Tesla Model Y review


If you hadn’t noticed Tesla’s range is now SEXY – with its Model S, 3, X and Y. Proof, if any were needed, that Elon Musk loves a schoolboy giggle. We’ve been testing a Model Y on Dutch plates in Ireland prior to its market introduction in Ireland next year.

The Y is a crossover SUV built on the Model 3’s platform – but try as I might I can’t really see any SUV or crossover design elements, at all! It could be more accurately described as a big hatchback car. In Tesla’s range the five door Model Y sits between the huge Model X and the perfectly sized-for-Ireland Model 3. It doesn’t have the ‘Falcon Doors’ of the X, or any gimmick of its own, but it has a very usable amount of space. The appeal is that its physical size does not intimidate like the X can on narrow roads and urban areas. The smaller Model 3 has been a huge success for a couple of reasons: It’s the cheapest Tesla and its proportions are perfect for our road network, so is the more versatile Model Y all the car you’ll ever need? 

In terms of exterior styling the Y looks like it came straight out of a jelly mould. Surfacing is smooth and aerodynamic, but its not a particularly striking looking car in the way the Model S was when launched. The Model Y looks like a hatchback that has been pumped up a bit too hard. Its appearance at the rear is its key identifier on the street. The US built EV has a huge boot. Lift the tailgate and you’ll instantly want to go to Ikea, say it out loud and you’ll hear an echo – the boot area is simply vast! Under the boot floor there is a further storage bin you could bath a child in! Fold the seats down and there is 2,158 litres of cargo space.

The cabin is big-car spacious, and five can fit with ease. There is more room than a Model 3 in all dimensions. The interior is also similar to a Model 3 – in that it is sparse, we’re talking tumbleweed sparse. There’s not a lot to see on the dash, just the usual Tesla giant centre touch screen, a 15-inch in Y’s case, and nothing else. Where non-Teslas drivers would expect to see driver’s dials and displays there is just dashboard. The driver gets two two steering column stalks  and two quite fiddly little ‘clickable’ rollerball buttons on the steering wheel that allow access to menus and other functions. Cast your eyes elsewhere in the cabin and you see… space, just lots of space (no Space-X pun intended, though now I say it 😉 There is seating for five but a seven-seat option will eventually be available.

On the road the Model Y, as you’d expect with a premium EV, is capable of rapid acceleration. When you combine this horizon chasing ability with the Y’s sharp and quick-geared steering – the car can be quite dynamic. Where the Y falls short is in ride comfort. It rides firm and at times feels a little harsh. On poorer surfaces the suspension can struggle to deliver a smooth ride quality and this delivers a sensation that falls below the expectation of a premium car. I’m not alone among reviewers in suggesting that buyers should resist fitting larger than the standard wheels. 

Autonomous driving tech onboard is impressive – on paper – but during our test on Irish roads did not inspire confidence.

As with all Teslas there are a few versions of the Model Y you can get. The really quick ‘Performance’ one is very, very quick and features AWD thanks to it front and rear electric motors. It can do the 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds and has a 480km maximum range. It rides on 21 inch wheels and weighs 2,003kgs. The long range version comes on 19 inch wheels as standard. It has the largest battery capacity, to help deliver the longest range from a full charge of 507km. The sprint from 0-100km/h takes 5 seconds. Tesla has an excellent online configurator so go and play. The long range versions features a 75kWh battery and also dual motors to make it all wheel drive too! It starts from €69,800. A 15 minute session at a Tesla ‘Supercharger’ delivers 241km range.

The Tesla Model Y delivers loads of space without taking up the whole of the road as an X does! The Y has impressive performance and range – just don’t expect a magic carpet ride quality.


About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 20 years (& more recently a Van of the Year judge). Michael has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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