In-depth reviews

Tesla Model Y review

The long-awaited Model Y boasts ultra-rapid charging capability and bundles of practicality, making Tesla’s take on the popular mid-size SUV class one of the best electric cars on sale

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Staggering performance
  • Spacious and practical
  • Minimalist, high-tech cabin

Cons

  • Seven seats not available at launch
  • Less range than Model 3
  • Firm suspension
ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Standard Range283 miles11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)36mins (0-80%, 250kW)
Long Range331 miles11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)36mins (0-80%, 250kW)
Performance319 miles11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)36mins (0-80%, 250kW)

When it was first unveiled in 2019, the Tesla Model Y was the only car of its type. But fast-forward to today, and it's one of a dozen electric family SUVs, facing heavy competition from a vast range of similarly priced and extremely talented rivals, including the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia EV6, Skoda Enyaq iV, Toyota bZ4X and Volkswagen ID.4 – with plenty more waiting in the wings.

That makes the Model Y arguably the brand’s most important car to date. It’s essentially an SUV variant of the Model 3 saloon, featuring a raised ride height and up to seven seats in certain markets – not to mention the usual startling performance claims and the potential for class-leading range typical of Teslas.

Like all of Tesla’s cars, it’s hard to mistake the Model Y for anything else on the road. It’s not so much a condensed version of the bigger Model X SUV, but rather a progression of the Model 3’s design, but with a chunkier body and taller roof to allow more room inside. 

Three versions of the Model Y are now available in the UK, with prices starting from a little under £52,000. The entry-level, rear-wheel drive Model Y offers the shortest range of the trio – 283 miles – and can go from 0-60mph in 6.6 seconds.

The other two variants feature dual-motor setups for all-wheel drive. As a result the Model Y Long Range takes just 4.8 seconds to get to 60mph, making it one of the fastest cars in the class, delivering the instant hit of acceleration familiar to existing Tesla owners. It can also cover up to 331 miles on a charge, or an estimated 351 miles if you go for the smaller 19-inch wheels, Tesla claims. Finally, there’s the top-of-the-range Model Y Performance, capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and a range of 319 miles.

The all-wheel drive in our Model Y certainly helped put the power down and will be reassuring whenever the road gets slippery. There’s a strong amount of grip in corners, too. The steering is pretty fast, but due to the car’s two-tonne kerbweight, direction changes aren’t as swift as the speed of the steering would suggest.

Tesla has also had to stiffen the suspension in order to cope with the additional heft over its sister car, the Model 3 saloon, which means the ride is quite firm and can become quite unpleasant on bumpy, potholed UK roads. In comparison, rivals like the Audi Q4 e-tron or Hyundai Ioniq 5 offer much greater ride comfort.

Step inside, and you’re greeted with the same highly minimalist cabin as the Model 3 which is dominated by the 15-inch central touchscreen. Remember, there’s no driver’s display, so everything is operated via the screen – from the wipers to the climate controls. The Model Y’s slick infotainment system works better than most of its rivals, however, getting used to it can be a bit of a learning curve.

You might not be able to get a Model Y with a seven-seat layout in the UK, but there’s plenty of room inside, not to mention a whopping boot space and a 117-litre ‘frunk’ under the bonnet – a feature that the majority of the Model Y’s rivals lack, which is perfect for keeping your charging cables in and more.

Thanks to impressive practicality, decent range and the fact it’s a more appropriate size for UK roads than the Model X, the Model Y will suit a lot of buyers very well. We wish it offered slightly better ride comfort, but it’s still undeniably one of the best electric SUVs on the market. For a more detailed look at the Tesla Model Y, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…

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