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Comparing Tesla Model 3 To Honda Accord — From An Engineer’s Perspective

Comparing Tesla Model 3 To Honda Accord — From An Engineer's Perspective


Revealed on January 12th, 2019 |
by Paul Fosse

January 12th, 2019 by Paul Fosse 

Henry Garfield (age four) at Florida’s Melbourne Supercharger

For right now’s article, I’m going to go over all the key areas of every automotive (Driving Dynamics, Inside, Exterior, Security, Know-how, and Prices), however earlier than I do, I’m going to inform you why I purchased a Honda Accord in 1998 and why it was my favourite automotive (till I purchased the Tesla Model 3 final yr).

It was the autumn of 1998 and I used to be engaged on a brand new software program engineering contract 30 miles from my house that was going to require a whole lot of hours within the workplace. You see, I used to be engaged on a system that simply couldn’t slip. I used to be working to put in a brand new Buyer Relationship Administration (CRM) system that was key in permitting the quick rising networking service division of Wall Road’s darling, Lucent Applied sciences (the corporate that by no means missed Wall Road’s earnings expectations, till it did), to run its enterprise within the yr 2000.

The demand for software program engineers was excessive within the late 1990s, as a result of there had been lots of publicity that techniques would simply cease engaged on December 31, 1999, since many programmers had used a two-digit yr subject and when the yr rolled over from 1999 to the 2000, the system would fail. The story that everybody tells you is that the hype was overblown and the proof of that is there have been no widespread studies of issues in early 2000. As a developer supporting quite a lot of methods and in addition pals with many different help engineers, I can inform the you the “real” story. We had over 100 methods and studies that failed in early 2000 because of date points. Many different corporations had many issues too.

So, why didn’t you hear about this on the information (particularly when a ton of reporters needed nothing greater than a Y2K catastrophe story)? There are 2 main causes for this. The primary cause is we’ve many roles fail daily and fixing bugs is what builders do every single day. I’d say we had about 30% greater than typical due to Y2K, nevertheless it was manageable. The second purpose is as a result of the businesses had spent hundreds of thousands (or perhaps billions) on making certain there can be no Y2K issues, and since there was intense media curiosity within the topic, we have been instructed to not point out to anybody outdoors the corporate that the failures have been brought on by Y2K. (I feel it’s okay to inform you virtually 20 years later. You gained’t inform anybody, will you?).

However I digress. Earlier than shopping for a loaded V6 Honda Accord with each choice out there, I had pushed some very good automobiles, such because the Lexus GS400 and the top-of-the-line Camry. I had a 10 yr previous Camry that my father had given me, however it was beginning to knock and produce other points. I needed a pleasant automotive with a little bit of flash and one thing that might be capable of sustain with different automobiles on the Howard Franklin bridge throughout Tampa Bay. My previous four cylinder Camry actually strained on the 75 mph speeds widespread on this bridge and had hassle passing different automobiles once I wanted to vary lanes. With this Y2K job, I used to be making virtually double the cash I had acquired in my earlier job (about $140,000 a yr) and I felt that I might actually afford the Lexus.

The distinctive trait of the Lexus GS400 (and the Honda Accord V6) was robust acceleration from a really clean engine that had energy at each velocity. What I keep in mind about each automobiles is that they didn’t have an extended lag between if you pressed the accelerator and once you acquired a robust push of energy. A few of the cheaper automobiles I used to be taking a look at had good acceleration, however you solely acquired the acceleration after the automotive downshifted. This meant 3 dangerous issues. The primary was a lag from the request for energy and the supply of energy. The second was a jerky lurch when the facility got here. The third was the horrible din of a tough four cylinder engine straining to provide you every little thing it has.

The Honda additionally met my different wants. I had a rear seat just a little wider than the Camry that yr. This was essential since I had 2 youngsters and a third on the best way. I wanted to have the ability to have room for two automotive seats within the rear and nonetheless sufficient room for my third youngster. At the moment, you didn’t need to put youngsters within the entrance seats, as a result of the air luggage didn’t shut off. I additionally was busy with my job, so I didn’t need a flashy however unreliable automotive like a Jaguar, and Honda had a status for reliability. I might afford the Lexus GS400, however received the identical thrill from driving the V6 Accord at about half the worth. I wasn’t in a job the place it was essential to impress shoppers, so it didn’t make sense to spend the additional cash simply to point out folks that I had “made it.”

I ended up proudly owning that automotive for 14 years and virtually 170,000 miles. It had only a few points, however on the finish it was leaking and burning lots of oil, the transmission was slipping, the verify engine mild was all the time approaching, and also you have been all the time being requested to exchange oxygen sensors or catalytic converters or a muffler. The automotive appeared to wish about $400 in brake work yearly or two. The automotive had wonderful energy and it thus went by means of a variety of tires.

