2021 Tesla Model Y

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2021 Tesla Model Y Review: Designed For The Future

by Aiden Eksteen

Having mastered the potential and capability of electric vehicles, Tesla, the most renowned EV automaker is now making great strides to improve accessibility to the cars of the future. The 2021 Tesla Model Y is one of the most adept EVs sold in the USA but also one of Tesla's most affordable offerings. Automakers are quickly catching up to Tesla with their own newfangled electric cars, though. Ford offers the Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen the ID.4, and Audi the e-tron, with the Ford and the VW coming close to the Model Y in pricing. Tesla still leads the pack in speed and capability, though, with outputs ranging from 449 to 480 horsepowers between the Long Range and the Performance models, and driving ranges coming in at 326 and 303 miles, respectively. It's spacious and featureful, too, and is even rated for a 3,500-pound towing capacity. Of course, no engine means no fuel consumption, and MPGe figures are incredible. While the Model Y is a few years into its first generation, it still suffers from some questionable build quality issues. Is the 2021 Model Y worth considering if its leading EV capabilities could just be rendered futile by its rushed production?

2021 Tesla Model Y Changes: ๐Ÿš™Whatโ€™s the difference vs 2020 Model Y?

Unlike the majority of other automakers, Tesla makes constant changes to its range throughout the year so a Model Y you buy early in 2021 may not be the same as one you can buy at the end of the year. At the time of writing this review, we know that Tesla introduced a rear-wheel-drive Standard Range model at a lower price and then promptly removed this model from its website. However, Elon Musk stated that interested customers who visit showrooms or call in to purchase can still buy one of these models. A single-motor Long Range model is reportedly on the cards but this variant hasn't been officially introduced yet.

Besides this shuffling around of trims and powertrains, the 2021 Model Y crossover can now also be ordered with a third row of seating to increase seating capacity to seven.

Pros and Cons

  • Exhilarating electrified acceleration
  • Compliant and comfortable handling
  • Class-leading all-electric driving range
  • Modern and minimalistic overall design
  • Supercharger network is really extensive
  • Pricing more attractive than the Model X's
  • Standard Range no longer proffered
  • 15-inch touchscreen can be distracting
  • Optional third-row seats are confined
  • Rearward visibility is a bit compromised
  • Build quality is questionable

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2021 Tesla Model Y Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Standard Range
Single Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Long Range
Single Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Single Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive

Model Y Exterior

2021 Tesla Model Y Driving Front Angle Tesla
2021 Tesla Model Y Rear Perspective Driving Tesla
2021 Tesla Model Y Forward View Tesla
See All 2021 Tesla Model Y Exterior Photos


  • Length 187.0 in
  • Wheelbase 113.8 in
  • Height 63.9 in
  • Max Width 75.6 in
  • Front Width 64.4 in
  • Rear Width 64.4 in
  • Curb Weight 4,416.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Deep Blue Metallic +$1,000
  • Solid Black +$1,000
  • Midnight Silver Metallic +$1,000
  • Red Multi-Coat +$2,000
  • Pearl White Multi-Coat

Model Y Performance

2021 Tesla Model Y Frontal Aspect Tesla
2021 Tesla Model Y Side Perspective Driving Tesla
2021 Tesla Model Y Driving Back View Tesla

Engine and Transmission

With a single synchronous AC induction, liquid-cooled electric motor on the front axle, and another AC permanent magnet synchronous motor at the rear axle, the Long Range Model Y SUV is imbued with a combined 449 hp, all of which is sent instantaneously through a single-speed fixed-gear transmission to the SUVs all-wheel-drive system. The top-spec Performance Model Y comes with the same setup but its motors have been up-tuned to produce a juicier 480 hp. There is certainly no shortage of power in either of the Model Y's with acceleration responses proving momentous but velvety smooth. The 2021 Tesla Model Y's charging times are exceptionally quick on one of Tesla's V3 Superchargers, which can provide up to 162-miles of range in around 15 minutes.

  • Engine
  • Transmission
    Single Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Model Y Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 131/117 mpg
* 2021 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD

Model Y Interior

2021 Tesla Model Y Interior in White Tesla
2021 Tesla Model Y Central Console Tesla
2021 Tesla Model Y Dashboard Tesla
See All 2021 Tesla Model Y Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 41.8 in
  • Front Head Room 41.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.4 in

Model Y Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Tesla Model Y Maximum Cargo Space Tesla
2021 Tesla Model Y Rear Passenger Seats Tesla
2021 Tesla Model Y Center Stack Tesla

Model Y Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    8 Years \ 120,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: ๐ŸIs the 2021 Tesla Model Y a good SUV?

Though not very different from the rest of the Tesla range, the Model Y does still does carry a lot of appeal, not only as a proficient EV but also as a more affordable offering to the Model X. It does seem, however, as though Tesla has dropped the Standard Range model from the latest lineup which was, unfortunately, the most affordable option. Even so, the Model X remains a superb offer and is still more accessible than both the BMW iX3 and Audi e-tron. The all-new Ford Mustang Mach-E measures up fairly well alongside the Model Y in both performance and price, but the Tesla has that extra edge with more power and capability at hand. It's more exhilarating to drive with its brisk acceleration responses and nimble handling, and it offers a genuinely thrifty driving range. Some other qualities worth mentioning include the spacious and cozy cabin, its comprehensive array of inclusive features, and a top-notch safety rating earned from the NHTSA's review of the 2021 Tesla Model Y. The famed EV automaker still has some work to do polishing up the build quality of its cars, which should also improve reliability expectations. Nevertheless, it's still a great electric crossover

๐Ÿš—What Tesla Model Y Model Should I Buy?

Choosing which Model Y SUV to opt for will really come down to what level of performance you want from your futuristic electric sport-utility vehicle. The Long Range offers everything you could possibly need from an EV SUV, from solid acceleration and an extensive all-electric driving range to a comprehensive selection of comforts and conveniences, as well as a spacious cabin with plenty of cargo space. The Performance Model Y is a lot quicker than the Long Range off the line, but it's $10,000 more expensive and can't manage as much range, so there's a trade-off. With the 2021 Tesla Model Y SUV's price starting at $39,990, we'd go for the Long Range model and opt-in the Full Self-Driving Capability tech, which provides access to the best driver-assist systems that Tesla has to offer.

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