The Tesla Model Y has been on sale since 2020, which makes it the brand’s newest model. It is a small crossover that shares its platform and powertrains with the Model 3. Today we test one of the most popular configurations for the Model Y - the Long Range Dual Motor with white interior and 5 seats.
It comes after the Model S, Model 3 and Model X, making the brand’s lineup spell-out S3XY. In case you are wondering, Ford owning the naming rights to the Model E is the reason Tesla had to get creative in realizing Elon Musk's childish ambition of owning "a sexy company".
The Model Y continues Tesla’s tradition for redefining cars by providing a unique ownership experience. The process of configuring a Model Y is more similar to ordering pizza than the usual car purchasing procedure. There are just a few options to choose from and then you directly proceed to payment. The limited hardware versions streamlines production and reduces expenses on the manufacturing side.
The Model Y was the most popular vehicle in the world for the first quarter of 2023 as sales seem to grow exponentially for the electric crossover. In total, more than 750,000 Model Y’s have left the plants of Tesla around the world for the 3 years of its production so far.
It's obvious why the Model Y become so successful - very competitive price for its range, top-notch multimedia experience and a number of creature comforts is excatly what the majority of buyers seek. As all Tesla’s do, the Model Y heavily incorporates the minimalist philosophy, which makes it easy to understand if not always the easiest to use.
As usual for a Tesla car, the Model Y body is characterized by smooth lines and flowing curves. This creates an unbroken silhouette and a design is easy on the eyes if getting a little played out at this point. Between the hundreds of thousands of units sold and Tesla's reluctance to change designs, the aerodynamical bodies of its cars no longer spark the same excitment as they did a few years ago.
Obviously a simple shape will always have its fans in today’s world of overly-exaggerated designs, but it's about time Tesla freshened things up a bit. Something it's about to do with the new Model 3 dubbed Project Highland and, more dramatically, with the upcoming Cybertruck.
The front's is rather recognizable for the lack of a grille. Much like the rest of the car the the face of the Model Y is sleek, with a very minimalistic design. There is a large vent on the lowest part of the bumper, surrounded by two smaller vents on each side that also incorporate the fog lights. These are the only noteworthy elements in the front part of the vehicle.
The main headlights are elegant and well-incorporated into the rest of the design. Some Long Range models have the Matrix LED unit, which shine brighter than the regular ones. They are also more effective and increase illumination by 12% compared to regular LEDs, as per the company's official data. The Matrix LED technology also allows for cool party tricks like projecting the word “Tesla” on a wall in front of the car with more options promised to come with over-the-air (OTA) updates.
The front windshield of the Model Y sits more straight up compared to the body lines on the lower part, which makes for a chubby cartoonish look of the front three quarters. On the upside it is the reason why the Model Y is much more spacious inside than the Model 3, the larger raised window enabling a much taller roof line.
From the side, the Model Y looks like a lifted Model 3, which it realistically is. The proportions and general design are the same in both vehicles, with the Model Y sitting slightly higher off the ground with 6.6 inches of ground clearance. That is not much for a crossover, but is more than most sedans and hatchbacks, allowing the Model Y to go more places at the expense of some range.
The door handles lay flush with the door for aerodynamic purposes. This means that in order to open the door, you first need to push and then pull the handle on the other side. It takes some getting used to and is certainly not the most convenient solution, but the rain gain is worth the few days it will take you to get used to it.
Tesla Model Y is offered with two different sets of wheels in 19" or 20" sizes. The former offer greater range and a slightly softer ride, while the bigger 20’s offer better looks and improved high-speed stability. Both options offer wheel covers that look and feel cheap, but will also provide a significantly better efficiency while driving, which is the reason our test vehicle had them.
The rear of the Model Y is once again similar to other Tesla models, with prominent taillights and flowy lines. The only things that disturb the clean look are the central Tesla logo and the small decal “dual motor” that designates the trim of the vehicle.
Other there is a slight ducktail spoiler, huge rear glass and signature taillights. All lines flow together greatly, complementing each other to create a nice finished look. The rear diffuser is made of black plastic for a more rugged look, which continues all around the vehicle, covering pieces of the wheel arches, the side skirts and front and rear bumpers.
