Since last year, Tesla’s basic range in Europe is finally complete. After the Model S, Model 3 and Model X, the Model Y is now joining the European ranks. The “S3XY” range should offer something for everyone. A large travel sedan? Model S. Do you prefer a crossover version? Model X. An electric competitor for the famous premium segment? Model 3. Rather want a crossover? The Model Y. The latter has been around for a while in its home country of the United States, but is now coming to us. Literally, because since last month, copies have been rolling off the assembly line of the new gigafactory in Germany.
The Model Y shares its underpinnings with the Model 3, and it shows. Although the Y is 5 cm longer (4.75 m in total), 7 cm wider (1.92 m) and 18 cm higher, it does not hide its similarities with its little sister. The front end – with its 117-litre “trunk” – is quite low, and in profile Tesla has added black trim around the wheel arches that appear to have played with the proportions in the design. The body line is higher, for example, but it is above all the glass sections and the roof line that have gained in space. The most remarkable difference with the Model 3? In the back, there is a real tailgate.
Inside, the differences with the Model 3 are less significant, except for the available space. In the back, all limbs of all passengers will be well taken care of, although the seat could offer more thigh support. It’s nice that the rear seat backrest is adjustable and the glass roof adds to the feeling of space. The trunk is much larger than the Model 3’s – Tesla talks about 854 litres, but that seems like a very optimistic estimate to us – but it lacks a trunk cover.
At the front, we discover the same minimalist dashboard as in the 3, with the two induction chargers for smartphones and the large central screen where we do almost everything. Including mirror adjustment and speed reading. Everything is very sleek and you quickly get used to the controls and menu structure, but, especially for speed, Tesla should really consider a head-up display. The quality of finish, sometimes problematic with previous Teslas, is no longer an issue with this Model Y. The only drawback up front is the front seats, which could offer better support.
For now, Tesla sells its Model Y in two versions: Long Range or Performance. Traditionally, Californians never want to give too much technical detail. They say the Long Range can travel 533 kilometers (WLTP) on a full battery charge, while reaching 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds and a top speed of 217 km/h. The more powerful Performance should cover 514 kilometers on a full battery charge, take 3.7 seconds to reach 100 km/h and reach a top speed of 250 km/h.
Autonomy at the height
We tried the Model Y Long Range, which showed in practice on its screen a range of 490 km in progressively milder spring temperatures. Better still: the autonomy displayed corresponds more or less to the real autonomy. Also on the highway. An average consumption of around 17 kWh/100 km is therefore impressive for a 2.0 tonne electric crossover and few competitors follow suit. Additionally, Tesla’s network of Superchargers remains unmatched to this day.
The capacity of the battery can only be guessed at – although it is usually estimated at 82 kWh – and Tesla does not want to talk about the power of the electric motors either. The car’s official documents state that the electric motors develop 158 kW (215 hp) in the front and 220 kW (299 hp) in the rear. The combined power would then be 514 hp, but the Model Y Long Range does not seem so powerful. Maybe Tesla will unleash this full power in the long run via over-the-air updates…
So it’s no surprise that the Model Y Long Range also starts with a bang thanks to instant torque. However, in practice, this surplus is used mainly during overtaking maneuvers and the Model Y is preferred in comfort. The steering is artificially heavy and distant, making it difficult to attack corners with the same enthusiasm as in the Model 3, but thanks to the fairly low center of gravity, this Model Y is just as unfazed on twisty roads. Thankfully, the Y’s extra pounds don’t translate to a reduction in ride comfort. Much like the Model 3, this Tesla is also quite dry in its response to the roughness of the road, but even with our Long Range’s 20-inch wheels – 19-inch wheels are standard – everything stays within limits.
Finally, the way Tesla monitors its surroundings is impressive. “Our” Y identifies and distinguishes types of road users and, for example, correctly sees whether traffic lights are red or green. However, it should not be thought of as the best: in this regard, we believe that Mercedes is doing a little better. In practice, Autopilot seems to return control to the driver fairly quickly, or intervene quite abruptly. But the evolution of this part of the automotive sector is rapid, and improvements will undoubtedly be made over time.
For the Model Y Long Range, Tesla is now asking €65,990 (France: €62,990) and €70,000 for the Performance. That’s about $4,000 on top of the Model 3 price. You’ll also have to pay extra for a body color other than white and an interior color other than black. A supplement will also be required to obtain more functions from the Autopilot system. The biggest competitor is probably the popular Skoda Enyaq iV. At €43,090 (France: €37,930), it is significantly cheaper, but its battery is smaller and its range is therefore less. The price difference is reduced with versions with a larger battery. The same goes for the technically related Audi Q4 E-Tron (€44,400 and France: €42,800). If you add the Ford Mustang Mach-E, it has a price of €56,250 (France: €56,400), but even here it has to give way to the autonomy of the Model Y.
In addition to being a logical addition to the Tesla lineup, the Model Y is the Tesla best suited to families. It combines a generous interior space with an equally spacious trunk and, in addition, it has an almost unbeatable range. The price is correspondingly high, but that doesn’t worry the majority of customers so much – especially businesses.