Model S Vs Model Y Cargo Space and More

Model S Vs Model Y Cargo Space and More

Lately, it seems like Tesla cannot miss a beat with their innovative ideas and new car models they keep putting out. One of the first cars they came out with, the Model S, has been a huge hit with consumers. To this day, Model S turns the heads of drivers on the road when one passes by, as does the remarkable and most recent Model Y.

Since 2012 when Tesla started production of the Model S, several other vehicles have been put out and have had much success. Each car, Models S to Y, seems to get even better, and with perks like extra cargo space, over the air updates, and other advanced technology features.

Tesla electric vehicles can cost you a lot more than a lower-end, traditional motor vehicle, but they are a much more sustainable source of transportation, plus they are just wicked cool. Read on to learn more about the main differences between one of the first Tesla cars, the Model S, and the most recent Tesla Model Y.

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Model S Vs Model Y

The original Tesla vehicle was the Roadster, and while this EV was groundbreaking in its own right, things have only gone up since they stopped production to work on Model S. Ever since Elon Musk took over Tesla Motor Company, owning a Tesla vehicle has felt more like owning a sports car rather than an environmentally conscious vehicle.

Where the Roadster kept its lithium-ion cell batteries in the front end of the vehicle, much like where you would put an internal combustion engine in a traditional car, the Model S stored its batteries underneath the vehicle. This opened up a whole new world for those needing additional cargo space, and was nicknamed the front trunk, or “frunk.”

Out of the cars that Tesla has come out with since Musk took over as CEO, Model S and Model Y are the most different. Model S came out in 2012 and has made a name for itself ever since then, while the 2020 Model Y is much newer and has had less time to prove itself. Both of these innovative vehicles boast many special features, such as

  • Dual motor all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • Lithium-ion cell batteries that can be charged from special ports that can be installed in your home
  • Between 115-130 mpg, depending on if you are driving in town or on the freeway
  • The ability to update technology over the air when connected to internet

So many other new and innovative ideas have launched with each Tesla car model since then. The size difference between the Model S and the Model Y does not seem too noticeable until you actually sit inside the vehicle. Whereas the Model S is sleek and sexy, the Model Y enjoys a surprising amount of headroom for such a sporty vehicle.

Best Model S Benefits

The model S is Tesla’s longest-produced vehicle. There is not much difficulty in understanding why, as the sleek and streamlined body makes it look more like a luxury vehicle than a clunky electric vehicle. Elon Musk was the one to make it cool to own an EV with the Model S, and although it is pricier than the Model Y, it is totally a classic.

Model S is one super sexy sedan, with the additional benefit of being pretty zippy. One of the reasons behind its excellent speed and increased energy efficiency is the famous Tesla aerodynamic build. It looks graceful and elegant, but the smaller build and clean lines also help it to fight wind resistance and perform as impressively as it looks.

The Model S starts out at just under $70,000, but the price can quickly climb based on any additional perks or add-ons you may desire. The base model is able to travel up to 400 miles on a single charge and the speed tops out at just over 150 mph. If you wanted to add on all the benefits that are available, you are looking at nearly $86,000.

There is another option within the Model S line, however, which is known as the Performance Model S. This model is quite a bit more expensive and will rarely end up costing you less than $100,000. The perks are that this EV is the fastest accelerating and longest lasting model on the market today. Sounds pretty good.

Best Model Y Benefits

Whereas the Model S only has 5 seats to comfortably get you and your loved ones from point A to point B, Tesla Model Y can seat up to seven people. There is a noticeable difference in the increased amount of headroom the Model Y offers its passenger, which is impressive since it still manages to maintain its luxe feel.

Unlike Model S, the Tesla Model Y offers the option for a third seat which can sit two people. You do not have to use the optional third row just for passengers though. The seats in the third and second row all fold to be completely flat, which will leave plenty of cargo space for larger storage items, such as golf clubs or skis.

When opening the trunk, you will notice that the floor is pretty low, which makes moving furniture a breeze should you desire to forgo the added seats and use the extra space for moving larger cargo around. Since each seat in the second and third row fold completely flat independently, any number of people can ride alongside your cargo.

The best part about the Model Y is not even just that it is so much cheaper than the Model S. With a dollar difference of nearly $32,000, driving a Tesla Model Y is much more affordable and attainable than the Model S. However, the best part about the Model Y is how much freedom the versatility affords its passengers.

Model S Vs Model Y: Specifications

Just because both the Tesla Model S and Model Y are excellent vehicles, it does not mean that both or even either one will be best suited for you. Because there is such a price discrepancy between the two, and because each option can provide you with a very different experience, it is worth mentioning the few similarities first.

Both Teslas are electric vehicles, obviously. This means that although the initial cost is higher than most traditional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles, not to mention the Model S being even higher in price, you will save money overall with the lower cost for fluids for your car. You need windshield wiper fluid and that is about it.

Although the Model Y feels roomier on the inside, both Model S and Model Y are about the same size. The Model Y is about nine inches shorter than the Model S, which may be felt in the actual amount of trunk space. This downside is fortunately made up in how much you can move the seating around to accommodate all of your:

  • Luggage
  • Sports gear
  • Other storable goods

Leg room is about the same between the two in the front end, while the Model Y has more leg room in the second row. If you are the one buying the car, it is not too likely that you will actually need the extra leg room in the back because you are probably going to be driving the car. That being said, it will not hurt you to have the extra space.

