Tesla took off like a rocket: it built mature electric models at a time when major car brands were muddling around with EVs that you didn’t dare to leave the city with – that’s how small the batteries were. The new Tesla Model Y arrives later than expected and faces serious competition.
The Tesla Model Y was announced in 2019 and is now finally in the Netherlands. In the intervening period, the competition has run wild. Volkswagen launched the ID.4, closely followed by Skoda with the Enyaq iV and Audi with the technically equal Q4 E-Tron. Meanwhile, Ford tempted lease drivers with the Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai and Kia came forward with the Ioniq 5 and the EV6.
Then there are the Polestar 2, the Mercedes EQA and the BMW iX3. And the offer is not yet complete, as we are still waiting for the delayed Nissan Ariya and the recently unveiled Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric. Both are on the same EV platform, by the way. In short, the Model Y faces serious competition and is not automatically first choice.
Tesla Model Y with spacious interior
Tesla took the Model 3 as an example. An electric SUV with black wheel arch edges and the same blunt nose was built on its underbody. That grilleless front took some getting used to when the Model 3 hit the market, but today it’s teeming with Tesla noses. Now that we’re used to it, the Model Y looks a bit ordinary. Its cuddly round shapes are at odds with the sharp ruler work that the designers of Hyundai and Skoda have delivered.
Although the dashboard is well-known, we continue to be amazed by the minimalist design, the large touchscreen and the low center tunnel. The spacious interior of the Model Y makes the interior of the Model Y feel extra airy. Even two meters tall drivers forget they are so tall, because they have plenty of leg, shoulder and headroom. And while you sit right above the tarmac in the Model 3, the Model Y offers the high seating position so appreciated by SUV drivers. You can’t escape it: even in the lowest position, the front seats are still quite high.
For the passengers in the rear, the interior designers have done something clever: they placed the front seats on legs, which creates a lot of foot space. The legroom and headroom are also good, but the seat of the sofa is on the short side. From the outside it looks like the sloping roofline is in the way of your crown, but that is not so bad. The thin glass roof provides plenty of headroom and plenty of light.
The sedan-like tailgate of the Model 3 has been exchanged for a handy, large hatch. Underneath is a spacious trunk that is one of the largest in the segment. Tesla plans to add two additional seats here and also deliver the Model Y as a seven-seater. In the United States, that version is already available for an additional cost of $3,000. Large families in the Netherlands and Belgium still have to be patient.
Take advantage of the Tesla Supercharger network
Since the unveiling of the Model Y two years ago, we have not been idle either. On Autoreview.nl we subjected one electric SUV to a range test. This allows us to say with certainty that the Model Y Long Range is the most economical electric SUV of its kind. It even consumes less power than the fairly economical Hyundai Ioniq 5. If you were to drive at 100 km/h, you’d get about 437 kilometers on a full battery.
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If you have not yet reached your destination after driving 437 kilometers, you can recharge at the Tesla Supercharger. This large-scale charging network remains one of the main reasons for choosing a Tesla. Charging is fast and it’s cheap. All locations are in the navigation system and you can immediately see the charging capacity of the available fast charging stations.
At the moment it makes little difference whether you plug in a 150 kW or 250 kW Supercharger, because the Model Y barely uses that speed difference. But as is the case with Tesla, a future software update could just change that. We bring it up because Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 charges faster in practice and we wondered how long Elon Musk will take.
Full Self-driving? Give us cruise control
Speaking of software and ambitions: Tesla continues to strive for self-driving cars. Do you also dream of that, then you can drive the Model Y almost independently for 7,500 euros extra. Then you’ll buywork in progress‘, because the regulations are not ready for it yet and the most futuristic systems are still in the development phase, which the car also clearly communicates on the large screen.
Just give us adaptive cruise control. Although the automatic speed control kicks on the brakes too quickly for our taste. The Volvo XC40 Recharge seems to ‘see’ better when you have a clear path. Another annoyance is the small rear window. It obstructs the view to the rear and is also so high that the headlights of the car behind you are out of sight. And so it’s as if every car behind is right on your rear bumper, when in reality it’s not that bad.
Nice combination of efficiency and power
The Long Range version is a clever combination of efficiency on the one hand and power on the other. The two electric motors launch the suv weighing almost 2000 kilos with playful ease from 0 to 100 km/h. It’s a five-second job. It’s nice to have such reserves of power: when merging onto the highway, you never complain that the car in the lane next to you isn’t making room, because you’ve already passed it. The top speed has been adjusted to a surprisingly high speed of 217 km/h for electric SUVs.
Also, the Model Y involves you more in driving than most other EVs. The chassis has stiff suspension, the steering is direct. This gives you more of the feeling of driving a car and not floating on the highway in a soundproof capsule. In any case, the Model Y is not whisper quiet: you hear noise from the wind and the tires. Sometimes the electric powertrain whistles along nicely.
Quite expensive with a starting price of 64,000 euros
The Model Y is quite pricey. For the time being, the Long Range version of 64,000 euros is the cheapest version. Tesla hasn’t said anything about a Standard Range Plus base version, such as the Model 3. Given the technical similarities, we’re hopeful.
Just be aware that there are cheaper alternatives. A Hyundai Ioniq 5 with two electric motors costs 54,500 euros and a comparable Polestar 2 starts at 53,900 euros. The Volkswagen ID.4 GTX changes hands for 52,990 euros. A BMW iX3 costs 69,000 euros, so Tesla does not price itself completely out of the market.
If you’re looking for an electric SUV, you can’t ignore the practical Model Y. It offers everything on your wish list: a high seating position, a spacious cabin and a large trunk. Moreover, it is remarkably economical, allowing you to drive more than 400 kilometers on a full battery charge. The fact that you can quickly charge in more places than with any other electric SUV, gives you a calm feeling. But then you see the price tag…