I now understand that EVs won’t ever leak or burn oil, they don’t have a transmission to slide, they don’t have oxygen sensors or catalytic converters and even mufflers. Elon lately tweeted that Tesla’s by no means want new brake pads. The half that shall be comparable is tires. Though I’m joyful that my tires in my Model 3 are sporting properly, I’ll want a brand new set earlier than I hit 30,000 miles.

Anyway, that ought to be sufficient about my Honda Accord. I simply needed to determine that I’m not a Honda hater. Somewhat, I’ve fond reminiscences of my Accord and wouldn’t have stored it that lengthy if I disliked the automotive.

Driving Dynamics

For this assessment, I’m going to make use of my this Automotive and Driver evaluate as the primary supply for Honda info.  I’ve additionally watched this YouTube video, which assured me there are few variations between the 2018 and 2019 fashions. Though the Accord has lately moved from utilizing a V6 in its prime trim mannequin to a turbo 4 cylinder, they nonetheless worth the identical issues I keep in mind being key to my shopping for determination 20 years in the past, clean quiet energy in any respect speeds.

Automotive and Driver additionally examined the Tesla Model 3 Lengthy Vary RWD at about the identical time, so we’ve got check outcomes which might be straightforward to match. Taking a look at acceleration, at first look, you’d say the automobiles are very comparable, because the Accord and the Model 3 each go from zero to 100 mph in 13.6 seconds. However this determine misses the large benefit that electrical automobiles have referred to as immediate torque. Which means if you press on the accelerator, the automotive reacts immediately.

Fortunately, Automotive and Driver has the right check for that (nicely, inferior to a check drive, however I digress once more). It’s referred to as the “Top gear, 30–50 mph.” This checks how briskly the automotive accelerates when you’re cruising in prime gear at 30 mph and need or have to rise up to 50 mph to vary lanes. The distinction is surprising and dramatic.  The Honda takes 3.four seconds, the Tesla barely greater than half the time at 1.9 seconds.

All different check outcomes are comparable, together with braking and street dealing with as measured on a 300 foot diameter skidpad. That is with the 18 normal wheels. If dealing with efficiency is necessary to you, this 3 minute video from Edmunds explains that the $1,500 improve for the 19 inch efficiency wheels is value each penny! It drops an insignificant 2 tenths of a second from the zero to 60 time and an equally insignificant 5 ft from the stopping distance (60 to zero), however enhancing the skidpad score from .85 to .93 is a recreation changer. These wheels and tires — together with the Model 3’s suspension, extraordinarily low middle of gravity due the heavy battery being very low to the bottom, and excellent 50/50 weight distribution — imply that many individuals examine the dealing with of the Tesla Model 3 to the Porsche Boxster or Cayman.

Though the Honda Accord Touring handles very nicely in its class, the Model 3 is in a unique league for those who select to improve to the 19 inch tires and wheels. Many individuals additionally want the look of the 19 inch wheels, however remember that the inventory aero wheels do offer you about four% higher effectivity and vary at excessive speeds. If that’s extra essential to you than dealing with, I like to recommend sticking with the inventory 18 Aero wheels and tires.

I’ve to provide the win to the Tesla Model 3 on this space, since real-world acceleration and dealing with are considerably higher than even the most effective Accord you will get. For those who don’t drive your automotive aggressively, you may by no means discover the distinction in dealing with, however everybody will discover the moment torque of the Model 3 within the first 30 seconds of the check drive. After you have pushed the Model 3 (or different respectable efficiency EV just like the Chevy Bolt), it tends to wreck the enjoyment you beforehand felt driving fuel automobiles. You’re simply spoiled.


That is going to be brief. Each automobiles have an ideal inside and ample room for five. They each have nice trunks, and though Tesla has the entrance trunk that appears cute, I actually don’t use it for something.

The one benefit that the Honda Accord has that I’d take pleasure in (dwelling in Florida) is the ventilated seats. Then again, the Model 3 has distant entry to the local weather management from my telephone, so when it’s scorching (which is numerous the time in Florida), I are likely to pre-cool the automotive as I’m strolling as much as it. It solely takes about 2 minutes to chill the inside, in order that works.

The all-glass roof is gorgeous, particularly from the surface when moist, and it is also nice for rear-seat passengers.

Each have nice controls. The Tesla’s are extremely trendy and take some getting used to whereas the Honda’s are nice and require no considering to make use of.

General, I’ll name this space a draw. I don’t have a robust choice for both inside, since they’re each fabulous.

