What is it like on the inside?
This will seem very familiar if you’ve had a look inside a Tesla Model 3. Everything’s in the 15-inch touchscreen.
There’s no speed or range readout binnacle in front of the driver, no gear selector in the middle – that’s behind the steering wheel (a rare piece of ergonomic planning) – and only two clickwheels on the steering wheel itself – which we should note is round, because the Y came along before Tesla put that weird yoke in the Model S Plaid.
So is it too techy for its own good?
The same verdict applies here as the other Teslas. We’d always prefer physical switchgear, because it’s easier to use without taking your eyes off the road, and you shouldn’t take your eyes off the road, because no car - not even a Tesla - can drive itself safely in all conditions. But if you must have a touchscreen, this one is top of the class. Swift, sharp and well laid out.
Tell me about practicality…
Tesla said when it revealed the Model Y that it was going to sell one with seven seats, but an official statement from Tesla HQ that came along with this car says ‘we do not have a timeline for other seat configurations at this time'.
So, five super soft American-spec seats it is (covered in either black or white vegan leather), but despite the sloping roofline there’s enough room for adults in the back, the glass roof makes things feel airy and Tesla insists the tint blocks infrared and ultraviolet light.
You get four USB chargers inside, plenty of stowage, and the usual Tesla party trick of a boot in the back and a boot in the nose. But just having such a big tailgate makes this Y a heck of a lot easier to load than the lower Model 3. The hidden stowage beneath the boot floor is enormous – this is truly a five-adults and all their luggage machine. The total stowage is quoted at 854 litres, plus 117 litres in the front trunk (front boot = froot) and over 2,158 litres with the rear seats folded – class best numbers that embarrass the likes of the VW ID.4. The Model Y can apparently tow up to 1,600kg too, if you spec the optional tow bar that'll set you back £1,090 at our most recent inspection of the configurator.
There are mistakes inside, in the details. All five seats are heated, but there are no controls for the bum-warmers in the back, so you have to ask a front seat occupant to activate them in the touchscreen for you. Same goes for the rearward climate control. Diving into the screen to adjust mirrors when parking is annoying.
Rear visibility through the sloped rear window is appalling, there’s no back wiper, the bonnet is impossible to spot out the windscreen and the front boot is shelled in hard plastic, which will age about as gracefully as a Nissan Leaf’s real-world range.