Tesla Model Y Compared To Tesla Model S

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Photo from Tesla.com

Most people think of comparing the Model Y to either a Model 3 (which it was derived from) or a Model X (Tesla’s first SUV), but I thought it would be interesting to compare it to the original “designed from the ground up” Model S.

They both have a little more room for passengers than the Model 3, and a lot more room for cargo. While the Model S Performance is in a different league, the Long Range is comparable in acceleration. I have driven a Model S and own a Model 3. When people say the Model Y drives like a Model 3 with a little more body roll, that isn’t exactly how I remember it. I remember it just being less tight and nimble. (Although, that was 2 years ago, before the suspension was enhanced.)

Photo from Tesla.com

The Model S is 9 inches longer than the Model Y, a couple inches wider, and 6 inches lower in height. I was surprised the weight was only 467 pounds more, and the most shocking statistic to me was that the vehicle capacity was identical at 954 pounds! The cargo space is similar, with the Model Y having an extra 8 cubic feet, no doubt because of the greater height of the vehicle.

Even thought the Model S is 9 inches longer, the Model Y has 5 inches more rear leg room. The Model S Long Range is about a second faster than the Model Y Long Range, but if it is acceleration you want, you can always get the Model Y Performance for $8,000 more instead of upgrading to the Model S.

The Model S has between 75 and 111 more miles of range than the Model Y, but since the Y charges at a slightly higher rate and uses slightly less juice, I think the road trip experience would be about the same for both. Both models have more range than anyone would use around town. The Model S would be a better choice for someone who lives in an apartment and doesn’t have a way to charge at home. The longer range will mean fewer trips to the Supercharger, and the fact that the Supercharging is free makes a big difference. If you drive 100,000 miles in your car and use 30,000 kWh at a Supercharger, around here where they cost 28 cents a kWh, that would cost you $8,400 over those 100,000 miles. That almost cuts in half the $19,000 difference in price between the Model Y Performance and the Model S Long Range.

If you also value the air suspension, Bioweapon Defense Mode (HEPA air filter), and prefer the look and style of the S, it is a great purchase. On the other hand, I don’t go on many long trips, I charge at my house, I prefer the look and style of the Model Y, and I don’t really value the air suspension and enhanced air filter. So, I prefer the lower price of the Model Y. Even if the price was the same, I would prefer the Y since I can get the 7 seater next year and it is easier to park. I’m also getting older and prefer the higher seating position and the roomier back seats.


I’m surprised how closely the specifications line up. But a car decision is usually more an emotional one than a specs-driven one. Many people who are drawn to the Model S are looking to be seen as pioneers and as owners of a rare and exclusive model. The Model S also has a much more complete driver information system for people who don’t like the Model 3/Model Y minimalism. Some people don’t want to get used to seeing everything on the 15″ center screen. The Model Y also won’t tempt people interested in the Model S’s performance, since it is so much slower.

But for those people who were buying the Model S instead of the Model 3 because they wanted a little bigger car and substantially more cargo room, I suggest looking at the Model Y and seeing if it meets your needs. If it does and you like the looks, then it will save you some money on the initial purchase and also cost a little less to charge over the life of the vehicle.

If you decide to order a Tesla, use a friend’s referral code to get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging on a Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3 (you can’t use it on the Model Y or Cybertruck yet). Now good for $250 off either solar panels or a solar roof, too! If you don’t have any friends with a Tesla, use mine: https://ts.la/paul92237

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Paul Fosse

I have been a software engineer for over 30 years, first developing EDI software, then developing data warehouse systems. Along the way, I've also had the chance to help start a software consulting firm and do portfolio management. In 2010, I took an interest in electric cars because gas was getting expensive. In 2015, I started reading CleanTechnica and took an interest in solar, mainly because it was a threat to my oil and gas investments. Follow me on Twitter @atj721 Tesla investor. Tesla referral code: https://ts.la/paul92237

Paul Fosse has 225 posts and counting. See all posts by Paul Fosse