Which Tesla Model Y flavor is best for you? Performance vs. Long Range

Credit: YouTube | The Kilowatts

At some point in time, every Tesla Model Y prospective buyer faces that tough decision to weigh the pros and cons of a Performance variant over the Long Range. Tesla’s Model Y design studio is as simple as it can get. Two toggle buttons labeled “Long Range” and another labeled “Performance” stands between you and ownership.

For some, it’s an emphatic and instinctive yes when it comes to buying a fully-loaded Tesla, and for others, the decision to splurge a tiny more on a Model Y Performance takes some pondering.

YouTube channel The Kilowatts compared the two Model Ys, highlighting the main similarities and subtle differences between the Long Range and Performance variants. The results revealed something quite interesting: the efficiency of the two vehicles was remarkably similar.

In the short but spirited comparison between the two cars, the handling and acceleration of the Model Y Performance seemed to stick out as a critical difference. Equipped with 21″ Überturbine wheels, performance brakes, lowered suspension, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler, the Model Y Performance variant combined with the optional Performance Upgrade Package is ideal for an owner who wants a quicker and more intense driving experience.

Host Ryan Levenson pushed the handling and speed capabilities of the Model Y in his comparison of the two Model Y variants. Navigating through a series of sharp turns, Model Y with the Performance Upgrade package maneuvered with confidence and ease. The all-electric crossover hugged the road smoothly and handled the turns with exceptional quality.

The vehicle’s stability and handling were also highlighted by automotive veteran Sandy Munro, who once said driving the Model Y was like “riding on rails.”

A long-distance test of the two vehicles proved that the efficiency was not much different between the Long Range Model Y and the Performance version.

After a 205-mile venture from the Tesla’s famed Kettleman City Supercharger to the San Francisco Bay Area, under regular driving conditions and without a purposely intent to hypermile, the Long Range configuration of the vehicle showed an efficiency of 323 watt-hours per mile. In contrast, Model Y Performance had an efficiency of 327 watt-hours per mile, proving the efficiency is strikingly similar between both vehicles in long-distance driving scenarios.

The Model Y Performance and Long Range both have the same 75 kWh battery pack, but the Performance with the optional Performance Upgrade has 31 miles less range than its adversary, as a result of the larger and heavier wheels. The Long Range has a 4.8 second 0-60 MPH acceleration rate, while the Performance has a 3.5 second time.

Tesla Model Y wheels and its impact on 0-60 acceleration


Model Y Performance boasts a higher top speed by 10 mph and 1.3-second improvement in 0-60 time. In addition, the Performance version comes with improved brakes, larger wheels, a spoiler, and aluminum alloy pedals will cost $8,000 more. The Long Range starts at $52,990, while the Performance variant has a starting price of $60,990, before incentives.

Tesla continues to improve efficiency and range through software updates and battery advancements. A study by Kevin Rooke showed that Tesla’s battery efficiency among its fleet of Model S, Model X, and Model 3 has continued to improve, year over year.

Credit: Kevin Rooke

Tesla continues to increase the total driving range of its vehicles, pushing past the 400-mile per single charge range, through improvements in battery efficiency and not necessarily increases in battery capacity.

When making that decision between the Model Y Performance and Long Range variant, you’ll want to determine the personal value of winning that stoplight drag race and improved cornering capabilities. After all, not many of us will come even close to maximizing the value of a 155 mph top speed.  In terms of efficiency, the vehicles are nearly identical.

Watch the Kilowatts Model Y comparison video below.

Which Tesla Model Y flavor is best for you? Performance vs. Long Range
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