If you’re debating between purchasing a Tesla Model X and a Model Y, each vehicle has plenty of options to recommend it. Whether you’re looking at Teslas for their energy efficiency or you just want a car with state-of-the-art cabin technology, there are different pros and cons associated with each model.
The Model Y is a newer, more compact version of the Model X, Tesla’s first three-row SUV model. The Model Y is a smaller, more affordable SUV than the Model X, but the Model X offers more power and range. Both models offer a variety of interior electronics, accessories, and customization options.
The better Tesla SUV for consumers depends on many factors, including their budget and seating needs. Keep reading to learn all about the differences between the Model X and the Model Y to figure out which one might be the better pick for you.
One of the first factors in buying a new car that you’re likely to look into is the costs involved, and price is one area where the Model X and the Model Y deviate. Starting at $51,190, the Model Y is less than half the price of the Model X, which starts out at $119,190. (Source: Car and Driver)
The first thing that potential consumers might notice is that both of these prices are listed as “starting at”. So what does that mean for people trying to decide between buying a Model X and a Model Y? “Starting at” means that this is the lowest possible price you can pay for each model.
There are many options for both the Model X and the Model Y that increase their starting price depending on which ones you decide to choose. That means that you can end up spending thousands or even tens of thousands more than the base price for extras.
Here are just a few of the accessories you can pick up for additional costs:
- Infotainment Package: For two thousand dollars, owners of both the Model X and Model Y can gain access to the Infotainment Package. This upgrade includes a smoother, more responsive touchscreen user interface, an onboard gaming arcade, streaming television, karaoke, and increased security camera recording capability. (Source: Tesla)
- Full Self-Driving Package: The full self-driving upgrade to the Autopilot system for both the Model X and Model Y SUVs costs ten thousand dollars on top of the base starting price. The Full Self-Driving Package comes with a wide range of features like Summon ability, Autopark, and traffic-aware cruise control.
These are just a few of the options for upgrades that will increase the starting price of the Tesla you buy whether you get the Model X or the Model Y. Turning down additional accessories for your Tesla can help you keep the cost low whichever model you ultimately choose.
As you might expect given their alphabetical order, the Model Y is a newer model than the Model X. In fact, the Model X goes back to 2014, making it one of the oldest Tesla models. The Model Y, on the other hand, wasn’t launched until 2020. (Source: Business Insider)
Do you want a tried-and-true Tesla model, or do you want the latest model to roll off the production line? There are advantages and disadvantages to each choice. Here are a few things you should consider:
- The Model X has been tested on the market. One of the advantages of driving a Tesla is that all of the Tesla models have been updated multiple times with tweaks and quality-of-life upgrades. The time the Model X has spent on the market has made it a more effective and efficient vehicle in the meantime.
- Tesla has a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. If you buy an older used Model X, you’ll have less time with your vehicle under warranty than you would if you bought a brand-new Model Y.
- You can save money by buying a used vehicle. Even though the Model X is more expensive, you can save thousands of dollars by buying a gently used model rather than a brand-new Model Y. For the same amount of money, you can get a more powerful vehicle with a longer range.
Even though the Model Y has the wow novelty factor of being one of Tesla’s newest automotive models, the Model X exhibits some of the software and mechanical benefits of being one of Tesla’s more refined designs.
The Model X is much more expensive than the Model Y, but what do you get for the extra money? The Model X is a larger vehicle with a much longer range between charges, and it also has a high-performing powertrain that outpaces the Model Y.
There is also the prestige factor in paying top dollar for a Model X. A Tesla is already a high-profile vehicle, but the Model X is one of the most luxurious models that the company produces next to the Model S.
If you’re already paying a luxury vehicle price for your SUV (which you won’t be able to avoid when you’re buying a Tesla either way) it can be argued you may as well get as much car for your money as you can. For drivers who intend to carry a bunch of passengers on a regular basis, the extra space can come in handy too.
If you’re trying to save money but you still want a Tesla SUV, buying a new Model Y is likely your best option.
Even though it’s a smaller SUV and doesn’t have the cargo space of the Model X, it still has a good enough range for daily use and it’s large enough to fit the same amount of people. For buyers on a budget who don’t need towing or a ton of space, it’s an affordable option.
The size difference between the Model X and the Model Y is a major deciding factor for many people choosing between the two. The Model X is significantly larger than the Model Y in several ways.
Below you’ll find a breakdown of the primary size differences between the Model X and the Model Y.
|Width (without mirrors)
|68 cubic feet
|87.8 cubic feet
Both the Model X and the Model Y are three-row SUVs with a seven-seat option. However, the Model X is considerably longer and has much more cargo space than the Model Y. This makes it a more suitable vehicle for trips since it provides more storage and comfort for long-distance travel.
Since both Tesla SUVs are capable of carrying the same amount of people, the amount of seating a driver needs for their passengers shouldn’t impact their decision in which model they buy. For those with larger passengers that need some room or those who need to transport goods, the Model X provides some extra space.
