Tesla Model Y Menu Gains Third Row, Loses Some Range and Price01/08/2021
This week we saw the debut of not one but two new three-row models, with Tesla (very) quietly adding a third-row option for the Model Y. A slightly taller vehicle than the Model 3, the Model Y is the latest Tesla model to join the lineup having been designed from the start to be based heavily on the Model 3.
The third row adds two extra forward-facing seats to the trunk, unlike the Model S that had a rear-facing bench seat, and they’re a pricey two seats at an extra $3,000. That’s right: Each extra seat works out to $1,500, but we can’t really admire the two extra seats because Tesla has not yet shared photos of the Model Y’s third row on its website. It is only “seen” as a clickable option on the Model Y’s order page. Hopefully Telsa will rectify this on its site in the near future so buyers at least know what it looks like and how well it folds down along with the second row to offer more cargo room in the back.
The third-row option had been discussed for some time, ever since the Model Y’s launch in 2019, but it wasn’t clear until a short time ago whether the extra row would be forward-facing, with an easier second-row sliding mechanism, or whether it would be rear-facing given the modestly sized interior. The forward-facing layout seems to have won in the end, just as other automakers have also shunned a layout offered for decades in station wagons.
Perhaps more significant than the third-row option in the Model Y is the simultaneous debut of the Standard Range version, something that had been rumored in the past and had been expected to happen at least for some markets. This means that the entry price for the Model Y has dropped to $41,990, offering a single-motor rear-wheel drive setup and 244 miles of range.
That’s a big drop from the $49,990 required to buy a Long Range Model Y, offering 326 miles of range. But it makes the Model Y more accessible to buyers who might have been on the fence regarding this vehicle versus a less-expensive EV. It will also bring its price closer to the Model 3’s starting price, making it easier to cross-shop the two related vehicles.
The dramatic drop in price (and range) could also be seen as a preemptive move against the upcoming Nissan Ariya and Volkswagen ID.4 SUVs, both due on sale this year and expected to land well south of the Long Range Model Y’s starting price. Tesla is about to face direct segment competition… really for the third time ever after the market debuts of the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace electric SUVs.
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