its own over long distances!

Battery size and charging capabilities

The Tesla Model 3 comes with two battery sizes. The base model has a smaller battery size than the Long Range and Performance models. These bigger battery versions store more power, so drivers can go further on one charge.

For all models, fast charging is built-in. This feature lets drivers add miles to their car’s range in minutes, not hours. It cuts down charging time and helps to ease ‘range anxiety’.

That means less worry about running out of juice on long trips!

Real-life driving range

The Tesla Model 3 Long Range has a real-life driving range that catches the eye. It can travel 358 miles with one full charge, as counted by EPA. This is more than any other model in its class.

The standard Model 3 also does well with a range of 272 miles on one charge. Drivers can see the remaining battery energy or miles left on their screen. So, they know when it’s time to plug in and recharge the battery.

Pros and Cons of RWD and AWD

Explore the benefits and drawbacks of both Rear-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive variants, including factors like efficiency, performance, cost, and handling in diverse driving conditions.

Dive deeper to make an informed choice between Tesla’s RWD and AWD options.

RWD: Pros of increased efficiency and lower cost

Rear-wheel drive, or RWD, has some big pros. One of these is better gas use. A Tesla Model 3 with RWD uses less power than one with all-wheel drive (AWD). This means you can drive longer before needing to stop for a charge.

It’s also cheaper to run an RWD car. The lesser fuel usage helps cut costs in the long run, making it light on your pocket and adding up over time.

AWD: Pros of improved performance and traction

All-Wheel Drive, or AWD, gives a car more power. The drive goes to all four wheels at once. This makes the car run better and faster. AWD also offers more pull. You get this when you start driving from a stop point or go uphill.

When you drive an AWD car, it feels firm on the road. Even in rain or snow, your car won’t slide around with AWD. It stays steady on wet roads and even off-road trails too! So if there is bad weather or uneven paths to take on, this Tesla Model 3 option can handle it just fine.

Conclusion: Which Trim is Right for You?

Uncover the right answer for you in the RWD vs AWD debate by weighing budgetary constraints, driving needs, and stir behind both Tesla Model 3 options with a discerning test drive.

Choose not merely a car but an experience that aligns best with your lifestyle and priorities. Read on to delve deeper into making this important decision.

Consider your budget and driving needs

Your money and what you need from a car matter most. The base rear-wheel drive trim costs less than the others. It is good for those who want to spend less but still own a Tesla. If you can pay more, think about all-wheel drive options.

These cars have better grip on the road and can go faster. They are very helpful for people who often drive in bad weather or rough roads. You should choose based on what suits your needs and wallet best.

Test drive both RWD and AWD options

You need to try the Tesla Model 3 in both Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) and All-Wheel Drive (AWD) modes. Here’s how:

  1. Go to a Tesla shop.
  2. Ask to test drive the RWD model first.
  3. Pay attention to how it moves on the road.
  4. Notice if it feels smooth or rough when you turn corners.
  5. Now try the AWD mode.
  6. Feel the car as it speeds up.
  7. See if it seems more firm on tight turns than the RWD mode.

Make an informed decision based on your priorities

Think about what you need most in a car. Is it speed? Or are you looking for a long drive range? Maybe cost matters to you. There is no one-size-fits-all Tesla Model 3 trim level. Each offers different features.

The base rear-wheel-drive model has quick acceleration and a long range at a lower price. On the other hand, the Performance Model 3 is built for even higher speeds and longer drives but comes with an increased cost.

Put your needs first and pick the right fit for you after trying out both RWD and AWD options.

Jonathan Rice

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