2021 Tesla Model Y Review: Performance, Value and Specs

Categories: Reviews


After experiencing the sight and test-driving, I conclude that the 2021 Tesla Model Y is a fully electric SUV with a spacious, modern, and appealing design. It is built on the same platform as the Model 3 but boasts a higher height and a more spacious cabin that can accommodate up to seven passengers.

The 2021 Model Y delivers strong performance with two integrated electric motors. The Long Range version can travel up to 326 miles on a single charge, while the Performance version covers an estimated range of 303 miles, a reduction of 23 miles. Additionally, the Model Y features a minimalist interior design, advanced technology, and ample cargo space. However, a drawback of the Model Y is that the integration with mobile phones is not quite optimal.

In summary, I perceive the 2021 Tesla Model Y as an excellent choice for those seeking an electric SUV with spacious interiors, powerful performance, and an impressive range.


See also 2020 Tesla Model Y Review: Performance, Comfort And Specs

What's new with the 2021 Model Y?

The 2021 Tesla Model Y boasts several notable updates. One of the most significant changes is the introduction of an optional third-row seat. This allows the vehicle to accommodate up to seven passengers, enhancing its flexibility and utility. Additionally, the 2021 Model Y no longer includes the budget-friendly Standard Range version. Instead, the Long Range and Performance models become more appealing with ranges of up to 326 miles and 303 miles per charge, respectively. However, there aren't many design or technology changes for the Model Y in 2021. Overall, the Tesla Model Y 2021 continues to be a top choice in the electric SUV segment, offering spacious interiors, powerful performance, and impressive range.


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2021 Tesla Model Y Pricing

  • 2021 Tesla Model Y Standard Range: 39,990
  • 2021 Tesla Model Y Long Range: $57,990
  • 2021 Tesla Model Y Performance: $62,990

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2021 Tesla Model Y Exterior

My initial impression upon seeing the 2021 Tesla Model Y's exterior is that it is both aesthetically pleasing and modern. The car has an overall size of 187 inches in length, 75.6 inches in width (excluding mirrors), and 63.9 inches in height. The wheelbase measures 113.8 inches. The front and rear track widths are 64.8 inches and 64.2 inches, respectively. The ground clearance is 6.6 inches.

One standout feature of the Model Y's exterior that caught my attention is the panoramic glass roof, creating a sense of openness and spaciousness. The soundproof glass layer contributes to a quiet ride while providing protection from glare, heat, and UV rays.


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Interior, Features, and Cargo Space

As I opened the car door and stepped into the cabin of the 2021 Tesla Model Y, I immediately sensed the minimalist design and premium materials. However, I also had some critiques about the poor assembly quality, which somewhat diminished the overall impression. The first two rows of seats are spacious and comfortable, and the cargo space is commendable for its segment. The optional third-row seats are a bit cramped. The user-friendly touchscreen serves as the central hub for most tech functions, although it might make simple tasks more challenging with the abundance of physical controls.


Concerning cargo space, the Tesla Model Y features a small front trunk and a larger rear cargo area, providing a total of 68 cubic feet of space when all rear seats are folded. This figure is above average among hybrid and electric SUVs in the luxury category. The rear cargo area can accommodate large boxes when the rear seats are folded. Additionally, there is extra storage space for small items under the cargo floor. Furthermore, the Model Y boasts a panoramic glass roof, creating a sense of openness and spaciousness. The soundproof glass contributes to a quiet ride while also protecting against glare, heat, and UV rays.


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Entertainment and Connectivity Technology

All Tesla vehicles come with standard connectivity, providing access to features that require data usage, including music streaming, online media, live traffic visuals, and more. With Standard Connectivity, you can access most connectivity features via Wi-Fi, alongside basic maps and navigation, as well as music playback through Bluetooth. Premium Connectivity offers the ability to access all connectivity features via cellular network, beyond Wi-Fi, to deliver the most immersive and engaging in-car experience. The Model Y supports up to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously (such as two controllers or a phone and a controller). You can also connect compatible USB game controllers to the front USB ports in the vehicle's center console. However, some high-data-usage features of the vehicle require at least Standard Connectivity, including maps, navigation, and voice commands. Access to features using mobile data and third-party licenses may vary.


