In-depth reviews

Tesla Model Y performance, top speed, motor

It’s startlingly quick for a family SUV, but the Model Y is bigger than most of its rivals and has a particularly firm ride

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.0 out of 5

Model0-60mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
Standard Range6.6s135mphRear342bhp
Long Range4.8s135mphFour384bhp
Performance3.5s155mphFour527bhp

All Teslas are ludicrously fast, with the very quickest capable of 0-60mph in less than two seconds, and the same is true of the Model Y. It might be as practical as a small van, but this mid-size electric SUV can certainly get up to speed rapidly should you feel like it. However, the Model Y is big and heavy, so Tesla has had to stiffen the suspension to deal with the extra heft of the SUV compared to the Model 3 saloon. As a result the ride is particularly firm, and some may find the car a bit unwieldy in tighter driving situations.

Tesla Model Y 0-60mph, top speed and acceleration

Startling performance claims are a Tesla-staple at this point, and the Model Y is no different. Even the entry-level, rear-wheel drive version can go from 0-60mph in under seven seconds thanks to a single electric motor producing 342bhp.

The other two variants feature dual-motor setups for all-wheel-drive. The Long Range is slightly quicker to 60mph, taking just 4.8 seconds to complete the sprint to be exact, making it one of the fastest cars in the class. The car’s two electric motors also deliver the instant hit of acceleration familiar to existing Tesla owners. 

Finally, there’s the top-of-the-range Model Y Performance, which is capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. That’s faster than most versions of the much pricier Porsche Taycan, and even matches the 577bhp Kia EV6 GT. The Model Y Performance also boasts a top speed of 155mph, up from 135mph in the Standard and Long Range versions. 

Handling

So far, we’ve only driven the Model Y Long Range, which had no problem putting the power down with its dual-motor setup, and all-wheel drive is 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. Therefore, the BMW iX3 is worth closer examination if you’re looking for an SUV that’s a bit more fun and engaging to drive.

Tesla has also had to stiffen the suspension in order to cope with the additional heft, which means the ride is quite firm. Admittedly, the 20-inch wheels on our test car didn’t help, and while the stiffness might not cause any issues when you’re cruising along on the smooth tarmac of a motorway, the ride is unpleasant on bumpy, potholed UK roads. In comparison, rivals like the Audi Q4 e-tron offer much greater ride comfort.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Model Y is significantly bigger than rivals like the BMW iX3 or Audi Q4 e-tron. That might mean the Tesla gets more space inside, but it also makes parking up in tight spaces or navigating through crowded urban streets more tricky. Although it's definitely more suited to UK roads than the even larger seven-seat Model X.

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