Tesla on Tesla: Model S Vs. Model Y

Model S Vs. Model Y

Tesla has amazed the world by its continual new addition to the SUV range with the intention of decreasing the carbon footprint on the earth. The hottest talk of the town from Tesla’s SUV range is the Model S, and the Model Y. Model S was officially unveiled in 2012, whereas the model Y launched recently in 2020.

The Tesla Model S Long Range car is priced at the starting of $84,990, whereas the Tesla Model Y version has a starting price of $53,990. The Tesla Model Y is the clear option if the decision is based on the price and affordability, but the Model S is better regarding design, performance, and storage.

However, the cars have much more features to be compared apart from the price. Keep on reading for a detailed comparison between both models to choose the right one for yourself to buy.

Overview of Tesla Model S Vs. Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model S is one of the longest-running cars from the range. It first appeared in the year 2012 and followed model X. Although the car had some problems and glitches in the initial years, it is still the most considerable success in its range.

The Tesla Model Y is the newer version in the SUV range and has caught the public’s attention due to its similar but refined features from Model S. But at a much lesser price. The model Y was released in 2020 and since then has been making a roar amongst consumers.

Specs Comparison: Model S Vs. Model Y

There are numerous differences when thinking about the specs of the Model S versus the Model Y. The list below will dive deeper into the specifications of Model S and Model Y to make a clear decision: ·       

  • Price difference
  • Shape, design, and interior
  • Passenger Space
  • Performance
  • Storage
  • Battery And Power

Overall, these are some of the top factors that you should consider before deciding on the Tesla model Y or S.  

Price Difference

The first-ever factor to consider is the budget while buying anything, especially a large-ticket item like a car. Tesla vehicles, in particular, are on the higher-end of the spectrum when it comes to price, but comparing the Model S and the Model Y illustrates a definite difference when contrasting the base ranges of each vehicle through the higher options.

The Model S belongs to a mid-size range and can differ in price anywhere from $69,420 to $149,000 depending on which of the five models you choose:

  • 2021 Model S Plaid+ – $69,420
  • 2021 Model Long Range – $84,990
  • 2021 Model S Performance – $91,990
  • 2021 Model S Plaid – $129,990
  • 2021 Model S Plaid+ – $149,990

The Model Y belongs to the mini size range starting at the cost of $39,990 for the standard range. Two other options are available, the Long Range for $53,990 and the Performance Model Y that starts at $60,990. Tesla is also preparing to offer a mini(er) version of model Y at the price of $40,200. Model Y clearly wins in terms of budget.

It distinctly slashes Model S’s price to half. These are just the basic price estimates for both models. The price may spike up if you intend to go for additional features such as a six or seven-seat interior, turbine wheels, and FSD capabilities.

The Plaid Model S with all the special features can go up to the estimate of $146,90, whereas the fully equipped Model Y is estimated at $75,000. Still approximately half of the Model S price.

Shape, Design, and Interior

Tesla regularly modifies the ranges in terms of shapes and specifications for an unmatched driving experience. Model Y is a new and more exemplary Model, although being smaller in size. The Performance and Long Range AWD versions of the Model Y have minor differences in specs when it comes to design and the interior.

Model Y has small and long-range models that both have an all-wheel-drive dual motor configuration. With this, two independent electric motors have the ability to control the torque of the wheels digitally. This gives the driver not only improved handling but also better control in tough weather conditions and offroading.  Other minor changes are:

  • Silver details on the steering wheel
  • Storage device with Tesla logo
  • USB port in the glove box

Model S is still a better choice when it comes to design. It has long-range and Plaid versions priced at $81,190 and $119,990, respectively. It is bigger and more accommodative than Model Y in every aspect. Model S also has an all-wheel-drive dual motor.

Model Y has up to 5 seating in terms of interior for the Performance version and a 7-seater Long Range AWD, including the cargo space. It has a 15-inch touchscreen display, expansive glass roof, and reviving sound system. The seating position is elevated while the dash is low so that you can see the road ahead of you.

