Tesla Model Y: Top Alternatives for 2021/2022
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John’s focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of an academic team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of the battery thermal control designer. After earning his engineering degree, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University. For 20 years, he applied his engineering and sales talents in the worlds of semiconductor manufacturing, biopharmaceutical production, and automotive electronics supply chain. Always a writer, John has published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to online publications such as Car Talk, John’s work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers, and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites.
The Model Y crossover shares a lot of what makes the Tesla Model 3 a great sedan, and buyers have rewarded Tesla with a strong demand for this vehicle.
The Model Y offers incredible performance, ample space for five, and optional room for seven. In addition to a range of more than 300 miles between charges, the Model Y also enjoys access to the best charging network on the planet.
It’s no surprise that so many automakers have benchmarked the Model Y to create their own take on this winning formula.
Table of Contents
- Tesla Model Y Weaknesses
- Tesla Model Y vs. Competitors
- 1. Ford Mustang Mach-E Battery Electric Vehicle
- 2. Volkswagen ID.4 Battery Electric Vehicle
- 3. Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Vehicle
- 4. Jaguar I-PACE Battery Electric Vehicle
- Car Research & Comparisons
- Frequently Asked Questions
Tesla Model Y Weaknesses
The Takeaway: The Tesla Model Y is an imperfect execution of a perfect idea.
As great as the Model Y is, there are some reasons why shoppers are turning to competitive models. The Model Y earns Consumer Reports lowest possible reliability score of ⅕ for both 2020 and 2021, and the publication went so far as to name the Model Y one of the worst vehicles for quality overall.
In addition to the model’s low-quality rating, the Model Y is relatively pricey.
Finally, Tesla’s quirky interior without Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the lack of some other common features give many consumers all the reasons they need to look for alternatives.
Tesla Model Y vs. Competitors
|Model||Approximate Consumer Cost Range||EPA Estimated Range|
|Total Horsepower Rating|
|Tesla Model Y|
|Ford Mustang Mach-E|
|Toyota RAV4 Prime|
* RAV4 Prime’s range is 42 miles all-electric, 600 miles combined electric and hybrid.
It’s clear that Ford’s Mustang Mach-E pays homage to the Model Y. The two are nearly identical in size, and their specifications could not be more alike. However, when we test drove the two back to back, we found that the Mustang Mach-E actually has a more desirable personality.
Like many other reviewers, we found the suspension settings of the Mustang Mach-E to be superior to the harsh ride offered by the Model Y. The Ford also is the hands-down winner inside, where the Mach-E sets a high bar in this segment for comfort, convenience, and infotainment excellence.
While both vehicles use a large infotainment screen for many functions, Ford isn’t a slave to the “one screen one way” mandate. Ford cleverly added a driver information display and turned the main screen on its head. It all just works better. And you can pair your phone using the full functionality offered by Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Ford is even bringing its own version of driver-assist technology to market. Notably, not as a “beta test.”
The Takeway: If you like the idea of a battery-electric crossover but are not thrilled with Tesla’s quirkiness, Ford has the perfect answer.
Current Ford Mustang Mach-E Deals & Incentives
|Year||Make||Model||Cash Incentives (up to)||Best Avail. APR||Lease Offers||Expiration|
2. Volkswagen ID.4 Battery Electric Vehicle
Maybe a zero to sixty time of 3.5 seconds is not a top priority for you. Perhaps you’d like a crossover about the size of the Model Y that costs about 50% less. If so, the new Volkswagen ID.4 may be the right model for you.
VW even has its own DC fast-charging network and offers quite a bit of that charging for free to ID.4 owners. The people’s car brand is targeting families and commuters with its ID.4 crossover. After incentives, the cost is dramatically less than a Model Y, and fans of the VW brand were hip to Spartan interiors long before Elon Musk was hired by Tesla.
Fans of the new ID.4 tend to like its efficiency and tend to be brand loyal to Volkswagen. They are looking for a green crossover that isn’t a budget-buster.
The Takeaway: Volkswagen didn’t try to out-Tesla the Model Y. Rather, it came up with its own version of a vehicle about the same size that may appeal to more consumers, particularly those who have a more limited budget.
Current Volkswagen ID.4 Deals & Incentives
|Year||Make||Model||Cash Incentives (up to)||Best Avail. APR||Lease Offers||Expiration|
|2021||Volkswagen||ID.4||$379/month for 36 months, $3,573 due at signing||10/4/2021|
You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Volkwagen deals.
Who says a green vehicle has to be battery-only? Not Toyota, that’s for certain. The RAV4 Prime is the solution for many of the quirks and omissions of the Model Y. For example, no Tesla Model Y comes with a spare tire, but every Toyota RAV4 Prime does.
The RAV4 Prime plugs in and can travel for up to 42 miles before reverting to a hybrid. We validated that range in our own testing and found that the RAV4 Prime exceeded its 38 MPG rating when operating as a hybrid. Overall, the EPA rates the RAV4 Prime at 94 MPGe, not far off the efficiency of some battery-only vehicles.
Every RAV4 Prime is all-wheel drive, and this crossover has no problem towing your snowmobile trailer for 400 miles in frigid weather without stopping for energy. Those who really want a utility vehicle need to look no further.
The Takeaway: Toyota’s RAV4 Prime breaks the rules. It is an EV in your daily commute, but can also serve as a long-distance green utility vehicle without any charging hassles. Add in Toyota’s two years of included maintenance and a legacy of durability, and the folks at Toyota have a formula many shoppers will find to be a great value.
Current Toyota RAV4 Prime Deals & Incentives
4. Jaguar I-PACE Battery Electric Vehicle
Before Tesla built its first Model Y Jaguar was selling a similarly-sized performance crossover called the I-PACE. We’ve tested the I-PACE many times. It’s not just our favorite electric Jaguar, but our favorite Jaguar period.
Jaguar’s I-PACE is the flip side to the VW ID.4 coin. This is a model focused on performance and not built to a price point but instead to a high standard.
The I-PACE will appeal to shoppers who value an exquisite interior, sexy styling, and who want to drive a green performance vehicle they won’t see in front of every Whole Foods. The I-PACE handles like a Jaguar, accelerates like a Mustang Mach-E GT, and was the original template for this segment.
With five years of included maintenance and a five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, it is hard to argue that Jaguar doesn’t have the edge in ownership experience among manufacturers of electric crossovers.
The Takeaway: Those who are looking for a performance electric crossover with luxury beyond anything offered by Tesla know where to find it.
Current Jaguar I-PACE Deals & Incentives
You may qualify for deals and incentives, check out this month's Jaguar deals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What vehicle is most closely matched to the Tesla Model Y?
The Ford Mustang Mach-E matches the Tesla Model Y in nearly every way. Both are similar in size, similar in performance, and serve the same buying segment.
What BEVs are similar to the Tesla Model Y but less expensive?
The Volkswagen ID.4 and Toyota RAV4 Prime offer shoppers a lower-cost alternative to the pricey Tesla Model Y.
Can you negotiate the price of a Tesla Model Y?
With the industry experiencing a vehicle shortage in late 2021, it is unlikely any manufacturer will discount any popular model. Tesla generally does not discount, though end-of-quarter discounts on in-stock loaners and demo units are not uncommon during normal economic situations.
Does the Tesla Model Y’s price include free supercharging?
No, Tesla’s free supercharging for life ended many years ago. Tesla does still offer temporary promotions, including free supercharging, but buyers of new Tesla vehicles do not enjoy included supercharging.