Choosing between Tesla models can seem like a daunting task, and when comparing a newer model, such as the Model Y, against classics such as the Model S, the task can grow even more difficult. Both models have their unique advantages and features that make them enjoyable to drive and a good investment for various lifestyles.
Overall, the Tesla Model Y is a less expensive electric car with a greater carrying capacity and newer features. However, the Model S has its advantages, with an unmatched range and speed and a sleek design. The Model S costs more, but its reliability and style make it a bestseller year after year.
The details of each Tesla model may seem overwhelming, but they are actually just part of what gives Tesla such a strong reputation as a car manufacturer. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between these cars, as well as how you can choose which model works best for you.
Which is Better: A Tesla Model Y or Model S?
There is no clear winner in which Tesla model is the best, especially when comparing the Model Y with Model S. In deciding which car is right for you, you should consider a variety of factors surrounding both the cars themselves and your own lifestyle.
History and Reputation
The Model S is Tesla’s flagship sedan. It was first released in 2012 and has since become one of the leading electric cars in the world, paving the way for a new type of automobile. It has had strong sales records across the world, and to this day is still a bestseller among Tesla’s models.
On the other hand, the Model Y was unveiled in March 2019 as a larger adaptation of the popular Model 3. Although still relatively new to the market, the Model Y has seen success across the globe consistently and has established itself as a great budget-friendly and practical electric car.
Now, let’s take a look at the price comparison for the two vehicles.
The Model Y is seen as a good investment by many because of its lower price tag. Model Y Tesla cars retail at $52,990. Compared with the Model S’s $84,990 sticker price, the Model Y is a lower-cost car that still delivers great quality.
Keep in mind that these are both base prices. Adding extra design or technological features to either model will continue to drive the price up. However, add-ons aside, the Model Y is a very reasonably-priced option, especially on the electric car market.
Range and Speed
As a driver of an electric car, it is a given that you will be wondering both how far your car can go on a charge and what its speed capabilities are.
Both models’ performance can be analyzed in the following way:
- Model Y Speed: The performance model of the Model Y goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds.
- Model Y Charge Range: The Model Y can travel 326 miles on a single charge.
- Model S Speed: The Model S performance model goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a speedy 2.4 seconds.
- Model S Charge Range: The Model S can travel 405 miles on a single charge.
Because of its larger size, the Model Y does not travel as far or accelerate as quickly as the Model S. For those looking for a sportier feel and the capacity to travel further on a single electric charge, the Model S may be the right choice.
Design Features of the Model S and Model Y
Both car models were built with certain lifestyles in mind. Although those looking for cars might be most concerned with their ability to travel distances and the price, the features that come with each specific model are important to your decision and should not be overlooked.
The Model Y
The Model Y is a compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV), meaning it is built with unibody frame construction and is meant to be larger than a standard sedan. The Model Y is more similar in feel than other Tesla Models to other popular gasoline-powered crossovers such as the Honda Pilot.
The Model Y has the following design features in its base model:
- Ample legroom
- 7-person seating capacity
- Cargo capacity of 68 cubic feet
- An optional third row of seating
- Liftgate for easy loading and unloading
- All-glass roof
- One front screen for navigations, communication, and more
Because of its large size and carrying capacity, the Model Y is considered to be a good option for families or for those who frequently have to transport a lot of materials.
The Model S
The Tesla Model S is a 5-door sedan with more of a classic sports car feel. In 2021, the Model S received a major refresh to its systems and features.
It now has the following design features in its base performance model:
- Rear and front trunks
- 5-person seating capacity
- 28 cubic feet of carrying capacity
- All-glass roof
- Updated battery architecture
- Two screens in front for navigations, communication, and more
Additionally, the Model S also has air suspension, which results in a smoother and more quiet drive than the Model S. For those with no large demands for space who are looking for a luxury car, the Model S can be a great option.
A Note on Customization
Both car models can be customized in almost all of the same ways. The main difference is that the Model Y has the option to add a hitch for hauling and towing needs.
How to Choose Between the Model S and Model Y
Both Model S and Model Y are great options depending on your needs and lifestyle.
Given the information about their distinctive features, it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions when you are considering which model to buy:
- What is your budget? If you are hoping to save some money, the Model Y may be your best option over the costlier Model S.
- How many passengers do you regularly carry? If you frequently drive on your own or with just one other person, the Model S is smaller and sleeker. For those looking to transport a family or larger groups of people, the Model Y is the way to go.
- How far are you hoping to travel on each charge? The difference of miles traveled on each charge might not seem like a lot, but it can add up. If you are hoping to get the most out of each charging session, the Model S will travel further on a single charge.
- How do you prefer to be comfortable? The Model S has a smoother ride than the Model Y, but the Model Y has more legroom.
- Will you need to tow anything? For those looking to haul the occasional trailer or boat, the Model Y has the engine power to haul and the option to add a hitch.
- How fast do you like to go? The Model S is built more like a sports car, and its capacity for speed and acceleration is unbeatable among Tesla models. If this quality is important to you, consider the Model S.
- What are your style preferences? The Model S is a classic sports car feel, whereas the Model Y has more of a utility style.
Regardless of which style you choose, you can rest assured that you will be purchasing a high-quality Tesla electric car with numerous options for customization. Thinking through your preferences and needs will make the car-buying process that much easier for you when it comes time to make the decision.
