2021 Tesla Model Y Review: Expected Changes, Release Date, Prices, Range, Performance, and Rivals

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John Bedrow 

Automotive Journalist

July 23, 2020  at 8:20 AM

Electro-mobility is set to be the future of the automotive industry but it is still a work in progress. Electric SUVs were not considered to be significant or mainstream until Tesla launched the Model X. This was a remarkable move by Tesla in the SUV segment which received a lot of appreciation and commendations. Later, Tesla expanded its SUV lineup by launching the crossover version of its most popular car in the form of Model Y in 2020, which is based on the Model 3’s platform and offered at a lower price point. The 2021 Tesla Model Y is expected to be offered at a price starting from $53,000.

After being all-new for 2020, the 2021 Tesla Model Y carries over into the new model year with only incremental changes expected. It is Tesla’s first compact SUV and has a big job: appealing to luxury SUV buyers who want an EV to replace a gas-powered alternative from brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. The current Model Y is available in two trim levels and boasts of a range of 316 miles. 

Tesla has been rolling frequent updates since the launch of the Model Y in the market. The Tesla Model Y comes packed with some latest driving aids that promise the safest possible driving. You can fit up to seven people in a Model Y, making it the smallest three-row all-electric SUV. Let’s find out when and what to expect from the 2021 Tesla Model Y when it arrives.

What’s New in the 2021 Tesla Model Y?

  • No major changes in the 2021 model

What’s the expected price and release date of the 2021 Tesla Model Y?

The Model Y electric SUV made its debut in 2020, and was priced at $48,000. One thing common among Tesla cars is that the EV manufacturer updates their cars throughout the year. So, you need not have to wait long to receive an update. It is expected that the 2021 Tesla Model Y will be available by January 2021. Since there won’t be many changes in the new model, it is expected to carry an estimated price tag of $53,000. 

What sort of performance to expect from the 2021 Tesla Model Y?

The current Model Y is available in two trims. We expect the 2021 Tesla Model Y to retain the same two trims, which are Long Range and Performance. In addition to these two trims, a Standard Range trim is expected to be offered. The 2021 Tesla Model Y is expected to be powered by the same dual electric motors. The front motor is an AC induction, liquid-cooled unit, while at the rear, there is an AC permanent magnet synchronous motor. 

The 2021 Model Y is expected to have an all-wheel and rear-wheel drivetrain, but Tesla hasn’t made any official announcements about it yet. Digital control of torque spread to the front/rear wheels improves traction and handling. A single-speed fixed-gear transmission is used in all the trims. The base trim produces 384 HP, with the Performance trim offering a brawnier 480 horses, endowing it with performance to challenge some truly exotic SUVs. 

Models

2021 Tesla Model Y (Expected) 

2020 Jaguar I-Pace

Base MSRP

$53,000

$69,850

Engine

Dual electric motors

Dual electric motors

Transmission

1-speed direct drive

1-speed epicyclic

Horsepower

346 HP

395 HP

Torque

389 HP

516 HP

0-60 MPH (Sec)

3.5

4.0

Quarter Mile (Sec)

11.2

12.6

*2020 data used for reference

The Jaguar I-Pace is priced higher than the Tesla Model Y. Despite its price, the Jaguar I-Pace fails to keep up with the Tesla Model Y in all aspects. It might have higher performance figures than the base variant of the Tesla Model Y, but the performance variant beats it by a large margin. 

What will be the range of the 2021 Tesla Model Y?

The 2020 Model Y Performance trim has an MPGE rating of 129/112/121 city/highway/combined according to the EPA. The 2021 Model Y is expected to have similar figures. Tesla claims that the Long Range trim has a range of 280 miles. 

Charging is done using one of Tesla’s Superchargers, where a 15-minute charge can provide a range of 158 miles. Tesla’s new V3 Superchargers provide a superior charging rate of 250 kW, a remarkable improvement over the V2 Supercharger’s 150 kW maximum charging rate. The Tesla Model Y is the most efficient in the compact all-electric SUV segment. 

Model

2021 Tesla Model Y (Expected) 

Jaguar I-Pace

MPG (city)

N/A

80

MPG (highway)

N/A

72

MPG (combined)

N/A

76

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

N/A

N/A

Range (city/ highway/ combined) (miles)

280

234

*2020 data used for reference

The base trim of the Tesla Model Y has a range of 280 miles, which is remarkably higher than its closest competitor, Jaguar I-Pace. The Jaguar I-Pace has a range of 234 miles, which is lower than both the Long Range and Performance trim of the Tesla Model Y. And the Model Y’s charging speed is way faster than that of the I-Pace. Also, the cost per mile on the Model Y is better than its competition.

What to expect from the 2021 Tesla Model Y’s interior?

