Toyota bZ3 vs Tesla Model 3: An In-Depth Comparison of Specs, Features and Driving Experience

Electric vehicles have experienced surging interest from environmentally-conscious drivers. As EV options grow, two models capturing attention are the Toyota bZ3 and Tesla Model 3. But beyond pricing, these EVs take radically different approaches to range, performance and features.

This comprehensive 2,000+ word guide will analyze every aspect of the bZ3 and Model 3 to help you decide which EV is the best fit. We‘ll compare prices, battery specs, interior space, tech capabilities, driving dynamics and more. Let‘s take a detailed look at precisely how the Toyota bZ3 and Tesla Model 3 measure up.

Toyota Sets Sights on Affordable EVs

With gas prices soaring, Toyota sees major growth potential in affordable electric vehicles. The legendary automaker aims to electrify its entire vehicle lineup by 2025. The all-electric bZ3 sedan slated for 2023 will be Toyota’s most budget-friendly EV yet.

Toyota plans for the bZ3 to compete with the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt EUV by blending reliability with lower cost of ownership. Toyota has committed $5.6 billion to develop over 30 new battery electric vehicles in the coming years. The bZ3 kicks off a series of bZ series cars using new e-TNGA platform technology optimized for EVs.

While Toyota came slightly late to focusing fully on electric compared to Tesla, it brings over 80 years of auto manufacturing expertise. Toyota also tops reputation surveys for long-term dependability and service support. The bZ3 will leverage key learnings from early efforts like the Prius hybrid.

Tesla Seeks Mainstream Appeal

Tesla dazzled early adopters, but co-founder and CEO Elon Musk always envisioned mass-market cars. The company took a major leap towards that goal with the Model 3 sedan. Since initial deliveries in 2017, Tesla has recorded over 3 million sales making it the world’s best-selling plug-in electric car.

Rather than mimicking the designs of internal combustion cars, Tesla engineered the Model 3 around electric vehicle technology. That focus allows the Tesla to maximize interior room, handling and range. Over-the-air software updates continuously enhance capabilities over time – essentially getting better while you own it.

Tesla complements its vehicles with an entire ecosystem of proprietary Superchargers, home solar products, energy storage and more. While the Model 3 carries a higher upfront cost, loyal fans love driving the future while doing their part for the planet. Now Toyota is taking direct aim at the benchmark Model 3 with its $25K bZ3.

Pricing Showdown: bZ3 vs Model 3

Affordability ranks among the highest priorities for EV buyers. The Toyota bZ3 announces itself as a budget-friendly model with a starting MSRP of $25,990. Opting for the upgraded interior package on the bZ3 bumps the price to $35,985.

Toyota bZ3 Pricing

LE (base)$25,990
XLE (upgraded interior pkg)$35,985

In contrast, the Tesla Model 3 carries a more premium price tag starting at $46,440 for the base configuration:

Tesla Model 3 Pricing

Standard Range Plus (base)$46,440272 miles283 hp
Long Range AWD$57,440358 miles346 hp
Performance$63,440315 miles450 hp

Tack on another $1,500 for the coveted white interior and other options like tow hitch or self-driving feature. Clearly the bZ3 holds a strong advantage when it comes to MSRP alone. But total ownership costs involve more factors.

Dimensional and Interior Comparison

Vehicle dimensions impact everything from handling and battery capacity to cabin space. The bZ3 and Model 3 share a similar compact sedan footprint:

Exterior Dimensions

SpecToyota bZ3Tesla Model 3
Wheelbase113 in113 in
Length186 in185 in
Width72 in73 in
Height63 in56.8 in

Interior Dimensions

SpecToyota bZ3Tesla Model 3
Headroom (front/rear)TBA / TBA in40.3 / 37.7 in
Legroom (front/rear)TBA / TBA in42.7 / 35.2 in
Cargo CapacityTBA cubic ft15 cubic ft

We await full details from Toyota on interior dimensions and storage. Early glimpses suggest the bZ3 falls slightly short of the Model 3‘s cabin space. Clever battery positioning helps maximize legroom and headroom. Both vehicles provide adequate room for four adults to ride comfortably.

Range and Charging Capability Comparison

For electric vehicles, battery capacity directly impacts driving distance per charge. The entry-level bZ3 delivers respectable range for an affordable EV. However, Tesla battery technology and infrastructure provides another level of capability:

MetricToyota bZ3Tesla Model 3
Range (miles)250272 to 358
Battery Capacity71.0 kWh50 to 82 kWh
Charge Time (240V)50-60 mins30-40 mins
Fast Charge80% in 30 mins80% in 15-23 mins

Tesla Supercharger access tips the scales further in its favor. Over 40,000 Superchargers worldwide provide reliable rapid charging for road trips. Toyota will rely on networks like Electrify America for bZ3 owners – with stations far less ubiquitous currently.