Photograph from Honda

Photograph from Honda


Photograph from Tesla

Photograph from Tesla

Photograph from Tesla


That is going to be even shorter. The outside styling could be very subjective. Should you like trendy and sporty, you could favor the Tesla. For those who favor to suit into the gang and don’t wish to be observed, you might favor the Honda. I’ll name it a draw for most individuals, however I favor the Tesla. Take a look at the photographs and decide for your self.

Photograph from Honda

Photograph from Honda

Photograph from Tesla

Photograph from Tesla


If you speak about security nowadays, it’s essential speak about it in two methods. First, conventional crash testing is all about your probabilities of surviving a crash. The second sort of security, which is more durable to measure, is all about avoiding an accident within the first place.

I wrote concerning the Model 3’s leads to crash security a number of months in the past. In Tesla’s third quarter earnings name, Madan Gopal (Precept Security Engineer at Tesla) said that the Model 3 has the bottom chance of damage of any of the 943 automobiles examined by the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Affiliation since 2011! That being stated, the Honda Accord has an general 5 star score and 5 star scores in each subcategory additionally.

Shifting on to avoiding accidents, it seems the knowledge that I captured on the NHTSA web site is inaccurate. The Accord now consists of full Honda Sensing in each Accord, which incorporates comparable security options to Tesla’s Model 3, together with ahead collision warning and braking & lane departure warning.

I might give Tesla a slight edge in security at this time, however Tesla’s potential to enhance the security of the automotive with over-the-air updates signifies that it’s doubtless the Tesla can be considerably safer than it’s at the moment in 5 years and considerably safer than automobiles just like the 2019 Honda Accord that don’t have the power to enhance over time.



The Honda Accord Touring is a really trendy automotive with the newest state-of-the-art know-how within the engine, leisure, and security. It wouldn’t be rated so extremely in all of the critiques if it wasn’t state-of-the-art. It got here out in 2018 (the identical yr the Model 3 got here out). The Model 3 matches a lot of the Honda’s options, however then provides worth in 3 main areas.

Autopilot and The Promise of Full Self Driving

Tesla’s AutoPilot and particularly Navigate on Autopilot, which was just lately pushed out to house owners which have bought that choice, is life altering to many who’ve tried it. It doesn’t drive for you, because you do want to concentrate and proper the automotive when it makes errors, however I’ve heard it’s just like driving within the passenger seat with a brand new driver. You must concentrate, as a result of the driving force will makes some errors, however it’s much less tense than driving your self, when you find out how the system works.

Every time somebody asks on Fb or the Tesla Motors Membership whether it is value shopping for Autopilot, it comes again about 10 to 1 that’s was a life-changing buy. It really works very nicely on Interstate highways and on main roads in cease and go visitors. On brief journeys, the automotive is so enjoyable to drive, I hate to place in on Autopilot, and it isn’t actually meant for the town but anyway. On longer journeys, I take pleasure in taking a break.

Tesla automobiles are the one automobiles bought immediately for which the corporate claims they may have full self driving functionality in a number of years with out having to purchase a brand new automotive. Now, let’s be clear: no one is aware of for positive if Tesla will have the ability to ship on that declare, and that improve will value you between $zero and $12,000, relying on whenever you purchased your automotive and when you bought Autopilot and Full Self Driving whenever you bought the automotive.

Once I purchased my Model 3, I bought Autopilot for $5,000 and handed on the $3,000 Full Self Driving choice. When it comes out, I’ll improve to Full Self Driving for $four,000. Not solely does this have the potential to transform each day by day commutes and lengthy journeys, however it is going to enormously impression the resale worth of each automobiles which have it and automobiles that don’t. Automobiles that both have self driving or could be simply upgraded to self driving will probably improve in worth. Automobiles that may’t be upgraded to self driving will depreciate extra shortly than earlier than. This know-how will change the prices of utilizing a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft dramatically and many individuals who personal a automotive to get round will now discover it extra economical to only name a ride-hailing service. Stanford College futurist Tony Seba describes the imaginative and prescient higher than anybody else that I’ve seen.

Integration of Virtually Every part

Within the Model 3, the automotive is sort of a smartphone. Within the previous days of cell telephones and automobiles, there was a devoted button for every perform you wanted to make use of. When smartphones got here on the scene 10 years in the past, the telephone manufactures lowered the variety of buttons to some key features, like quantity, energy, and silence. Every thing else was accomplished on the touchscreen.

That’s precisely what Tesla is doing with the Model 3. The Silicon Valley firm is shifting 95% of the features to the touchscreen and simply protecting a number of main controls just like the steering wheel, 2 multi-function wheels on the steering wheel, the horn, the brake pedal, the accelerator, window controls, flip alerts, the gear shift stalk, overhead lights, and hazard lights. That is why the Model 3 known as the iPhone of automobiles.

