Tesla threw itself into the fray of the electric SUV market in 2021. At the wheel, we quickly understand why this model Y is doing well, and often better than the others. Autonomy, road behavior, life on board, here is our test of the Tesla model Y Grande Autonomie.
The references of electric SUVs are multiplying. They have become a must for all manufacturers who have started electrifying their range. Historical brands, like new players, are attacking this juicy market. Faced with this increased competition, the Tesla Model Y is the benchmark to beat. Many qualities, some flaws, this Tesla Model Y has something to give competitors a few cold sweats.
For this test, we did not necessarily seek to reproduce the 1,600 km covered in a Tesla Model 3. The idea was to test the vehicle on mixed cycles consisting of daily journeys and weekend walks, alternating more dynamic phases, with others more geared towards eco-driving.
Tesla continues to widen the efficiency gap
We observed it on the Model 3, but the Tesla SUV in its Long Autonomy version is also able to be efficient despite its size of 4.75 m long. Motorway journeys are still the most fuel-intensive, but you can easily no longer have to worry about autonomy on the secondary network.
Despite 20-inch rims, increasing consumption, it was with an average of 16.1 kWh/100 km that we returned the vehicle to Tesla. This is a good result, compared to many electric SUVs which exceed 18 or 20 kWh/100km on average on similar routes.
We even reached 13.0 kWh/100km on the last journey of about forty kilometers by playing the game of eco-driving. Under these conditions, it is possible to reach the 533 km range of the wltp standard (or up to 565 km with 19-inch rims). Otherwise, we will rather aim for around 450 km, which is already more than enough.
According to our various tests carried out over the months, few electric cars available on the market offer such serenity in terms of consumption, with the exception of Korean models from Hyundai and Kia. When we add the Tesla charging ecosystem to its efficiency, we can only see that the brand continues to widen the gap with the competition.
Life on board: space and trunk
With a wheelbase of 2.89m, for a vehicle 4.75m long, there is plenty of space on board, including for rear passengers. The Model Y must be able to satisfy all passenger sizes, where the Model 3 can show some limits. The contract is in any case fulfilled for the comfort of all occupants.
The Tesla Model Y with its large trunk responds to the criticisms sometimes raised by families for the Tesla Model 3 and its trunk. The Model Y Grande Autonomie has a large rear trunk with a capacity of 854 liters and a front trunk of 117 litres. By folding the rear seats, you get up to 2,158 liters of storage.
If that wasn’t enough, you could still tow up to 1,600 kg with the Tesla Model Y. The tow hook is installed after delivery, the option costs €1,350.
The good surprise of its road behavior, but…
We know that the Tesla Model 3 is very comfortable with dynamic driving, it is the same with the Model Y. Despite a higher center of gravity, the Model Y is very agile and above all precise when it comes to to increase the pace on small roads. The Model Y, like all Teslas, puts a smile on your face, whether you have an itchy right foot, as if to drive in a very zen way.
The suspension and steering settings provide good road feel for an SUV weighing just under 2 tons. You can have fun behind the wheel, and all this in a safe way. There’s a flip side to that coin though, and it’s something that’s seen on many SUVs on the market.
To offer this dynamism, the manufacturer must partly sacrifice comfort. This is particularly visible on roads full of imperfections, on cobblestones or on speed bumps. We then feel a more brittle comfort. Which doesn’t mean that, overall, the Model Y isn’t comfortable, it’s just less so to improve its dynamic behavior. It’s a compromise, between handling and comfort, to be found in an attempt to satisfy all users. Otherwise, the price would have to be increased with an option, such as the air suspensions available on Model S and X.
We are somewhat conditioned by the appeal price of the standard Model 3 at less than €50,000. So inevitably, with a starting price from €62,990, the Model Y Grande Autonomie does not seem really affordable at first glance. Finally, on closer inspection, the Model 3 Grande Autonomie starts at €58,990, which perfectly justifies the price difference with the Model Y.
If the European competition manages to present several models of family SUVs at more attractive prices, the comparison, with equivalent performance and equipment, is not always possible. Tesla still maintains a significant lead on pure performance. The brand is also on the standard on-board technology, where many other models go through extension options.
It is certain that with a model Y propulsion, the American brand would easily upset the main competitors. Let them take advantage of this positioning, we need electric vehicles for all tastes and all budgets.
Look, interior, technology: these elements that continue to progress
The Model 3 and Model Y duo introduced a number of novelties, which we no longer present. The first thing visible and easily identifiable is the exterior design of these two models. This very simple style does not please everyone, but it has the advantage of responding to aerodynamic issues to reduce consumption.
It is especially the interior that has caused a lot of ink to flow, with its single central screen and the absence of superfluous buttons. This uncluttered interface has ended up becoming a habit. The brand is increasingly copied, even if no other manufacturer has dared to remove the speedometer as Tesla did.
We are surprised to take control of this new driving environment quite quickly. With the latest developments in the multimedia system, the whole thing no longer suffers from slowness, it is fluid and rather disconcertingly fast. It is easy to switch from one display to another, without losing sight of the road for too long. Voice commands are also a good alternative to assist us, and avoid any unnecessary manipulation of the screen while driving.
Interior changes are not always noticeable to those uninitiated in the brand. But from one model to another, and especially from one generation to another, progress can be noted. These are small details, such as the carpet in the door panels, or the place dedicated to induction charging, but all these small elements, put end to end, contribute to increasing the impression of quality of the model. . On this point, the Model Y tested in recent days marks a good step forward. We may just regret the lack of rear visibility, which is really very limited by the shape of the tailgate.
Technology is still Tesla’s forte. If we have to focus on driving aids and Autopilot, which are often talked about, we also note the progress of the brand. Even if all this is very restricted by European regulations. The Autopilot system has become smoother over the years, but it sometimes shows its limits in heavier traffic. Other competitors, such as Mercedes or Audi, are advancing rapidly on the subject, they have the advantage of having designed their system for our specific European traffic conditions.
Tesla’s entire proposition is becoming more seamless. The brand is gradually correcting its youthful flaws. We have seen that Tesla takes into account feedback from its customers to improve its models through regular updates, made remotely. Again, all competitors copy the American manufacturer, but so far none have managed to match Tesla.
Good overall efficiency
Road behavior close to the sedan
We liked less
Fairly firm comfort
Reduced rear visibility
Lacks a rear-wheel drive version
Model Y, like Model 3, are the benchmarks against which all other electric vehicles tested are generally compared. Like every new Tesla, this Model Y continues to surprise positively. Its exterior look, its interior style, its technology make it an interesting proposition. Especially since unlike the Model 3 sedan, the Model Y accommodates rear passengers more easily, and has a very roomy trunk. But, it is above all its performance, its efficiency and its road behavior, which we will remember and which really differentiate this Model Y, placing it a step ahead of the competitors.
Even if this model is not free from defects, they are largely compensated by all the benefits developed by the Tesla ecosystem: its quick and easy charging, its on-board technologies, its permanent and continuous innovations through remote updates.