Electric Cars
Photo of the Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y vs Tesla Model 3: What's the difference? Updated for 2021

Here is how the company's latest car compares to its best-seller

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The Model Y is a compact electric SUV that was revealed by Tesla back in 2019. Based on the same platform as the best-selling Model 3, the Model Y is taller than its sibling but smaller than Tesla's other SUV, the Model X.

Tesla boss Elon Musk said when the Model Y was announced that he expects is to be the company's best-selling car. Although only available in the US for now, the Model Y is due to land in Europe and other markers soon, and a new, cheapest-yet version was added to the range in January 2021. This article has since been updated accordingly.

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The Tesla Model 3 (left) and new Model Y (right)Tesla

Here's how the two latest Tesla cars shape up:

Tesla Model Y vs Model 3: Price

The Model 3 starts at $37,990 for the entry-level Standard Range Plus version. Above this, Tesla offers the $46,990 Long Range and the $54,990 Performance. Only the Standard Range Plus has a single motor and is rear-wheel-drive; the Long Range and Performance both have dual motors giving them all-wheel-drive.

The Model 3 is priced from $35,000Tesla

All of these prices are the cash value before discounts and incentives. The prices also ignore any potential cost savings when the price of electricity is compared to gasoline or diesel. Tesla chooses to promote the post-cost-saving figures on its website, which regulators have previously branded as misleading. As of January 2020, residents in California can save $1,500 on the purchase price, thanks to the state's Clean Fuel Reward.

Now for the Model Y, which was launched in 2019 and as of January 2020 starts at $41,990 with the new, single-motor, rear-wheel-drive, Standard Range.

Above this, Tesla offers two dual-motor, all-wheel-drive versions of the Model Y. These are called the Long Range, which starts at $49,990, and the Performance, which starts at $59,990.

These prices do not include any optional extras, such as Autopilot, premium paint colors (like metallic blue and red), or the Model Y's seven-seat option, which launched in January 2020 and adds two more seats for $3,000.

Tesla Model Y vs Model 3: Range

The Model Y is built on the same platform as the Model 3, but is tallerTesla

Tesla quotes its range stats in the US using an estimate linked to the EPA test cycle. Other test cycles are used in different countries, and it is always worth bearing in mind that your range will vary depending on your driving style, the route you drive, your use of the climate system and heated seats, and the ambient temperature, with cold weather reducing range.

For the entry-level Model 3 Standard Range Plus, Tesla quotes an estimated range of 263 miles. The Long Range increases this to an estimated 353 miles, while the faster and more powerful Performance model manages 315 miles on a charge.

The Model 3 is Tesla's most popular car to dateTesla

It's a similar story with the Model Y. The Standard Range manages 244 miles, while the Long Range has an estimated range of 326 miles and the faster Performance car has an estimated range of 303 miles.

Tesla Model Y vs Model 3: Performance

Elon Musk claims the Model Y could out-sell the Model 3, S and X combinedTesla

The top speed of the Model 3 is 140 mph for the Standard Range Plus, 145 mph for the Long Range, then 145 mph for the Dual Motor Long Range, and 162 mph for the range-topping Performance variant.

The numbers are similar with the Model Y, which starts at 135 mph for the Standard Range and Long Range, then jumps to 155 mph for the Performance variant.

Finally, the 0-60 mph times – something Tesla is always particularly proud of – are similar on the two cars, with the smaller and lighter Model 3 accelerating slightly more quickly.

The Tesla Model 3Tesla

The Model 3 starts at 5.3s for the Standard Range Plus. This drops to 4.2s for the Long Range, and the supercar-bating Model 3 Performance can hit 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds.

The same 0-60 mph acceleration sprint is completed by the heavier Model Y in 5.3s for the Standard Range. This then falls to 4.8s for the Long Range, and 3.5s for the Performance.

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