On the inside, the current Model Y is minimalistic in every sense of the word. It may be alarming to see that the Model Y does not have many gauges, switches, or buttons. Instead, everything is controlled and displayed on a massive 15-inch central touchscreen. This designing approach not only gives a futuristic look but a highly simplistic one with clean lines and an airy feel. Both five and seven-passenger layouts are available, with the 2021 model year being the first to be able to accommodate up to seven people. 

The Model Y’s cabin environment comes in two choices: all black with light wood trim, or black and white with inlay running across the dashboard. The synthetic leather upholstery is of good quality. An all-glass roof lends an airy ambiance to the cabin but will be heavily tainted to avoid roasting occupants in Sun Belt seats. The seats are 12 way powered and equipped with heating. The dashboard is mounted lower and the seats are raised to make sure that the driver also has great visibility. The eye-line remains unobstructed and makes sure the driver can comfortably drive under all conditions.

Model

2021 Tesla Model Y (Expected) 

Jaguar I-Pace

Passenger Capacity

5 or 7

5

Front (Head-room/ Shoulder-room/ Leg-room) (in.)

41/56.4/41.8

39.9/57.6/40.9

Second (Head-room / Shoulder-room/ Leg-room) (in.)

39.4/54/40.5

38.1/54.6/35

Cargo Capacity (Cubic feet)

68.0

51.0

*2020 data used for reference

The cabin layout of the 2021 Tesla Model Y will be similar to that of the outgoing model. The seven-seater option is expected to be introduced for the 2021 Model Y and this will provide more room and space inside the cabin with increased seating capacity. The Tesla Model Y has more head-room, shoulder-room, and leg-room than the Jaguar I-Pace.  While the cargo area appears to have good space but making two adults sit in the rear seats might feel a bit painful. 

2021 Tesla Model Y: Infotainment and Connectivity

In the Tesla Model Y, almost every function is managed through the massive 15-inch slim infotainment display, which is situated in the middle of the dashboard. Everything from climate control to the speedometer is shown on this display, which is a bit unorthodox and takes some getting used to. This high tech car comes with navigation, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth, a 15 speaker audio surround system, and the ability for over the air updates. 

The Model Y also offers significant entertainment functions as seen in the Model 3, which include Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube apps as well as video games that are perfect for killing time while waiting for the battery to charge at the public charging station. There is no need to panic because the drivers are locked out of using these distractions while the vehicle is moving.

Will there be any changes to the exterior of the 2021 Tesla Model Y?

The exterior of the 2021 Tesla Model Y is expected to remain the same because the 2021 Model Y will mark only the second year of the first generation of this compact all-electric SUV, which means it will look like a slightly bloated Model 3. With its raised roofline, curvy silhouette, and petite size, the Model Y enters the competitive compact SUV segment. The design of the Model Y is quite aerodynamic and fluidic that gives the car a feel that it will just glide through.

The door handles are quite sleek and become almost unnoticeable when viewed from the front or in three-quarters view. Headlamps seem like a cheaper version of an Aston Martin and are reminiscent of the Model 3 design yet again. Both trims have LED fog lamps, power-folding side mirrors, and a tinted glass roof. The 2021 Model Y takes a less is more approach when it comes to the exterior. Simple lines, modest curves, and few standout elements keep things simple with the Model Y. 

Model

2021 Tesla Model Y (Expected) 

Jaguar I-Pace

Curb Weight (lbs.)

4416

4784

Length (in.)

187

184.3

Width (in.)

75.6

79.2

Height (in.)

63.9

61.3

Ground Clearance (in.)

6.6

N/A

Wheelbase (in.)

113.8

117.7

Track Width (in.) F/R

N/A

N/A

*2020 data used for reference

The Model Y Long Range trim has 19-inch alloy wheels and available 20-inch items. The Performance trim has 19-inch alloy wheels which can be upgraded to 21 inches as part of the Performance Upgrade Package.

The Tesla Model Y weighs slightly less than the Jaguar I-Pace. The Jaguar I-Pace has more width and has a bigger wheelbase than the Tesla Model Y. But the Wheelbase of the Model Y can be extended with Performance Upgrade Package and it also adds bigger, high-performance tires which make the car look more impactful. Overall, the Model Y is a unique SUV.

Will the 2021 Tesla Model Y be it?

Both the groundbreaking Tesla Model S and Model 3 have stolen sales from traditional luxury brands and garnered lots of fans. Model Y has the technology and potential to do the same. It is luxurious, simplistic, sleek and most importantly it is an EV that makes it environment friendly. The Tesla Model Y packs some of the most advanced and high-tech driver aids available in any vehicle, though some promised features such as Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability can be purchased but are not yet available to use. Model Y’s impressive range and Tesla’s reliable Supercharger access make it well worth a look.

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