This is Tesla’s first SUV if like me, you consider the Model X to be an MPV of sorts. And to create it, the engineers simply took the existing Model 3 and inflated it. It’s a little bit longer but a whole lot higher thanks not only to a taller body but also additional ground clearance.
You will be able to buy two versions from its launch early in 2022, the less powerful being the Long Range model tested here with 434bhp, compared to the 483bhp of the Performance version. Either is plenty powerful enough.
Inside you would struggle to tell it apart from a Model 3. The super-clean, minimalist architecture remains with all information, and I do mean all, conveyed by an enormous centrally mounted flat screen. Although it looks beautiful and works really well, the fact you have to take your eyes off the road to find out even how fast you’re going remains this car’s great flaw. You’d have thought that Tesla could have engineered a head-up display in the three years since the Model 3 went on sale.
Otherwise, it has an impressive range, acceleration that is actually pleasant rather than uncomfortable like that of the fastest Model 3, and a spacious interior. Though Tesla hasn’t said, I expect it is considerably stiffer than a Model 3 to manage its height and weight. In short, it’s a decent example of this kind of car, but as with all SUVs derived from saloons, the cheaper, faster, longer range and better driving Model 3 is preferable in almost all regards.
2021 Tesla Model Y Long range specifications
Engine Front and rear electric motors, 75kWh battery (approx)
Torque 424lb ft
Power to weight 217bhp per tonne
Transmission Single-speed, four-wheel drive
Top speed 135mph
Range 315 miles WLTP, claimed
Verdict Spacious and plenty powerful.