Electric Motors, Power, and Efficiency

After experiencing a test drive, I learned that the 2021 Tesla Model Y utilizes two independent electric motors, electronically controlling torque distribution to both the front and rear wheels. This provides better control, enhances traction, and improves stability.

Specifically, the first electric motor has a power output of 235 kW at 5075 rpm, with a torque of 420 Nm at 325 - 4800 rpm. The second electric motor has a power output of 158 kW at 8275 rpm, with a torque of 163 Nm at 125 - 6375 rpm.

With this power, the Model Y can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds in the Long Range version. The Performance version is even faster, taking only 3.6 seconds to reach 60 mph. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 155.3 mph or 250.0 km/h.

However, despite the impressive acceleration capability of the Model Y, it does not provide the same level of satisfaction as driving the Model 3. The SUV body creates a higher center of gravity, diminishing the sharpness of the Model 3's handling, and driving the Y is also more challenging when navigating uneven roads.


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Range, Charging, and Battery Life

The 2021 Tesla Model Y boasts an impressive range. After test driving various versions of the car, we gathered some figures. If you opt for the Performance Model Y, this vehicle will cover an average of 303 miles on a single full charge. If you are considering the Long-Range Model Y, you can expect an even longer-lasting battery, reaching 330 miles on the same full charge.

In terms of charging, with its 74 kWh battery, a Tesla Model Y will cost approximately $12.35 on average to charge from 0-100% in the United States. Regarding cost per mile, the Model Y Long Range will require about $0.038 per mile or $3.79 for every 100 miles of range.

As for battery life, Tesla warranties the battery for eight years or 120,000 miles, ensuring it retains at least 70% of its original capacity during that period. However, it's important to note that actual performance may vary depending on driving conditions and proper vehicle maintenance


Safety Features, Driver Assistance

The 2021 Tesla Model Y is equipped with advanced safety features that support the driver. Here are some standout features that I experienced during a test drive:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection: This feature helps prevent collisions with pedestrians by automatically applying the brakes when a threat is detected.
  • Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keeping Assist: This feature alerts the driver when the vehicle starts to depart from its lane and can automatically adjust to keep the car within the lane.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Autosteer: This feature helps the driver maintain a safe speed and distance from the vehicle in front while offering semi-automated driving capabilities.
  • Side Collision Warning: This feature warns the driver of obstacles or vehicles approaching the Tesla from the side.
  • Blind Spot Monitoring: This feature alerts the driver to obstacles or vehicles in their blind spot when attempting to change lanes.
  • Lane Departure Avoidance: This feature monitors lane markings and helps keep the Tesla within its lane.

Additionally, the Tesla Model Y is equipped with safety airbags for both the driver and passengers, including front airbags, side airbags, overhead airbags, and knee airbags. The vehicle's security system includes a mechanism to prevent engine start-up without the use of the manufacturer's original key.


2021 Tesla Model Y Specification

Specification Detail
Model Year 2021
Engine Options one/dual electric motors
Horsepower 384 - 450 hp
Range 244 - 326 miles on a single charge
Charging Time 8h (240v), 15m (Supercharger)
Torque 376 - 471 lb-ft
Transmission Options 1-speed direct drive
Drivetrain Rear wheel drive
Top Speed 217 - 250 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 3.5s - 5.3s
Fuel Efficiency 127/114 MPG
Wheelbase 113.8 inches
Overall Length 187.0 inches
Overall Width 83.8 inches
Overall Height 63.9 inches
Ground Clearance 6.6 inches
Seating Capacity 5/7 seats
Infotainment Screen Size 15 inches


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(Source: Tesla)

2021 Tesla Model Y Video


Jame Daniel