Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Reviews 2021 Tesla Model Y SR Quick Review: It’s Enough to Make You...

2021 Tesla Model Y SR Quick Review: It’s Enough to Make You A Believer

The 2021 Model Y is Tesla’s first true “mainstream” family vehicle and the SR version was the gateway model

  • The 2021 Model Y SR pricing started at $54,900 in Canada, just under $42,000 in the US.

  • This base RWD Standard Range Model Y, although new, is no longer offered for sale.

  • The Model Y has global best-seller potential, but it’s no longer alone.

Occasionally, I get the opportunity to drive a vehicle that belongs to a friend or colleague. Most of the time, I’ll sample an older car, however in this instance, it was a freshly purchased brand-new 2021 Tesla Model Y. With only an exception or two, we have access to automaker fleets. In Tesla’s case, there is no such thing in Montreal, but we manage thanks to colleagues and friends.

2021 Tesla Model Y SR | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

This 2021 Tesla Model Y is special in several ways. In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to drive and review all production Tesla models. Each one happened to be the most expensive and powerful version which was great for the driving experience, but this unit is my first “people’s” Tesla. Sadly, the Model Y SR is no longer offered for sale which means this is a “unicorn.”

The Model Y SR

The brief window of time the SR was available perfectly coincided with the owner’s decision to purchase an electric vehicle. The shopping process landed the buyer on Tesla’s doorstep and face to face with the Model Y. Initially, he did not believe that this vehicle warranted the up to $80,000 asking price which is the sole reason why he sprung for the $55,000 SR. Barely a month after taking delivery of his Pearl White Y, he understands and partially regrets his selection.

2021 Tesla Model Y SR | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

I don’t, however. Driving this unique and rare Model Y means that all others I may (or may not) get to drive will feel quite different. The SR features a single rear-mounted 275 horsepower electric motor that is fed by a 55kWh battery. Combined, they enable the Model Y to reach 100km/h in only 5.6 seconds and travel up to 393 km (244 miles) on a single charge. The latter point is why the SR was pulled from the market as it fell short of Tesla’s well-established range standards.

While Mr. Musk may have thought that the SR was “sub-standard”, from behind the wheel, it certainly does not feel as such. To start, the indicated range bests the Ford Mach-E’s base range by more than 25km and is only about 7km shy of the VW ID.4. Perhaps this is the issue as a Tesla product is, without a doubt, a premium vehicle. 

Tesla’s unembellished elegance

2021 Tesla Model Y SR | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

If you’re not familiar with Tesla, this isn’t immediately evident. The owner, clearly not a Tesla disciple, could not see it at first. In a few words, although unique, the Model Y’s design is bland. The cabin could also be described as stark given the 15-inch touchscreen display and little else to focus on. The unadorned nature of the dashboard and door cards delivers a sense of austere luxury, but I get the impression, overall, that everything was conceived to be plain as a cost-cutting measure.

Normally, I’d add a comment about the fit, and finish here I will. As we all know, Tesla vehicles are not known for their assembly quality. Unlike all other Teslas I’ve driven and most that I’ve looked at, this Model Y was practically flawless. Is this a sign that quality control is improving? We’ll allow time to determine that.

Driving is believing

2021 Tesla Model Y SR | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Driving the 2021 Tesla Model Y SR reveals a number of things. More than anything, the vehicle’s chassis is tuned for smooth Southern California roads. The suspension’s dampers are not very forgiving, providing very little initial comfort travel to soak up rough spots. The country roads I traveled constantly disrupted the otherwise serene cabin.

The Model Y SR’s drive is configurable where acceleration can be set between Comfort and Standard, while steering adds a third Sport mode. Throttle response is barely dulled in Comfort however switching over to Standard instantly puts gut muscles to work under hard acceleration. A double Comfort mode selection is perfect especially for steering assistance as it’s incredibly quick and heavyset as such.

2021 Tesla Model Y SR | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Regenerative braking can be set in one of three ways. The maximum setting will bring the Y to a full stop, another will enable extra coasting, and the final mode enables creep when the physical brakes are released. This flexibility is fantastic.

The whole driving experience is what convinces all those who doubt that Tesla delivers a superior product. The vehicle feels advanced, far more so than the Ford Mustang Mach-E for example. But more than that, Tesla sells a lifestyle that they themselves have brilliantly created. With more than 25,000 Tesla Superchargers across the Globe which deliver and the ability to recharge at a rate of about 260km in only 15 minutes, owners get a sense that they’re in the know.

Trading Up?

2021 Tesla Model Y SR | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Pierre, the owner, wisely avoided all costly options and focused only on the tow hitch accessory. As you see in the video and images, this Model Y retailed for only $56,200. Though satisfied, he is planning to trade up from his SR to an LR dual-motor version in the not-too-distant future. The $15,000 price increase over the SR to just shy of $70,000 (today) will see the vehicle’s range increase to 525km and the 0-100km/h sprint time drop to an even 5 seconds.

We can’t argue with this logic. We also can’t argue against this electric SUV as it’s impressive. Of the few electric compact SUVs to midsize SUVs available on the market, only the Volkswagen ID.4 remains to be evaluated. We’re big fans of the Volvo XC40 Recharge however if more interior space is needed, the Model Y awaits.

2021 Tesla Model Y SR | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Tesla Model Y SR | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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