Tesla Model Y: First Look Review

  • Tesla's most popular EV worldwide
  • Delivers an EPA-est. range of up to 310 miles
  • Priced from USD 43,990 (excl. USD 1,390 destination fee and USD 250 order fee)
  • Competes with the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 & Toyota bZ4X

Launched in 2020, the Tesla Model Y is one of the most popular EVs globally. Manufactured in the U.S., Germany, and China, the Model Y is Tesla’s cash cow and an established benchmark in the global mid-size EV segment for customers. I recently saw a Solid Black Model Y in the Performance variant and a Deep Blue Metallic Model Y in the Long Range variant on display and checked out their design and features in detail. Here’s what I think about the electric SUV:

Design

The Tesla Model Y features a soft, clean exterior that doesn’t brag much about being an SUV apart from a moderately high ground clearance and lower body and wheel arch cladding. While I like its certain design elements, such as the humble-looking curvy headlamps, concave nose section, turbine-shaped 20-inch wheels, J-shaped door handles, and wide tail lamps, I don’t find it SUV enough.

I think the Model Y is essentially a raised, egg-shaped Model 3. It’s not just that it lacks the basic masculinity and toughness of a typical SUV, as its shape from certain angles looks slightly off. Tesla isn’t renowned for its production quality, so I checked this Model Y for any exceptionally big or inconsistent panel gaps and other possible build defects. I found out that the car was well built, and the Deep Blue Metallic color gave it a good floor presence.

Interior

The Tesla Model Y has a space-focused, low-key interior with a slightly futuristic vibe. There’s no instrument cluster here, which I think might be difficult to adjust for drivers switching from most mainstream brands. The Model Y has a slim dashboard with almost hidden AC vents and a thick trim piece positioned at such a height that it virtually merges with the same decor element in the door panels for a wraparound look.

Between the All Black and Black and White interior color schemes, my pick would be the latter. I think the wood trim in the former looks a little out of place. In the dual-tone option, the white color gives me the feel of sitting in a premium or luxury vehicle and makes the cabin look brighter and airy.

As much as I liked the 15-inch touchscreen infotainment system due to its big size and crisp UI, I was a little annoyed by the fact that I needed to use it for even some of the most basic interior functions. I wish Tesla has used regular volume knobs and climate control switches in the EV. Opening the glovebox would’ve been simpler and more convenient if it was possible with a push.

I’m six feet tall, and in my experience, the ingress and egress in the front of the cabin was a breeze. When I sat in the driver’s seat, I felt that the three-spoke steering wheel felt the perfect grip. I had adequate lumbar support and generous headroom. The cushion could have offered a little more under-thigh support. The all-around visibility was good, except for the thick A-Pillar base.

Entering and exiting the rear of the cabin was made easier by the high rear seat. The Performance variant is strictly a five-seater. The Long Range variant is available in the five- and seven-seat versions and the blue-colored unit was in the latter. When I sat in the second-row bench seat, I checked the headroom first because of the EV’s low and fast-sloping roofline. I found that my head was well clear of the glass roof, but headroom and legroom in the third row would be too tight for adults.

The Model Y offers 76.2 cu. ft. of maximum cargo space in the 5-seat version (seen in the first picture of the gallery below) and 72 cu. ft. (seen in the second picture of the gallery below) in the 7-seat version. Plus, it has a front trunk with an additional 4.1 cu. ft. cargo space.

Driving impressions

The Tesla Model Y uses two motors in the Long Range and Performance variants, one to spin the rear wheels and the other to push the front wheels. A 0-60 mph sprint takes just 4.8 seconds in the Long Range variant, which is pretty quick for an SUV of this segment. Most experts who have reviewed the Model Y Long Range find it impressive in many other aspects.

The Model Y Long Range’s steering is light, which makes the EV easily maneuverable in the city, and it’s responsive, too, which instills confidence in the driver. Weighing 4,363 pounds, the Model Y Long Range is quite heavy, but its handling is impressive. It doesn’t have much body roll, which means it can be fun to drive on twisty roads. The braking performance is superb, too.

Tesla Model Y Performance rear

The Model Y Long Range doesn’t shine in ride quality, although it doesn’t score extremely poorly in that aspect, either. While it does a fantastic job of not letting unwanted noises into the cabin, smaller bumps and broken patches on the roads can be felt. That’s a small price to pay for how brilliantly it drives, though. The Model Y Long Range delivers an EPA-est. range of up to 310 miles (19-inch wheels)/292 miles (20-inch wheels).

The Model Y Performance offers a pulsating driving experience with an even quicker acceleration, zooming from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds (with the first foot of rollout subtracted). It does compromise on ride quality, though, because of its firmer chassis and bigger, 21-inch wheels. The typical downsides of performance-oriented changes, including harsh ride and more tire noise, can be sensed in the cabin.

Price

The Tesla Model Y retails at USD 43,990 in the base variant, USD 48,990 in the Long Range variant featured in this story, and USD 52,490 in the range-topping Performance variant. These prices exclude a USD 1,390 destination fee and a USD 250 order fee.

TopElectricSUV says

The Tesla Model Y might not have the design of a proper SUV, but it does offer the practicality of one. Plus, with impressive performance and driving dynamics, a decent driving range, and reasonable pricing, it’s clear why it has become one of the world’s top-selling passenger cars.

Tesla Model Y FAQs

What is the Tesla Model Y price?

The Tesla Model Y’s prices start at USD 43,990 (excl. USD 1,390 destination fee and USD 250 order fee).

What is the Tesla Model Y range?

The Tesla Model Y has an EPA-est. range of up to 310 miles.

Which EVs are Tesla Model Y rivals?

The Tesla Model competes with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Toyota bZ4X.