Performance, Handling and Capability

While affordability matters, EVs also promise a modern driving experience. The bZ3 focuses more on efficiency while Tesla prioritizes acceleration and handling.

Toyota bZ3 Performance

  • FWD layout
  • Estimated 0-60 mph in over 9 seconds
  • Top speed of 100 mph
  • Normal and Eco drive modes

Tesla Model 3 Performance

  • RWD or Dual Motor AWD
  • 0-60 mph in as little as 3.1 seconds
  • Top speed up to 162 mph
  • Sport and performance drive settings

Tesla also offers advanced features like Track Mode to fully customize steering, suspension and powertrain response when desired. Toyota tuned the bZ3 for comfortable and quiet cruising rather than race track excitement.

Autonomous Driving and Safety Technologies

Part of the next-gen EV experience involves advanced driver assistance and active safety. Tesla incorporates its latest Autopilot software suite while Toyota equips the bZ3 with modern self-driving tech.

Toyota Safety System 3.0

  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
  • Dynamic radar cruise control
  • Lane departure alert with steering assist
  • Automatic high beams
  • Road sign assist

Tesla Autopilot Included Features

Traffic-Aware Cruise ControlAdjusts speed automatically to traffic
AutosteerProvides assisted steering on highways
Navigate on AutopilotAutomatic driving from highway to highway including interchanges and exits
SummonMoves your parked car in and out of tight spaces using the mobile app
Smart SummonYour car will find you in a parking lot
AutoparkParallel and perpendicular parking assist

Both vehicles cover the basics, but Tesla offers more advanced semi-autonomous functionality like smart summon and navigate on autopilot. However, Toyota grades well for standard collision protection.

Infotainment, Connectivity and User Experience

Modern vehicles aim to mimic smartphones with interactive touchscreens and app integration. The bZ3 focuses on core essentials while Tesla strives for a fully immersive interface.

Toyota bZ3 Tech

  • 7-inch touchscreen display
  • Six-speaker audio
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Voice commands
  • 4 USB ports
  • Digital rearview mirror

Tesla Model 3 Tech

  • 15-inch cinematic touchscreen display
  • Premium audio with 14 speakers
  • Satellite-view maps with live traffic visualization
  • Netflix, YouTube, games and more
  • Over-the-air software updates
  • Mobile app remote access

The enormous Tesla touchscreen functions as the command center for driving, navigation, entertainment and climate. You can browse menus, launch streaming media, customize vehicle settings and more. Toyota limits onboard visuals to focus the driver on the road.

Main Pros and Cons of the bZ3 and Model 3

Toyota bZ3Tesla Model 3
ProsLower MSRP
Toyota reputation for reliability
Adequate range
Good standard safety tech
Class-leading range
Supercharging network
Autopilot driver assistance
Cutting edge user experience
ConsUnknown reliability as a new model
Less charging infrastructure access
No track record on battery durability
Much higher purchase price
Potential quality concerns
Limited service centers

The bZ3 wins on upfront affordability while the Model 3 justifies its higher cost with superior range, performance and charging infrastructure. Both vehicles aim to bring EVs closer to the mainstream but use very different strategies.

The Verdict: Which Electric Vehicle Is the Overall Winner?

The final choice between the Toyota bZ3 and Tesla Model 3 aligns with buyer priorities. Cost-conscious drivers who want a competent EV at a more accessible price point will appreciate the bZ3. Toyota reputation inspires confidence in predicted low maintenance costs as well.

For those energized by owning the most futuristic vehicle with the latest innovations, the Model 3 warrants the higher spend. Tesla continues maximizing battery densities for longer range paired with rapid charging. AutoPilot with full-self driving option also gives a glimpse towards autonomous transportation. Plus free over-the-air updates surprise and delight owners.

Ultimately you can‘t go wrong with either EV. The Toyota bZ3 makes electric vehicles attainable for more people. Early adopters and tech enthusiasts will gravitate to the Model 3 similar to how they shop for smartphones. Both vehicles advance electric mobility and environmental friendliness in their own way.

Now that you know how the Toyota bZ3 and Tesla Model 3 compare, which makes the most sense for your needs and budget? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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