Tesla Model Y Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Wednesday 4th October


What is it like to drive?

Nothing revelatory here. The Model 3’s synthetic, disconnected-feeling steering lives on. So does Tesla’s well-calibrated brake feel and nicely-judged re-gen effect. Acceleration is strong and seamless even in the non-Performance we’ve tested, carrying you from 0-60mph in under five seconds in the Long Range and on to 100mph in under 15 seconds, effortlessly.

Is it comfy?

Without air springs or adaptive dampers, the ride on standard-fit 20-inch rims isn’t as mature as what the mainstream German rivals can offer you. There’s a sense Tesla fits the car with suspension, but doesn’t really spend much time calibrating it or seeing if the rebound rate could be fine-tuned to really settle the car’s behaviour. Or if the car itself could ride more quietly.

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It’s more ‘good enough’ than ‘good’, and betrays one of the ways in which Tesla could still learn something from the dinosaurs it seeks to extinct. We mean ‘encourage into a cleaner future’. Of course.

What about refinement?

Wind noise is well-suppressed despite the full-length glass roof, which can sometimes exacerbate how echoey a greenhouse-on-wheels is at a cruise.

Tell me about the handling.

In the corners, you sense the low centre of gravity, but the numb steering and slack damping degrade confidence in leaning on the Model Y.

Try anyway and you’ll discover well-balanced grip across the axles and commendable cornering speeds for a crossover, but nothing memorably engaging. There is a sport mode for the steering and it’ll weight up the wheel massively, but there’s still a lack of feel. The Model Y is hardly a Porsche Macan for the electric age. Maybe Porsche’s new electric Macan will be?

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How far can I go without suffering range anxiety?

Now the Model 3 is one of the most efficient and honest EVs we’ve ever tested for getting close to its claimed range. The Model Y should follow suit, but it’s around 150kg heavier plus a bit taller and less slippery, so the Model 3 will probably remain the overall range champion.

As ever with EVs there’s no definitive range estimate (it all depends on the weather and how heavy your right foot is), but a full charge in the Long Range would certainly get you close to or over the 300-mile mark even with some motorway miles thrown in. Mightily impressive.

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