Many of the interior features of the Model X and the Model Y are exactly the same, which means that there isn’t much comparison here in terms of which has the better features. Here are some of the following interior features that the Model X and the Model Y have in common:
- Telescoping power-tilt steering column: The telescoping power-tilt steering column makes it easy for different drivers of the SUV to adjust the steering column to the placement that is most comfortable for them. This is a useful accessibility option for a car with drivers of multiple heights.
- Valet mode: Valet mode includes a series of life improvement functions that you can remotely access in your car from your smart device. Some of these capabilities include a speed governor, a RPM governor, and remote locking options for your trunk and glovebox. (Source: Hot Cars)
- Remote keyless entry: While remote keyless entry is standard issue on many luxury SUVs these days, this interior feature is nevertheless an efficient inclusion in both the Model X and the Model Y. A remote keyless entry is also considered safer since it leaves drivers less vulnerable while trying to get into their vehicle.
- Dual-zone air conditioning: Dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and passengers to each set their own preferences for AC/heating options including fan intensity and temperature.
- Illuminated locking glove box: An illuminated glovebox makes it easy to find your registration, insurance receipt, and any other necessary papers you need if you find yourself rummaging around in your glovebox at night.
- Day-night autodimming rear-view mirror: The day-night autodimming rear-view mirror makes it easier for drivers to see in low light conditions. This feature works automatically using light sensors on the exterior of the car.
- Smart device integration: With USB ports and charging stations included, both of these Tesla SUVs make it easy to keep all of your devices charged and at the ready no matter where you are. This is important since Tesla vehicles are very dependent on remote smart control devices for full functionality.
However, just because the Model X and the Model Y share most of their basic cabin features doesn’t mean that they’re completely equal. There are a few luxury additions included in the larger Model X that the Model Y doesn’t have, and vice versa.
These are a few interior features that the Model Y doesn’t have:
- Heated yoke steering wheel: The Model X features a unique yoke-design steering wheel that is more reminiscent of airplane controls than a conventional automotive steering wheel. The steering wheel also features force touch buttons rather than stalks for its control scheme. (Source: Electrek)
- Carbon fiber trim: Both the Model X and the Model Y feature an all-black interior, but only the Model X reinforces its interior with carbon fiber.
- Larger touchscreen: The touchscreen of the Model X is 17 inches compared to the Model Y’s 15 inches.
While the Model X and the Model Y have a few features that are different between the two of them, for the most part the interiors of these two SUV models are very similar other than the size difference.
When it comes to the entertainment side of these Tesla SUVs, most of the features included are overlapping. These include accessories such as a premium audio system, an LCD monitor in the front of the cabin, and a window grid antenna.
The main difference between the Model X and the Model Y is in the quality of its signal amplifier and its digital signal processing.
The Model X includes a premium signal amplifier as opposed to a regular amplifier, and the Model X also includes a dignal signal processor that makes the user interface and other digital interactive features of the car’s cabin more seamless and accessible.
The Model Y and the Model X share a similar build and cosmetic design, but they do feature a few differences in aesthetics. The most visible difference is the inclusion of chrome trim and handles in the Model X, while the Model Y has standard black plastic handles and trim.
Another difference between the design of the Model Y and the Model X is the falcon-wing doors in the Model X. While this iconic door design is unfortunately associated with a few engineering problems such as some faulty sensor activation, it is a futuristic and unusual look you aren’t likely to find anywhere else.
As far as color options, there is no difference between the Model X and the Model Y. Both of these SUV models come with Tesla’s standard five exterior colors (black, blue, red, white, silver) and two interior colors (black and white). (Source: Car and Driver)
The good news is that regardless of whether you go with the Model X or the Model Y, you’re going to get high-quality performance and power out of a Tesla.
The biggest difference in performance between the two models is in towing capacity. The Model X is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds with its high-powered Plaid edition, which makes it a great option for buyers who want to pull an RV or trailer behind their SUV during travel.
The Model Y can be modified with a high-strength tow bar to tow up to 3,500 pounds, but this isn’t nearly the same amount of towing capacity as the Model X. Since the average dry weight of a camper trailer is around 5,200 pounds, this means the Model Y isn’t capable of towing more than the smallest trailers behind it even with modification. (Source: Taxa Outdoors)
Below you’ll find a table breaking down the biggest differences in other aspects of how these two Tesla models differ in performance on the road.
|Dual or Tri-motor (Plaid)
(in 0-60 seconds)
|1,020 horsepower (Plaid)
One of the main reasons many people get a Tesla is the brand’s reputation for battery efficiency. The Model X and the Model Y are both designed with energy efficiency in mind. The all-electric design of both SUVs forego fossil fuels, so their carbon emissions are much more environmentally friendly than traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.