Over-The-Air Updates

All Tesla automobiles bought at the moment get free up to date software program for the lifetime of the car. Even the primary 2012 Model S nonetheless will get new updates each few weeks. You don’t should go to the vendor to get these updates — they’re routinely downloaded to your automotive and also you specify when to put in them (the automotive cannot be pushed for the 45 minutes most software program updates take to use). Updates ceaselessly add new options or right minor points. They’ve improved security, made the automotive work higher in chilly climate, vastly improved Autopilot, added enjoyable Easter eggs and a lot extra!

General, the Tesla know-how is years forward of Honda’s, so I’m giving it a win within the class, however earlier than shopping for a Tesla, you need to reply in case you are prepared for the longer term or not. Not everybody is prepared for it. Have been you one of many first to get a smartphone in your circle of associates? For those who have been, you want a Tesla. In case you are nonetheless utilizing a flip telephone, it won’t be the automotive for you.


For prices, I used the Edmunds TCO calculator to seek out the estimated 5 yr prices of the Honda Accord Touring. From earlier articles, I had prices for a low-end Accord and the Tesla Model 3. I adjusted the Model 3 estimate to bear in mind the $2,000 worth drop and the $3,750 discount within the potential federal tax credit score.

You’ll be able to see the main variations between the Accord and the Tesla are depreciation and financing, gasoline, upkeep, and the tax credit score.

The rationale depreciation and financing are greater for the Tesla is the money worth is larger. If full self driving is delivered as promised within the subsequent 5 years, I’m assured that the Tesla won’t depreciate on the the anticipated fee, however I used a fee that’s extra conservative to be … conservative.

The Tesla makes again a lot of the elevated value of the car in gasoline financial savings as a result of the Accord Touring will get and EPA-estimated 26 mpg, little improved over the 21 mpg my Accord V6 was rated at 20 years in the past. The Model 3 is rated at 123 MPGe, so it’s virtually 5 occasions as environment friendly.

Upkeep prices are decreased on the Tesla, since oil, oil filter, engine air filter, transmission fluid, and spark plugs don’t exist within the automotive. There’s additionally some fear concerning the reliability of small turbo engines.

The tax credit score makes the anticipated 5 yr prices of the Model 3 lower than the Honda Accord Touring.

The guarantee can also be a lot better on the Tesla. The bumper to bumper guarantee is 3 years and 36,000 miles on the Honda and four years and 50,000 miles on the Model 3. The drivetrain guarantee is 5 years and 60,000 miles on the Honda and eight years and 100,000 miles on the Tesla. Extending the Honda guarantee to match the Tesla guarantee would value over $2,000 in my expertise. Then again, Tesla costs $1,500 to $2,500 if you’d like a colour aside from black, whereas Honda doesn’t cost additional for colours. So, general, I’ll name this a draw.


So, by my scoring, Tesla gained the driving dynamics, security, and know-how areas and roughly tied within the areas of inside, exterior, and prices. Is that the rationale that Honda sedan gross sales have dropped as Tesla Model 3 gross sales have jumped?

Every individual has totally different necessities for his or her automotive, and in case your most important standards for purchasing a automotive is how lengthy it takes to fill it up on a 500 mile street journey, the Honda Accord goes to return out on prime, since to cease at a Supercharger on an extended journey may take an additional jiffy. However should you worth sporty driving, security, and having the newest know-how, its doubtless you’ll want the Tesla Model 3.

Let me know within the feedback what you assume! I’d do a comparability with the Camry subsequent, however let me know what different automobiles you want to see in contrast.

You need to use my Tesla referral hyperlink to rise up to 9 months free Supercharging (6 months when you’ve got check pushed a automotive with Tesla) on a Model S, Model X, or Model 3. Right here’s the code:



Tags: EV critiques, Honda, Honda Accord, Honda Accord evaluations, Tesla, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model 3 evaluations, Tesla critiques

Concerning the Writer

Paul Fosse I have been a software program engineer for over 30 years, first engaged on EDI software program and extra lately creating knowledge warehouse methods within the telecommunications and healthcare business. Alongside the best way, I’ve additionally had the prospect to assist begin a software program consulting agency and do portfolio administration for a number of funding trusts. In 2010, I took an curiosity in electrical automobiles as a result of fuel was getting costly. In 2015, I began studying CleanTechnica and took an curiosity in photo voltaic, primarily as a result of it was a menace to my oil and fuel investments in my funding trusts. Tesla investor. Tesla referral code:

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