Resale Values of Both Models
If you are not planning to keep your Tesla forever, resale value is likely something that will be very important to you. Fortunately, both Tesla models are nearly identical in their depreciation rates.
The original price of the Model Y is estimated to depreciate 48% over five years, whereas the Model S is estimated to depreciate 49%. However, the Model S’s higher price means you will make a larger sum of money back when you resell it, though you will have purchased it at a higher price initially.
Where to Buy Tesla Model S or Model Y
Once you have decided which type of Tesla model you are buying, you may be wondering where you can find these cars. Fortunately, many of the standard options for buying gasoline-powered cars apply to Tesla electric cars as well.
Find a Dealership
The most common place to buy a Tesla car is from a designated Tesla dealership.
Some benefits to purchasing a Tesla from a dealership include:
- Knowledgeable sales professionals who can walk you through the purchasing process
- Guaranteed quality on which model you choose to buy
- It’s easy to find a dealership near you with more than 130 locations across the US and some stores around the world
- Ongoing advice regarding any repairs or upgrades after purchase
If you wish to buy a Tesla from a dealership, you can locate one that is near you on their website and find more information about their services and which models they carry.
Buy Your Tesla Secondhand
Another popular option is to purchase your car secondhand.
Many dealerships have used Tesla Model S and Model Y options in their inventories. However, you may also find Tesla cars for sale in the following locations:
- Used car websites
- Online classifieds
- Dealerships that have received a Tesla from a trade-in or auction
Buying a used Tesla certainly has its advantages, perhaps the greatest of which is a lower price. However, you will not be able to customize the car to your specifications, and if you buy it from a private dealer you should take steps to ensure that the car is functioning well and was legally acquired.
Both the Model S and Model Y are easy enough to find secondhand as large numbers have been produced and continue to be produced each year. Keep in mind though the Model S has been around longer, so you will probably be able to find more secondhand options.
Charging Your Model S or Model Y
Both the Model S and Model Y are electric cars, and the advantages that come with electric car ownership are all made possible through their battery-powered engines that are charged through electricity.
Charge Time for Model S
Part of owning an electric car is taking the time to charge it. Both the Model S and Model Y will require time at a charging station once they have exhausted their battery through miles traveled.
The Model S has the following statistics for charge time:
- 49 hours until full charge if being charged at 110 volts (V)
- 12 hours until full charge if being charged at 220 V
- 1.33 hours until full charge if being charged at 440 V
If you know how long you will need to charge your car, it will be easier to budget the time in your day to do so.
Charge Time for Model Y
The Model Y is slightly faster to charge than the Model S, although it travels fewer miles on a fully charged battery.
On a standard 220 V charger, the Model Y takes around 10 hours to fully charge. On an L1, 110 V charger, the Model Y usually takes around 43 hours to charge.
Depending on what voltage power you have access to when charging your car, you will potentially need to reserve up to 2 days to charge either the Model Y or the Model S.
Buying an In-Home Charging Station
Both the Model S and Model Y can be charged using in-home charging stations. These are a very popular option that allow people to replenish their car batteries at a time and place convenient for them without having to worry about finding a convenient commercial charger.
In-home charging stations can be bought directly through Tesla. All Tesla cars, regardless of model, come with a mobile connector as a backup charging method that can be used anywhere there is a power outlet.
Tesla recommends the Wall Connector for both the Model S and Model Y. This option operates conveniently in your garage and will provide about 30 miles of range for each hour charged.
Finding Charging Stations With Model S and Model Y
Another common option for charging your Tesla Model S or Model Y is to make use of a charging station in a public or commercial space. Both the Tesla Model S and Model Y have functionalities within their internal systems that allow you to find compatible charging stations on your route.
When considering where to charge your car, it may be helpful to think of the following factors:
- Proximity to work: making use of a charging station near your office can allow you to charge your car while you work. Some businesses even have their own charging stations, too.
- Accessibility: It may be easiest to make use of a charging station that is near a road you commonly travel.
- Popularity: If you try to use a charging station in an area with high levels of traffic, be prepared to wait in line to use the charger. In some cases, it may be easier to use a charging station in a quieter area.
Both the Model S and Model Y will require frequent charges if you are driving often. If you are traveling far or considering a road trip, it might be helpful to map out your route in advance to make sure there are always charging stations accessible.
If you are going to be driving through rural areas with your Model S or Model Y, be sure to bring along your backup charger. Although this is a slower charging method than a higher voltage home charging station or commercial charger, it will keep you from getting stranded if your battery runs out of power and there is no charging station available to you.
Both the Tesla Model S and Model Y are great options for those looking to begin their journey in electric car ownership.
If you are considering the two different styles, think about your own needs. The Model Y is better suited toward families or those looking for a solid and economical electric CUV for local travel. By contrast, the Model S is a faster and sportier car that provides a luxury ride for a longer distance. Both models are very similar in terms of potential for upgrades and customization, as well as charging requirements.
Regardless of which option you choose, you can rest assured with the knowledge that you will be purchasing a dependable and eye-catching vehicle. Both the Tesla Model S and Model Y promise to continue to make their mark on the world of electric cars, allowing you both reliability and the excitement of driving one of the best electric cars on the market.