The Tesla Model Y's interior is characterized by brilliant infotainment features and mediocre material choices. The situation with the fit and finish is much improved compared to older Tesla models, however materials are still not the finest. A big step forward is the almost absolute lack of creaks, rattles or squeaks, while the technology on-board remains among the greats in the industry. Build quality is significantly improved so the panel gaps now are much more appropriate for a modern vehicle.
The Model Y can be optioned with either white leather and silver trim or black leather and wood trim. This one was in the former configuration, which looks amazing, but also significantly helps in the heat of summer. A downside is that the white picks up a lot of stains and has to be regularly cleaned and maintained if it's to retain its good looks.
Stepping inside the Model Y, the driver is greeted with a minimalistic interior and a simplistic steering wheel. There is no dashboard and only one stalk is coming out of each end of the steering column. The left one operates the blinkers and the windshield wipers, while the right one is the gear selector.
The steering wheel itself only has two buttons and a giant Tesla logo. These buttons control most of the settings in the car with the help of the central display. This makes for a simple use and great usability. From volume controls, through cruise control features up to side mirror adjustments - these two buttons do it all. It is a great integration for people who are into the minimalist approach.
The center screen is where the true technological masterclass is at. Tesla has spent a lot of time and effort optimizing their system over the years and now it offers one of, if not the best user experiences on the market. It controls virtually everything inside the vehicle and is the backbone of the whole driving experience.
Below the screen, there is a raised flat surface for wireless charging of different devices if that option is equipped, otherwise it is a small storage area.
Then there is the giant center console storage area. Tesla even sells official storage dividers, which this Model Y had, letting you utilize all the space better. This area closes with an automatic storage lid that glides gracefully, giving a nice premium feeling.
The cupholders come standard with no rubber lining, however this one is fitted with one, as it prevents the drinks from spilling all over the beautiful white interior.
Under the armrest is another big storage area, which can be lined with Tesla dividers. It is very deep and can store a lot of items - a common theme of the Model Y, which truly has one of the most practical interiors we've seen.
All doors come with deep pockets as well, which can easily hold big water bottles and some snacks.
The back seats of the Model Y are very spacious, and even with the sloping roof line, there is plenty of headroom. Legroom is not a problem either, while the seating is high enough so that the backseat occupants don’t have to sit in an awkward position with raised knees.
A cool feature is that all 3 of the rear seats can be heated. However, there is no control for it other than the front center screen, so if you are riding in the back of the Model Y and you're cold, you will have to kindly ask someone in front to turn your seat heating for you. Other than the two USB-C outlets in the back of the front armrest, there are no other features for the rear seats.
The rear seats also recline in a few positions, so that the passengers can be more comfortable. Alternatively you can increase the trunk capacity by moving the seats to a more upright position. The seats can also be folded completely flat, allowing you to carry large items and fully utilizing the enormous storage area.
Talking about the trunk, it is very big for a relatively small crossover. The opening is huge and low enough, so that big objects are not a problem to load. You should be careful with the sloping roof line, though, since bigger items may initially fit, but once you close the gate the rear glass might get shattered. In another practicality boost, folding the rear seats is done with just the press of a button.
Tesla offers a rubber cover so that you don’t damage your trunk liner. Such covers are available for all storage areas and also for the floor mats. By choosing them you'd be sacrificing a bit of the premium feeling, but you'll no longer have to worry about getting dirt on your interior or damaging it.
Below the trunk there is a big secondary storage area, which can be used for storing charging cables or other equipment.
Tesla offers a frunk for the Model Y, which is once again a huge benefit when it comes to longer trips. The front storage area is big and wide, however Tesla suggests you don’t put very heavy objects inside. It is a hard to access area since you have to lift your luggage all the way to the middle of the front hood. It helps that when you put the Model Y in valet mode, it locks the frunk so you can safely store your valuable items there while somebody else is driving.
Overall the Tesla Model Y truly excels in the practicality category by offering a wide variety of storage spaces inside and in the two trunks. That is a huge bonus for bigger families or just people that carry a lot of luggage, but still don’t want the inconvenience of a much bigger vehicle.
Driving the Tesla Model Y is perfectly neutral. The car isn’t sporty at all, however it translates the road information rather well to the driver. The steering is soft and feels very light, but isn’t unnatural or too jerky. The suspension is stiff, especially with the 20-inch tires, but not so stiff so as to become bothersome. Still, choosing the 19-inch ones might be the smarter decision if you prefer smoother driving experience.
