Mental Judo. Bolt vs Model 3 for teen

Comments on my mental judo?

Teenage son has 2023 Bolt LT2. I’ve been offered $28500 from a dealer. I believe the Bolt will be worth $23k in 3 years (partly due to price support from used EV tax credit). $28500 @ current CD rate of 5% is $1425 or $118 per month in what I’ll call interest expense. Add $153 in depreciation ($5500/36) and I’m calculating a monthly cost of $271.

New Model 3 is currently $477/month with $0 down. With a lease, I have less concern about dents/dings and/or loss of value due to repairable accidents. And I believe the M3 is one of the safest cars in production.

POV1: $477 for M3 is 76% higher than the monthly cost of the Bolt. That’s a lot.
POV2: I’m paying $500/month for just his insurance (male teen :roll_eyes:) so $977 ($477+$500) for the M3 is only 27% higher than the $771 ($271+500) for the Bolt.

Is it worth paying 27% more for an arguably safer car and some additional benefits from leasing? In relative dollars, it’s not that much more. In actual dollars, $200 is still $200.

You should get a quote for insurance on the Tesla. It probably will be different than the insurance on the Bolt, which could affect your analysis.


I’d keep the Bolt. It’s a more practical car for a teen driver… I think the Bolt has better safety features than the M3.

With the lease you’ll have to figure it out all again in 36 months, but with the Bolt, he can figure it out. :slight_smile:

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Why are you not looking at something like a used Leaf with no collision coverage? Model 3 is too fast for most teens. Fwiw you sound like a great dad!


Not much difference. The big swing is the teen male, first year with license.

Bolt has good safety features. But the Tesla unibody design seems to be amazingly effective at protecting vehicle occupants.

Had a used Leaf for him to use while learning to drive. Wanted more safety features so upgraded to a Bolt. Because of his age, he has to go under my insurance so he needs full coverage in order for me to maintain my umbrella policy. When he is old enough to get a separate policy, I will switch him over.

Doubtful. Plenty of new EVs with more range and quicker charging will be out. The Bolt will be old tech after 3 years. That’s why we lease EVs - we don’t need to take the chance at the heavy depreciation hit.

The teen will want the Model 3. He already however has the bolt. It going to be better overall to keep the bolt; and like others pointed out he can figure it out later in life as the bolt is still his.


Insurance will not charge your kid the same for a M3. It’s gonna be astronomical. Come back to us when your head explodes from the quote.


I get that. But I prefer the stuff that prevents accidents, especially for teens.

That’s why I got the Corolla with all the safety stuff for our kid rather than let them try to fix up an old Supra. :slight_smile:

Tesla allows you to set max speed if ‘too fast for teens’ is your concern

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I still think $23k with the used EV tax credit (net price to retail buyer of $20k or less). Just my opinion.

Fortunately, he doesn’t care what kind of car he drives. This is really a parenting decision on safety vs cost.

You are right…it is almost $150 more per month. This might be the deciding factor as $1127/month for M3 is 46% more than $771 for the Bolt.

If I’m not switching out his car, then I need to find another car target to keep myself busy. :grinning:

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Since this got off-ramped… it’s time for me to flex my black belt in mental Judo! :slight_smile:

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Don’t they have the same tech? They both have AEB. Bolt has traditional BSM which I prefer over the Tesla camera view (awkward for driver side blind spot).

Thought it would be more, but good thing you checked!

Not sure what the LT2 trim has… BSM on the Tesla is not that good… you’re looking at your mirrors when you change lanes, not the center console… and a BSM light is binary whereas with the virtualization you have to do some looking to see if there is car there or not (and only shows red when you signal).

Also, I think the Premier trim of the Bolt has a 360 view, does the Bolt have cross traffic detection?

If you’re even contemplating this, just get him the Tesla. He’ll love you for it.

Agree that the BSM on the Tesla is awkward and not as good as the Bolt. The Bolt does have cross traffic detection and 360 view…which the Tesla does not. Good points.

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He honestly doesn’t care. He might even prefer the interior of the Bolt (LT2 trim is actually pretty nice) over the M3. With the added insurance cost, I think I’ve decided to keep the Bolt. It’s also my understanding that his insurance rate will drop in a year assuming no accidents/infractions.


I’m more surprised he can keep the miles down in a lease for a Teen, with the Tesla he might become the mule to drive around the friends.