Tesla Model Y: the bigger, more expensive, and better (?) Model 3
This week we are reviewing the 2021 Tesla Model Y in its Long-Range version. This trim offers a great combination of performance and functionality, as it offers plenty of both. Although Tesla stopped disclaiming horsepower and torque measures for its entire line-up, accelerating from 0 to 100km/h takes roughly 5.0 seconds. The range reaches 525km in ideal conditions. Impressive figures, sure, but at $75,190.00 CAD, we shouldn't expect anything less.
Fun Factor: 9
Can it Family: 7.5
City Cruising: 9
First, the elephant in the room: yes, the Model Y is essentially a jacked-up Model 3. It shares the same powertrain and many exterior and interior components while offering an almost too familiar behind-the-wheel driving experience. Sure, one is roomier than the other, taller, wider and also longer, but only roughly 50 pounds separates the two, making the Model Y a sharp tool in corners.
Isn't there another elephant in the room, you might ask? Unfortunately, yes. A review on any Tesla model wouldn't be quite complete without covering the production flaws found on our test model, and in our case, I'm afraid there were many. First, misalignment on the rear driver's side door instantly made us hiss, if not nervously laugh.
Second, a camera malfunction prevented us from using the autonomous driving feature, as the car relies on those to assess traffic information properly. Then, other asymmetrical bits were found on the exterior, only frustrating us further as we looked at the price-tag line displayed on the window-sticker: $75,190.00 CAD. Although we've previously made the argument that Tesla wasn't yet in a position to offer across-the-line quality on their products, there is a certain quality standard that ought to be respected.
In any case, looking past the production flaws and the overall quality of the product, there are still multiple reasons to rejoice when it comes to our Model Y.
Performance indeed is one of them, as there is little to no competition for the Model Y in this category. Sure, the Mustang Mach-E in its GT iteration might go toe-to-toe against a Performance Model Y, but our test-version technically has nothing to do with performance in its character. Its main goal is to offer better range and practicality, yet it still achieves performance figures that could only be observe on top-end performance cars less than a decade ago.
Then comes into play the user-friendliness and accessibility of the charging phenomenon. The charging network and infrastructure built by Tesla more often than not outweigh any possible production flaws in consumers' decision-making process when buying a Tesla. In a few words, the electric car company turned the whole charging/fueling process from something cumbersome and hassling into something fun and easy. Simply fire up the built-in charging map in the infotainment, find the charging station closest to you. When you get there, enjoy an episode of your favourite Netflix show directly with the car's 15inch screen while your car charges up: that really is an Apple-like level of simplicity and truly represents the benchmark in the industry. You will also have access to some interesting quirks(more "funny" than interesting, if we're honest), such as changing the horn sound to a loud and obnoxious fart or even playing a Mario Kart-like game. Plus, the mobile app built by Tesla integrates features not seen anywhere else, like "summon mode" where your parked-Tesla meets you at the front door of the store you're shopping at, rather than you having to walk to it.
Moving onwards with the actual practicality of the car, the Model Y can haul an entire family of 5 very comfortably, even more so if you choose to opt-out of the 7-seater configuration. Although the 3rd row seems tightly designed, it still offers more usable room for passengers while probably making it easier for larger families who can't necessarily afford a six-figure Model X. The leg-room for backseat passengers is more than suitable, while the trunk and frunk combo offer additional space that's more than welcomed. The only vehicle that offers this much space and directly competes with the Model Y is the previously tested Mustang Mach-E. Car seats should be more than easy to install, the leather seats are easy to clean, and the seatbelts easy to access. The cabin is otherwise of the utmost simplicity, for it offers a sleek and ergonomic design, and the bigger-than-life panoramic roof provides the best views one can get.
What's the final verdict? Well, if you can live with the poor price-to-quality ratio, this Model Y has to be recommended as a strong buy. Quite simply, there is no better alternative to everyday living with an electric vehicle than this. The performance is truly sublime, and the overall practicality of the Model Y far surpasses the accomplishments of its smaller Model 3 brother. If you can afford the extra 10 grand or so, definitely opt for the bigger, more expensive and better Model Y.
*This car was provided by Tesla Brossard for the purposes of this review