The Model Y doesn’t have adaptive suspension or steering, which means it feels the same at all times. It is a good compromise for a daily driver and the ride doesn’t bother you in any way.
Despite its impressive acceleration numbers, it is safe to say the Model Y Long Range is far from being a sports vehicle with the way it handles and drives. It was designed to be a reliable daily companion that can also bring joy when you press the “gas” pedal to the floor and it does just that.
As a fully electric vehicle with a big battery pack, the Model Y tips the scales just over 4,410 lb. That can be felt while driving and you have to keep it in mind while cornering or braking heavily. Even though the center of gravity is relatively low, the Model Y twists and leans a lot into the corners.
The one-pedal driving feature works great and also helps with recuperation. When driving around town, pressing the brake pedal is barely needed, which makes driving the Model Y very calm and relaxing. If you only do city commutes you may never use the brake pedal at all, but in that case we'd suggest you either do a braking test every once in a while or perform a brake pad inspection once a year to make sure they are working normally in case of an emergency.
All features of the Model Y are controlled with the help of the horizontally mounted 15-inch screen. Its left side is dedicated to useful current information about the vehicle, while the bigger right side is aimed primarily on entertainment and secondary information.
Starting off from the left, the top part shows the speedometer, battery percentage and the speed limit. These readouts stay always on while driving and are the only thing that is not configurable on the screen.
The central part of the left display shows current vehicle status both when stationary and while moving. The Model Y draws images of other vehicles and everything that surrounds it while moving, which is great for traffic as it improves your perception and can alert you of things you haven’t noticed. It also draws signs, traffic lights, all the lanes and the different vehicles in real time with the help of its cameras and sensors. Even in roads with no lanes drawn, the Model Y is able to artificially make its own based on the surrounding traffic and that works very well.
The lowest part on the left is dedicated to either setting steering wheel shortcuts or media outlets and music, showing current information and radio controls.
The audio system in the Model Y is impressively good. It can rival a lot of high-end systems in other vehicles that cost a lot of extra money, whereas in the Tesla this system is standard on all vehicles. The company hired engineers from “Bang & Olufsen” and while the Tesla system lacks the badging it certainly has the premium output worthy of it.
The lowest part of the center screen is dedicated to the climate controls and some extra functions, as per the driver’s personal preferences. These can either be settings you want to frequently adjust and therefore have them a click away, or simply extras you want to have easier access to.
Now it’s finally time to discuss the right part of the screen, which takes up around two-thirds of the area. It is responsible for the entertainment and settings of the vehicle and is the sole reason many prefer Tesla models over competitors. It once again follows the minimalist trend, since it offers a wide variety of functions, which are neatly organized into just a few menus.
The fact that the Model Y has built in Wi-Fi allows you to explore the web effortlessly and enjoy all of its benefits. The Model Y also allows you to use many platforms and apps that require internet connectivity, thus making your experience more pleasant. You can watch movies while stationary, play different games or just browse your favorite websites. Tesla doesn’t support Apple Car Play or Android Auto, so to use Google Maps or Waze you have to use their online versions, which is workable if far from optimal.
A great decision is the implementation of Spotify and Tesla offers its own account to you if you don’t have one. This way you can freely enjoy your favorite tunes while driving, without necessarily having a personal subscription. As an added benefit, this is also completely free of charge.
“Joe Mode” is a feature that was most requested until recently when all Tesla cars finally received it with an OTA update. It lowers the Tesla warning chimes and makes them less intrusive. These chimes are a pet peeve for many people and this Joe mode solves that issue. The story behind is funny, as this mode is the result of a tweet from some guy named Joe, complaining to Elon Musk.
The entertainment part of the screen is a gimmick that gives soul to the vehicle and is so far unique for the Tesla models. If you wrap or repaint your car you can easily change how your animated version inside looks like in the settings. You can also use the Matrix headlights for a lightshow outside the vehicle or use the outer sound system to talk to people outside, just like what police officers do with their megaphones. This can also be combined with the horn sound, which will play a silly melody outside after honking.
If you are into music you can create your own tunes on the DJ set called “Trax”, which can also help you create the best setting for the “Romance” feature. It turns on an artificial fireplace and turns on the heaters inside, to create a cozier atmosphere. On the other hand, the “Emissions” feature does the opposite of romance, by mimicking fart sounds from your passengers.