Power Differences

The sheer power and initial torque for Teslas are pretty impressive. In fact, in a quarter mile drag race against an Audi R8, even the Model Y, which is not a sports car by any means, was able to hold its own. The size difference between the Tesla Model S and the Tesla Model Y is not too different, but the power differences can easily be felt.

Where the Model S has a ludicrous acceleration rate, the Model Y is quite a bit slower, although being zippy in and of itself. Horsepower does not actually mean much when it comes to an EV, it turns out. The best way to compare power differences between the Model S and the Model Y is to look at kilowatt hours per mile and the torque output.

The Model S can get up to.25 kilowatt hours per mile, while the Model Y gets about .245, meaning that their power consumption is about the same. However, the range is ultimately affected by:

  • The aerodynamics of the vehicle
  • The battery capacity
  • The weight of the vehicle

Since the Model Y is larger, it is going to weigh more, so the range is lower. This is also a good explanation for why the Model S is so much faster. The good news is, at the end of the day, each Tesla vehicle can get you a pretty good distance in between charging, and most people do not require a vehicle that can go from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds, anyway.

What is Each Vehicle Better Suited For?

It is hard to go wrong with a Tesla vehicle. That being said, it is worth mentioning that not all styles of Tesla will be suited for your needs, nor will each one be right for the lifestyle you live. For example, if you and your partner regularly need to transport your four children to soccer practice, you will need more than the five seats in the Model S.

The Model Y is better for larger families as it has more and better seating, but also because it has a bit more cargo space. Between the two vehicles, both have the cargo space and carrying power that is among the best on the market, but the Model Y is able to store up to 68 cubic feet of stuff, while the Model S only stores about 60 cubic feet.

This is, of course, considering the second row of seats folded down in both vehicles. Since the Model Y has a higher roof, the increase in space is due to extra headroom. If you will pack your Tesla up to the rafters is up to you. The Model Y is also able to fold down seats individually, meaning you can drive your bike and your kid at the same time.

The Model S has more of a sporty feel, so for the amount of people it can carry, the similar amount of cargo space is impressive and intriguing. If you regularly need to carry up to seven people, you will want the Model Y, but the ability to go from 0 to 60mph in less than two seconds in the Model S is wicked fast enough to tempt most drivers.

Cargo Space Options

Because Elon Musk had the brilliant idea to store the batteries that give Tesla vehicles life under the car, each model has a front trunk, or frunk, where the engine would be stored on a traditional, non-electric vehicle. This is where Model S or Model Y owners can store additional, smaller cargo, such as

  • Smaller groceries
  • Roadside emergency kits
  • Shopping bags (3-4 bags)

Surprisingly, the Model S frunk is larger than the Model Y, likely due to the Model Y having an optional third row for additional seating. Since the Model Y is not that much longer than the Model S, the extra space had to come from somewhere. You can not store large items in the frunk, but it is nice to have space not attached to the main cabin.

Like almost all other vehicles, the Model S and the Model Y have regular back-end trunk spaces for larger items. While both vehicles have the option to fold down the second row of seats to afford even more space for longer or oddly shaped items. The Model Y has a better setup for their second row in that each seat can fold down individually.

This means that if you are trying to carry three people and a bunch of skis, there is no need for a cargo carrier or a trailer to haul your stuff on the outside of your vehicle. With the option for putting down one, two, or all three seats, you could carry four people in the Model Y, (including yourself), and then have your skis extend from the trunk.

Is the Model S or the Model Y Better?

The true and only answer to which Tesla is the best is that each model is the best at different things. Each vehicle is going to have its pros and cons, and the only way to decide if you should get the classically sleek and super-fast Model S or the newer and more versatile Model Y is to decide what you can and can not live without in your car.

Tesla Model STesla Model Y
Tried and true since 2012Has a much shorter resume, since 2020
Second row seats fold downEach seat in second row folds separately
Can go from 0-60mph in under 2 secondsCan go from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds
Can comfortably transport up to 5 peopleCan comfortably transport 5-7 people

The Tesla Model S is much sportier and can go much faster and even a little farther than the Model Y. On the other hand, the Model Y can hold more people and has more versatility when it comes to cargo space. Headroom on the Model Y is a little roomier, though driver and passenger seats in the front should feel about the same space wise.

All Tesla vehicles are run on lithium-ion batteries that are stored in the underside of the car, which is also designed to prevent rollovers. The Model Y is a little less likely to roll over than other Tesla vehicles, due to their low center of mass. In fact, the Model X is the safest SUV on the market today, and the Model Y is just a slightly smaller version.

If you are looking for a clean, family friendly, slightly less expensive option when purchasing a Tesla vehicle, then without a doubt you are going to want to buy the crossover Model Y. However, if you want a zippy, eye-catching luxury vehicle, the Model S is sure to catch your eye. Both options have excellent ratings and are great vehicles.

Final Thoughts

Tesla cars are some of the best electric vehicles on the market, and although Model S and Model Y are pretty unique apart from one another, together they are able to suit a wide range of consumers and their needs. For the price and cargo capacity, you would be pretty hard pressed to find a better vehicle on the market today, electric or otherwise.

The Model S is better for those searching for a luxury sports car that also has the benefit of being an electric vehicle. What the Model S lacks in cargo space, it makes up for in speed. The Model Y is better suited for big families and those that are needing to carry more with them wherever they go. Either one is impressive and consumer friendly.


The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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