Model S still rules out all other SUVs in terms of interior and design. It comes with seating up to 7, including the cargo space. It has a 17 inches cinematic display screen, a modern steering wheel, spacious cabins, and a noise-canceling audio system.

Passenger Space

Model Y offers up to 5 seater space and can be upgraded to 7 seaters with an added price of $3000. Model S also comes with a 5 seater space and can be upgraded to 6 seaters (rare captain chairs) for an added price of $6500 or 7 seaters with an added price of $3,500.

The price for Model S is higher than of Model Y, but with the higher price, you are also getting a lot more as well. The Model S offers more cabin space and headroom than model Y. It provides extra headroom of 0.7 inches and 4.3 inches of shoulder room.

However, the Model Y offers more legroom than Model S. The front row legroom is bigger by 0.6 inches, and the second-row legroom is more extensive by 2.1 inches than Model S.


Considering the overall size and dimensions, the performance of both models is splendid. However, as the Model S is a larger vehicle with more horsepower, it overpowers the performance of Model Y as well. 

The long-range version of Model S has 670 horsepower and can produce a maximum speed of 155mph. It can reach the speed from 0-60 mph within 3.8 seconds. The Plaid version of Model S has a horsepower of 1020 hp and can go up to 163mph. It can speed up to 60mph within 2.5 seconds.

Tesla Model Y is not much laid back than Model S, considering the major price difference. It can perform at the maximum speed of 135mph and go up to 60mph from 0mph within 4.8 seconds, which is not a big difference when compared to Model S.

The towing capacity of Model S is 5,000 lbs. However, the range can drop by 20 miles after towing. The towing capacity of Model Y is comparatively lower than Model S. It can tow the weight up to 3,500 lbs.

Cargo Storage

Total cargo space for Tesla Model S is 77.3 and 87.8 cubic feet. The sizes depend upon the seating configuration. There is a 6.6-foot frunk space and 12.6 cubes subfloor trunk. When the second row is folded, Model S has 70.7 to 81.2 cubic feet of cargo storage.

  • The Model Y has 68.0 cubic feet of cargo space, including the frunk and sub-floor trunk
  • The size of cargo space in Model Y is significantly less compared to the Model S

Additionally, the falcon wing doors in Model S enable to quickly load up the cargo, whereas the conventional style doors in Model Y do not have this plus point.  But it allows the addition of a roof rack to accommodate more oversized items.

Clearly, Model S beats Model Y in terms of cargo space. But getting 68.0 cubic feet of cargo space at approximately half the price of Model S is not at all a bad deal.

Battery and Power

Tesla Model S car battery has a capacity of 100kWh. The Plaid version can cover about 396 miles of distance with a fully charged battery (EPA Est). The Plaid has Tri-Motor All-Wheel Drive and top speed on its battery of 1,020 horsepower at its peak.

The Long Range Model S is even more impressive when it comes to longevity of the battery. This model uses its Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive to go an estimated 405 miles on a single charge. It is less powerful than the Plaid, with 670 peak horsepower, but what it lacks in power, it makes up for a longer range for road trips without needing a charge.

In comparison, the Model Y long-range version battery has a capacity of 75kWh. Model S can use up to 95kWh of the capacity, and Model Y can use 72.5kWh. It can go up to 316 miles on a fully charged battery. (EPA Est). The Model Y is fully electric, so you can charge the battery overnight and wake up with a fully-charged battery in the morning.

Model S also takes a slight lead from Tesla Model Y with its heavy battery that gives more mile coverage. But if judged critically, the difference is not that significant. The Model Y claims to last as long as 326 miles on a single charge. For the price Model Y comes in, it provides comparatively better specifications than Model S.

Additional Features of Model S and Model Y

While both models have differences in performance, dimensions, and spacing, they do have several similarities, such as heated front seats, noise-canceling audio systems, heated side mirrors, auto-dimming, FSD, and custom driver profiles. Both the Model S and the Model Y are impressive when it comes to features that give luxury driving.

