expert review

Tesla Model Y Long Range review

Tesla Model Y, the electric car delivers vast interior space and blistering performance.

Good points

  • Up to seven seats
  • Clean, minimalist design
  • Massive boot space

Bad points 

  • Firm suspension
  • No third-row seating yet
  • Only one service centre in Ireland

Tesla Model Y Long Range Introduction

Arriving as the perfect follow-up to the hugely successful Model 3, the Tesla Model Y stretches out that design to make a midsize SUV that’s sure to be a hit with families. The Long Range battery is available in two guises, with the Performance model benefitting from faster acceleration, though the standard all-wheel-drive model is far from slow. The Model Y comes as a five-seater and in some markets is offered with a third row of seats bringing capacity up to seven. 

Design and Specs

The Model Y shares a design that is quite similar to the Model 3, especially around the front, where there is a similar headlight and front bumper design. Black cladding around the wheel arches serves as a nod to its SUV intentions and its 19-inch wheels look in proportion to the rest of the car. 

There’s a much taller roofline that creates a large glass area that is evident when viewed side-on. The flush door handles from the Model 3 also feature and are in a contrasting colour to the rest of the car. Frameless doors provide easy ingress to the vehicle, helped by that raised roofline. There is a relatively high rear deck though its lines are kept clean by the omission of a rear window wiper, as the Tesla relies on airflow over the roof to clear away water. 

A dual-motor layout has a maximum power output of 441hp (324kW) and 493Nm of torque. That’s enough for the Tesla to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 5.0 seconds. 

Battery and Range

A 75kWh battery is capable of a driving range of just over 500 kilometres, though on average, you should expect to see a little over 400 kilometres in real-world use. One further advantage of the Model Y is that it uses the more common CCS charging connection here in Europe, meaning owners can charge at far more places. The peak charging rate is 210kW, enough to recharge the battery to 80 per cent in around 29 minutes. From an 11kW charger, the Model Y will take approximately 7 hours 30 minutes to fully charge. 

Interior Space

There isn’t another electric car on the market that offers such a minimalist interior as the Tesla Model Y. It’s refreshing in many ways. If you relish a clean, clutter-free desk at work or home, you’ll love how it looks inside. Two multifunction circular scrollers on the thick-rimmed steering conduct several functions according to the menu selection, including electrically adjusting the steering wheel for reach and rake. Drive selection is made by a stalk mounted on the steering column rather than a traditional shifter. 

Compared to the Model 3, the Model Y has a wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) that is 15mm longer, which benefits the amount of rear passenger space. The legroom is 135mm longer in the rear, and there’s 43mm more headroom. Adding to that is a full-length panoramic glass roof that floods the cabin with light. 

In some markets the Model Y is available with a third row of seats, though they are quite restrictive with the amount of space they provide to passengers and are only really suitable for small children. The electrically operated bootlid lifts to reveal 854 litres of storage. The rear seats also fold down to increase cargo volume to a maximum of 2,158 litres, including the 117-litre storage compartment in the front for holding items such as charging cables. In all, the Model Y can fit a lot of stuff into it when required.

Tesla Model Y Infotainment

Its 15-inch touchscreen display is where almost every aspect of the car’s functions are accessed. It reacts exceptionally quickly to inputs and is packed with features but lacks the smartphone mirroring software of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Two wireless charging pads sit below the screen and are among the best in use in any electric car today. Covered in a suede-like material to stop your phone from sliding around, they keep your device angled upwards so you can always see it.

Drive

What you initially notice when you sit into the Model Y at first is the raised driving position. This electric car firmly puts it into the SUV category in this regard and provides good levels of outward visibility. You feel as if you’re sitting up high. Electrically adjustable seats and steering make finding a comfortable driving position easy too. 

Weighing in at a little over 2,000kg means the Model Y has to cope with more mass, and that results in a suspension setup that is quite firm. It’s most noticeable on more rural roads where the surfaces often aren’t as good, so if you’re looking for plush comfort you may be disappointed. In urban settings where the speeds are typically lower, this isn’t so much of an issue, but it’s well worth taking a test drive before committing.

Tesla Model Y Performance Test

The Dual Motor powertrain gives the Model Y incredible performance, making it far faster than most people will ever need it to be, and this isn’t even the Performance version. A combined output of 441hp and 493Nm means it can get up to 100km/h in only five seconds. Power delivery is super smooth and nearly silent too, while there is a balanced and weighted feel to the steering. When you lift off the accelerator, the Tesla recuperates energy back into its battery, thus giving the sensation of one-pedal driving in many instances. It will cruise effortlessly on the motorway and there is adaptive cruise control to make longer journeys less tiring. 

Away from the motorways, the Model Y can cover ground at extraordinary rates for a midsize SUV. Those in the rear will love watching the world zoom by thanks to the Model Y’s large side windows and vast panoramic glass roof, and there’s plenty of room to stretch out too. Power delivery is so instantaneous that it almost seems like a video game. 

Speaking of which, when you pull over and plug in to charge, that 15-inch tablet display comes in handy for keeping younger (or older) ones entertained with built-in games or for watching your favourite TV shows. There is still room for improvement from Tesla on quality grounds, as we experienced some rattles from the rear seats during our time with the car, but on the whole it’s a pretty good package. 

Tesla Model Y Long Range Summary

The Tesla Model Y is the electric car that so many people have been waiting for, and it’s ideal for families due to its roomy interior, seven-seat capability and massive boot space. Tesla continues to be one of the leaders in electric cars when it comes to range, charging and performance. 

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