Is a Tesla a Good First Car? The Answer May Surprise You!

Congratulations on deciding to buy your first car! If you’re looking into electric vehicles, you’ve probably considered a Tesla. and now you are wondering, Is a Tesla a good first car?

Whether a Tesla would be a good first car depends on what you’re looking for.

For new drivers, the prevailing advice seems to suggest that a Tesla isn’t the best option. However, if you have some driving experience, it might be perfect for you.

I’ll go over the upsides and downsides of a Tesla as a first car. It’s important to remember what kind of driver you are before choosing your first car as well.

What Kind of First-Time Driver are You?

When you think of a first-time driver, you might think of a young teen who’s just gotten their driver’s license.

However, this might not be the case for every driver anymore. More and more people are learning to drive later in life.

If you’re still adjusting to the rules of the road, what you want in a first car might be different compared to someone who has more driving experience.

Keep this in mind when considering what you want in a first car, and whether a Tesla would be a good option for you.

Upsides of a Tesla as a First Car

For some, a Tesla might be the perfect first car. Many sites recommend them especially for an experienced adult driver buying their own first car. Of course, this assumes you can afford the hefty price tag.

Here are some upsides to a Tesla as a first car.

Even if it’s Used, it Might Still Be Under Warranty

Used cars in general are great choices for a first car. Since it’s used, this also means your ideal Tesla might be less expensive than a new one. If you’re buying a used Tesla, you should definitely check its warranty.

Whether a factory warranty still applies will depend on either the length of time since the first owner bought it, or the miles it’s racked up.

If it’s still under factory warranty, you could still get coverage for repairs you need or mechanical breakdowns.

Teslas are Zero Emission

Say goodbye to the yearly emissions test for your vehicle. Since a Tesla is completely electric, it doesn’t produce the smog that a gas-powered car would.

Regular Energy Costs are Low

If you have a Tesla, you won’t have to spend any money on gasoline. With certain models, Tesla even offers unlimited charging at many of their stations. A Tesla owner will pay an average of $13.96 per charge.

Per mile, charging a Tesla is 3.6 times less expensive than fuel for a gas-powered car. While the high initial price of the car puts off most drivers, the fact is it’ll cost you less over its lifetime than a traditional vehicle.

Here’s a video on how to charge a Tesla at a charging station. You should also make sure there’s a charging station near you if you’re choosing a Tesla.

Teslas Have High Safety Ratings

All four Tesla models have high safety scores with official organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Tesla also boasts helpful, high-tech features, including automatic emergency braking and autopilot.

Downsides of a Tesla as a First Car

If you’re a very new driver, a Tesla might not be the best choice. People who’ve just passed their driving test are still adjusting to multiple aspects of the road.

For example, new drivers often struggle with the amount of space between their vehicle and other objects, from other cars to walls.

Here are some downsides to a Tesla as a first car.

Teslas are Expensive

I’m not just talking about the up-front cost here. Maintenance of a Tesla can be fairly expensive. It can cost you between $300 and $500 every year.

If you’re planning on getting a Tesla as a first car, make sure to put money into insurance and an extended warranty.

Maintenance can cost even more for someone who is still adjusting to driving a car in the first place. We’ve all had little bumps and accidents when learning to drive.

The question is, do you want to pay for those kinds of repairs on a Tesla, or on something a little less complicated and cheaper?

The Acceleration Might Be Too Much

Even with the electrical power, a Tesla is first and foremost a sports car. This means the acceleration is faster than most other cars.

If you’re a new driver, this might throw you off even more. While you’re adjusting to the road, it might be best to use a car that doesn’t go from zero to sixty miles per hour in something like four to six seconds.

We Don’t Know How Long the Tesla Will Last You

This has nothing to do with the construction of Tesla cars. The fact is, Tesla is a fairly new car brand. Hopefully, one will last you a good few years before you need a new car.

However, since Teslas are both new and rare, we just don’t know for sure how long they will last.

You might want to consider brands and models that are reliable and last a good, long while.

Honda Civics and Accords, for example, are well-regarded as first cars. Even a used one might last your teen driver decades before they need to buy a new one.

In addition, most established brands tend to sell their cars at cheaper prices, and you’ll probably be able to find more used options.


Like any car, there are upsides and downsides to a Tesla when considering it as a first car.

If you have some driving experience, and you have the money to invest in a Tesla, it might be a great choice.

For most new drivers, however, the prevailing wisdom seems to suggest buying something less expensive and complicated.

A model and brand that’s stood the test of time might be a good choice for a very new driver.