Both the Models also have heated back seats too, something that is still uncommon in most new vehicles on the market today. Model S comes with a heated third row, too, whereas Model Y hasn’t been announced to have a heated third row yet. Each Model comes in similar color choices and wheels choice.

Both models come with Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assistance technology and an array of cameras for self-driving capabilities. Not only can the vehicles sense the cars around them, but they can also read lane paint to make lane changes, drive themselves off the highway, even park themselves and find you in a parking lot through their Summon technology.

Other additional features include automatic emergency braking technology, acceleration reduction if the cars sense obstacles, blind-spot monitoring, and warnings for front and side collisions. Although this technology came under fire in its early stages, Tesla continues to make improvements, so their vehicles move closer to self-driving abilities.

Both Vehicles Have Autopilot Driver-Assist Technology

Tesla’s Autopilot is driver-assist technology that can help your Model S or Y steer, accelerate, and brake within its driving mode. This technology can help you avoid accidents and alleviate the stresses of driving day or night. Some features even monitor your tiredness and fatigue to make sure you are not tired behind the wheel.

The Autopilot driver’s assist technology has been criticized for some malfunctions over time, but it has gone through numerous upgrades since the first version and is now selling its Autopilot Hardware 3.0 in every vehicle manufactured after March 2019. Therefore, any Model S or Y manufactured after that date has the latest technology:

  • Eight cameras surround the vehicle that deliver a view of 360 degrees and a range of up to 250 meters. The original Autopilot only had one single camera.
  • Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors that can identify objects and detect them at nearly twice the distance of the old system’s 16-foot range.
  • Changing from a third-party computer system to a new, in-house two bespoke unit design.
  • A new Hardware 3 onboard computer processing system that has increased more than 40 times the data from the older system.
  • A Tesla-developed neural net, which sees in every direction at the same time.
  • “Tesla Vision,” which is a Vision-processing toll that analyzes the vehicle’s environment
  • An on-board computer can read lane paint on the road so that it can sense and detect any surrounding cars

Not only do both the Model S and the Model Y come with the latest and greatest when it comes to Autopilot driver-assist technology. There are more than 25,000 Superchargers worldwide that allow you to recharge hundreds of miles of range in one hour. This will help the vehicle’s already impressive range when taking a road trip with an electric car.

Minor Differences in the Model S and Model Y

Apart from the major functioning and shape differences, both the cars have some minor differences too. For example, although they both feature in-car technology for comfort and entertainment, the Model S has 17 inches of screen display, whereas Model Y has 15 inches of screen display. Model S also comes with a smart touch screen at the rear.

The latest refresh of Model S has been inspired by Model Y’s glass roof. The falcon wings door is still a major difference and enticing difference between both the cars. Model Y has conventional style doors, which gives an edge to Model S in terms of style and design.

Model S comes with a heated steering wheel, and the design is just like a modern airliner yolk. The car also has a HEPA air filter. Model Y does not have heated steering or a HEPA filter for the cabin. However, considering the advancements Tesla is coming up with, we might be able to see these features in Tesla Model Y’s new refresh.

The Model S features two screens.

  • The first screen is right where your speedometer would traditionally go in most cars, and that screen shows your speed, autopilot visualizations, general energy usage, and additional mapping info, as well as other info that you can choose from.
  • The second screen is on the left-hand side of the driver’s seat. This is a touch-screen you can use to check the overall status of the vehicle.

Model Y features just one screen and no screen directly in front of you. The screen is just to the right side of the wheel. It is pretty much the same speedometer distance away for your eyes. Still, to the average consumer, a second screen is going to be preferred because pretty much every car in the history of cars has had a speedometer directly in front of the eyes.


Now that you know every feature of both the Tesla Models, you can decide on a Tesla that will meet your needs and specifications. Both vehicles offer luxury driving on a battery that makes electric vehicles now possible for longer road trips from city to city. However, they differ in price depending on your budget versus what specs you need.

In terms of performance, storage, and other features, Tesla Model S is the clear winner here. However, the Tesla Model Y is no lesser a vehicle and is a great choice if you want a more affordable Tesla vehicle with similar features and specifications.

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Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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