Tesla’s new Model Y crossover can fend off its challengers

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Tesla is taking Irish orders for its new Model Y crossover starting this weekend, with prices starting at € 69,800 for the long-range version and € 79,478. So what can customers expect?

Well a little more interior space, a little less range than an equivalent Model 3, but the same poorly appointed cabin.

And we can all expect the same clamor as customers place their orders for the latest addition to a brand that, despite a growing fleet of competitors, remains the poster child for electric cars.

This crossover complements Tesla’s S3XY lineup, a nomenclature clearly crafted by a group of sneering overgrown teens. Still, it’s no worse than the studied and stilted work of thousands of responsive marketers earning millions from established brands.

And by presenting it as a crossover, Tesla is currently reaching the sweet spot of the automotive market. Yet the style of the Model Y is perhaps the weakest link. Although it looks like a relatively crisscross coupe in its profile, it looks very odd from the front and back. It’s functional and certainly aerodynamic, but considering the effort and demands Elon Musk put on his engineers during the initial development of the first Model S to make sleek, sporty electric cars, it’s disappointing to see. how bland the Model Y has become.

In his fascinating Power Play book on the history of Tesla, the Wall Street Journal’s Tim Higgins details how Musk rowed and fought with engineers and designers to create a great electric car. This was the source of constant clashes during the development of the Model S. The Model Y bulb rather seems a victory for wind tunnel engineers who consider the coefficient of drag to be a deciding factor in relation to all styling characteristics.

Buttons and buttons

Inside, there remains a rarity that contrasts with its rivals, which just can’t seem to get rid of the need for a driver information display. Most have followed Tesla’s touchscreen approach and a few even copy its large tablet in the center, but they still keep a few buttons littered around the car. Tesla, however, remains fundamentalist in his determination to get rid of pimples and pimples. Two rods on the steering column and two balls on the steering wheel are all you get. Plus, of course, that 15-inch touchscreen with layers of menus to navigate.

The truth is, while we were complaining and moaning about this format when it first came out, you eventually get used to it, and on the bright side, there’s a decent voice command system you can fall back on when you’re frustrated. .

When we couldn’t find the button to turn off the heated steering wheel (especially since the menu was in Danish and we couldn’t switch it back to English) by simply telling the Tesla to “turn off the damn heating of the flying “, it does just that.

The best practical news is that there’s plenty of legroom and a cavernous boot. Although the Model Y shares its platform and a lot more with the Model 3, it offers a lot more legroom and headroom than its sibling. What we don’t have yet are details on when a seven-seater version of the Model Y will be offered to Irish customers.

Behind the wheel, the Model Y is one of the sharpest steering Tesla we’ve driven. It’s much more precise than the others in its lineup, and while driving can feel a bit tricky at times (buyers should go for the smaller 19-inch wheels for the best comfort), the advantage is in its handling. For a car of this size, it is remarkably agile. In a recent European Car of the Year track test we attended, the Tesla faced some rivals in a swing test. This involves performing sudden evasive maneuvers at high speed – to avoid momentum, for example.

Over 30 new models tested, including direct Model Y rivals like the new Ford Mustang Mach-E, VW ID4, Skoda Enyaq, Audi Q4, Hyundai Ioniq5 and EV6 from Kia, the Tesla won. The Model Y managed to cover the course at 76 km / h without any cone being touched. It was faster than many sportier sedans also tested that day.

The acceleration is as quick as we’d expect from these electric cars, it’s also smoother than on previous Tesla iterations and the official five-second time for the long-range all-wheel-drive version we tested is comparable to many rivals. What was more impressive were the brakes, which quickly anchored the car and offered more comfort than what is often felt on some EVs.

In terms of range, the Y model claims 488 km with a full charge for the performance version and 507 km for the long range version. It’s competitive with its rivals, with the Audi claiming 508 km and the Ford Mustang Mach E offering up to 610 km on its rear-drive extended-range version. It’s fair to say that none of these cars will leave buyers with much range anxiety these days.

Tesla also has some extra perks up its sleeve, such as its growing network of compressors that can pump 250 kW to the Model Y, allowing it to charge up to 80% of the battery in under 40 minutes. Other competitors can use fast chargers, but most can only support a load of up to 150 kW.

What about the price?

Then there are the regular live software upgrades which add some awesome and meaningful new features to the car while in possession.

So it offers functionality and performance, but what about the price? Starting at € 70,000, that’s at the top of the price range for these mid-size crossovers. After all, a buyer with € 50,000 or so can go for any other new Model Y rival, including the premium brand Audi Q4 e-tron.

There’s also the elephant in the room with Tesla: the build quality. Again, the American brand seems to be constantly improving across the board and this car is much better assembled than the Tesla test cars we’ve driven in the past. Going back to Tim Higgins’ book, inconsistencies between models in the line were the scarecrow of early Tesla production. While there were reports of initial customer issues with some Model 3s when it launched, this has never been a problem across the model lineup and you don’t hear much about it now. The late arrival of the right-hand drive models could be good news for Irish customers, as the initial markets may well have solved the early problems of the Model Y.

Judged against its rivals, this Tesla holds up. The design might not be to everyone’s liking, but especially inside, its clutter-free approach is fresher and more innovative than its rivals. It’s roomy enough for most families and if you can live with it then it’s a better buy than the more expensive Model X.

However, it’s a big step forward from the Model 3, which starts with a standard version (448 km range) for € 49,990. For that, you get all the character and kudos of Tesla in a nicer car.

If you’re determined to go the crossover route, however, this Tesla lives up to any of its newer rivals and if price isn’t an issue then it’s got the head.

Weak points : Long-range all-wheel drive Tesla Model Y
Power: A 158 kW front motor paired with a 220 kW rear motor powered by Tesla’s 75 kW battery
Vary: 507km
Price: € 69,800
Verdict: Relatively expensive but good enough to see from rivals


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