Other apps you can enjoy in a Model Y are the theater apps, which include Netflix, Disney+, YouTube and Twitch. Of course, you can use them only while stationary, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that no other car lets you have this much fun while waiting somewhere. Combine that with the games section and you will for sure never get bored in that car.
Because Elon Musk is obsessed with the space race and Mars in particular, you can see where your current position would be if you happened to be at the same coordinates on Mars. This is an absolutely bizarre feature that serves no purpose at all, yet adds to the coolness and futuristic feel when inside the Model Y.
The ride comfort in the Tesla Model Y is not great, that much is certainly. However, it is not extremely stiff as it proved on our bumpy test track. Its main weaknesses are short bumps and holes, where it translates them too directly. On smooth roads it performs well and the car proves itself as an unengaging traveling partner.
The cabin of the Model Y is not insulated well enough and you do get a lot of external noises. From the ones the Model Y itself produces you mainly hear tire noise and on occassion the air conditioning. Road winds become apparent after speeds of 31 mph too. At a higher speed of 81 mph, the cabin is noisier than a Renault Megane E-Tech, let alone the Mercedes EQE.
|37 mph||56.5 dB|
|56 mph||60.6 dB|
|81 mph||65.5 dB|
The Tesla Model Y Long Range is quick enough for most people, however it is nowhere near as fast as its Performance variant. It builds up speed without much drama, but eventually you look at the speedometer and realize you have long surpassed the limit.
The Model Y we had for the test car did the 0 - 62 mph sprint in 5.2 seconds, which is a little bit slower than what the manufacturer states. However, the outside temperature was very hot with 100°F and the car was driven the whole day, which may have contributed to missing the expected 5.0 seconds.
Stopping the Model Y Long Range is not an easy task with its weight of over 2 tonnes. It does well and stops from 62 mph to a halt in 38 m (125 ft), which is okay for such a heavy vehicle, but not ideal for a modern crossover.
Tesla’s major selling points over its competitors is efficiency. The Model Y utilizes its battery in a great way, allowing for a maximized range. We did our testing in 100°F ambient temperature with air conditioning on and still managed to achieve great results. At our lowest speed, the Model Y consumed so little power it was matching far smaller EVs.
|37 mph||6 mi/kWh||452 miles|
|56 mph||4.4 mi/kWh||328 miles|
|81 mph||2.8 mi/kWh||208 miles|
The Tesla Model Y Long Range can be charged at up to 250 kW. Our test model managed to go up to only 170 kW while testing, as its battery never got to the lowest percentages, but the owner assured that he had previously reached the full potential when the conditions were met.
The Model Y is placed in the most competitive segment in the whole automotive industry - crossovers. Instead of merging with the other competitors, the little Tesla came and smashed the market. It was the third highest-selling vehicle in the world last year and sales continue to grow now as supply finally normalizes. It offers great range for a fair price, without many options to choose from when buying. This limits customization options, but also makes sure you won't overpay for stuff you are not going to use.
The closest rival to the Model Y is the Kia EV6. It is slightly smaller, but also a bit cheaper. The EV6 offers more customization options, V2L charging and a big worldwide dealership network, while the interior has the same quality. The Tesla offers much more storage space and access to the superior Supercharger network though.
The second competitor of the Tesla Model Y also comes from America in the face of the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It offers fancy styling and great technology in a more compact packaging than the Tesla. Sadly, the Mach-E fails to utilize its bigger battery pack and offers lower range with slower charging.
The Tesla Model Y is a great crossover for people that need a reliable and usable daily companion that either like or don't care about the status symbol the brand has become lately. It delivers great power and unrivaled practicality for its price tag. The Model Y perfectly captures the minimalist vision of the company by offering simple design inside and out, combined with loads of space and a limited set of features that work well.
On the other hand the Model Y doesn’t offer the softest ride, the greatest handling, or the best quality. Yet it doesn't fail misearbly anywhere and tops efficiency charts to deliver a great overall package that leaves you satisfied with your purchase. If you are in the market for an electric crossover, the Model Y definately needs to be at the top of your shortlist.
From the specs: no regen when pedal braking Ivo rhymes with bimbo. It is you who hates the facts from the Mod 3 spec sheet.
And what's the range when you drive 180km/h? I drive my car regularly on an Autobahn with speed around 200km/h and sometimes I have to drive 800km. If this cars consumption would be linear then at 180km/h you could only drive 242,6km. At 2...