At almost a hundred miles more per charge, the upgraded Long Range Model X beats out the Model Y in battery efficiency. This is an important consideration for drivers who have longer commutes as well as drivers who don’t have access to many charging stations outside of their home station.
It’s also important to remember that Model X owners have to pay additional costs for the option of upgrading to a long range battery and motor system, so what the Model X wins in battery efficiency, it loses in affordability.
The Model X in its most upgraded version does accelerate much faster than the Model Y, but how the real question is how does this speed difference translate in traffic. On a practical level, you can expect the Model X to have more “get up and go” when it comes to pulling out into traffic or merging smoothly.
While swift acceleration might make a car feel powerful, it’s rarely necessary in the ebb and flow of everyday traffic unless you drive on a very aggressive interstate commute. The Model Y has plenty of acceleration to keep up with traffic.
The Model X is slightly faster at top speed than the Model Y, but in either case unless you’re planning to take your Tesla to a closed track, it’s a moot point. The fastest that most people will be able to legally drive their Tesla in most places is 70 miles an hour unless they live in Germany or certain select areas of the United States.
At the end of the day, the top speed of either SUV isn’t really an important deciding factor when choosing between them unless you just want the bragging rights. Most drivers will never bring their vehicle up to its top speed during the course of driving it anyway.
Safety is a major concern in any contemporary automotive design, and Tesla is no exception to the rule. This is one category where both the Model X and the Model Y get top marks. Each of these models gets a five out of five safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (Source: Tesla)
The Model X and the Model Y have been rated as equally safe by the NHTSA, but the Model X truly shines in a safety standoff. This SUV has been declared by highway safety experts to be the safest SUV ever constructed.
All of the Tesla vehicles are extremely safe compared to conventional automobiles, but the Model S is considered the safest SUV ever designed. So what about this car’s design makes it such a safe vehicle to drive? Here are a few of the design features of the Model X that contribute to its top safety ratings:
- Electrical power system: Because the Model X doesn’t have a combustion engine and doesn’t use flammable gasoline, it is a much lower fire risk in a car wreck than a conventional automobile. These electrical energy systems are also relatively inert and unlikely to explode in the event of a collision.
- Low center of gravity: Like all of Tesla’s electric cars, the Model X has a low center of gravity because of the location, weight, and size of its electrical battery system. This makes the SUV very hard to flip over in the event of a collision and gives it the lowest probability of rollover out of any other SUV model on the road.
- Precise airbag and restraint system: The Model X is outfitted with several external sensors that deploy airbags and seatbelt restraint systems throughout the cabin in the event of a collision. Safety testing concluded that Model X riders have a 93% chance of walking away from an accident without serious injury.
- Impact-resistant cabin: The cabin of the Model X is designed to absorb impacts without breaking apart or splintering inward, preventing damage to the occupants inside the vehicle. This has given the Model X the lowest probability of injury of any SUV on the market.
Safety should be a major consideration when purchasing any new vehicle, but you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have much to worry about in that department regardless of which Tesla SUV you eventually land on. Both of these models have stellar safety records that make them the safest cars on the road.
So you’ve read about some of the major differences between the Model X and Model Y in every category. How do you choose between the two? Even when you see the specs of the two vehicles side-by-side, it can still be a tough choice.
Here are some tips for how to choose between a Model X and a Model Y when you’re picking your next Tesla SUV:
- Look at your budget. The Model X is significantly more expensive than the Model Y, so if you’re on a strict budget the Model Y is the better buy. Even if you have a larger budget, going with the Model Y allows you extra money to purchase useful upgrades such as the Full Self-Driving suite.
- Look at your lifestyle. If you don’t plan on towing large items on the interstate and you don’t have a horse trailer or a boat, chances are you aren’t going to need the towing capacity available in a Model X. If you’re outdoorsy and spend a lot of time hauling things, this extra towing capacity might be just what you need.
- Look at your space requirements. Even though the Model X and the Model Y both have the capacity to carry seven people, the extra space in the cab of the Model X might be more comfortable for larger passengers.
- Look at your driving habits. The Model X boasts impressive acceleration and range, but these attributes aren’t very useful if you’re mostly going to be driving your Tesla on a short daily commute back and forth from home. In this case, you’re paying a lot of extra money for a lot of extra car you don’t need.
- Look at your charging options. You’ll probably need a home charge to keep your Tesla SUV charged up, but the availability of destination chargers and supercharging stations along your commute can have a big influence on how much battery efficiency you need out of your car.
At the end of the day, the best Tesla SUV for you is the one that you feel most comfortable driving. A good way to decide between the two is to schedule a test drive of both models and go through a tour of their features with a Tesla sales assistant. Getting behind the wheel can give you an idea which one is the better fit.
Both the Model X and the Model Y have tons of great features to offer prospective buyers, so it really does come down to what you need out of your SUV with regards to space, range, and power.
The Model X offers more of all three, but it also comes with a much higher price tag to match. Either choice offers unmatched power and technology compared to other electric SUVs on the market.