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Tesla’s Model Y might be the EV maker’s newest SUV, but the Model X came first. Drivers appreciated the same great performance as the Model S but with the extra space of an SUV. However, critics have knocked the Model X  in recent years for its interior problems and practically useless third row.

The Tesla Model Y debuted shortly after and has already exceeded the Model X’s popularity. In fact, the Model Y sold 40,001 units in only six months during 2020, GoodCarBadCar shows. So, what makes the Model Y so popular with consumers?

Why drivers love the Tesla Model Y

The Model Y is also based on an existing Tesla sedan, the best-selling Model 3. Drivers can choose between the Long Range or Performance models, which boast over 300 miles of range. According to Car and Driver, the Model Y Performance has a searing 0-to-60-mph time of 3.6 seconds.

The Performance model also comes with a track-specialized driving mode, a lowered suspension, and bigger wheels. The Model Y Long Range is still quite fast by SUV standards, reaching 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Though the Model Y is easy to maneuver, C/D says it lacks athleticism and doesn’t have the smoothest ride quality.

It’s no secret that Tesla is known for using ill-fitting interior components and peeling exterior finishes. However, to the untrained eye, the Model Y’s interior doesn’t look so bad. It has a minimalist feel that many Tesla fans enjoy, and the seats are undeniably comfortable. It can seat up to seven people, though the optional third row is reportedly tight.

The Model Y also boasts all the latest tech, controlled through an impressive 15-inch touchscreen. Although you can’t pair your smartphone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you can easily use popular movie and music streaming apps. However, the touchscreen can be distracting to adjust basic functions like climate settings while driving.

Is the Tesla Model X that bad?

The Tesla Model X sold only 26,100 units in 2020, about 65 percent less than the Model Y. However, the former is a little more capable than the latter when it comes to range. The Model X Long Range can travel 360 miles on a full charge, and its powertrain makes an impressive 670 hp.

Tesla boasts that the Model X Plaid is the quickest SUV you can buy, reaching 60 mph in a blistering 2.5 seconds. Its range is slightly shorter, but its overall horsepower is a whopping 1,020 hp. The standard air suspension makes the Model X’s ride more comfortable than the Model Y.

But like the Model Y, the Model X also suffers from interior build issues. You can still easily find misaligned panels, though some buyers might be too impressed by the falcon-wing doors to notice. The redesigned steering wheel and infotainment screen also freshen up the Model X’s cabin. 

The Model X can also be optioned with a third row, which is slightly bigger than the Model Y’s. The technology offerings are basically the same as the ones in the Model Y, including updated safety features.

Which electric crossover is better?

Though some think the Tesla Model X is superior from a performance standpoint, price is another important factor to consider. The Model X Long Range starts at $84,690. That’s $17,000 more than the Model Y Long Range.

For now, electric SUVs are more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts. However, it’s hard to justify the Model X’s high price tag with such an ill-fitting interior. The Model Y is both functional and relatively affordable, which undoubtedly cements its higher popularity.


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