If you live in the US, you might already have a Model Y sitting on your driveway. The California-based firm began delivering cars to American customers way back in March 2020. However, the rest of the world continues to be on tenterhooks, as the Model Y isn’t expected to crop up on UK shores until late 2021 or even 2022.
So what’s all the fuss about, and will you also end up craving one now its arrived? First of all, let’s look at the price... it is hit the UK market this week at £54,990 which is on a more even par with the VW iD.4 than the Mach-E but is a hell of a lot cheaper than the larger Tesla Model X SUV, which starts at around £82,000.
One of the major selling points of the all-wheel-drive Model Y is the range, which is a claimed 314 miles on the WLTP, or ‘Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure’, cycle. Again, that runs the iD.4 close, with the rear-wheel-drive VW having a range of up to 323 miles thanks to a 150 kW electric motor that has 204 PS of power to play with it.
Which brings us to the Model Y’s own powertrain.
You’ll be able to specify the car with either ‘Performance’ or ‘Long Range’ form. Thanks to a battery larger than the iD.4 and which generates around 305 PS, in Performance trim it’ll sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds. In Long Range form that 0-60mph time reduces slightly to a very decent 4.8 seconds. You also get less range with the Performance cars - with 298 miles between charges. The iD.4, on the other hand, takes 8.5 seconds to hit 62mph.
Of course, owning a car isn’t just about how much it costs and how far and fast it goes - it is also about what it’s like to live with. The cabin features a huge 15-inch touch screen, immersive sound system and what Tesla says is an ‘expansive all-glass roof that creates extra headroom and provides a seamless view of the sky.’ If you fold the rear seats down, you get a very decent 1,860 litres of cargo space.
And, should you want them, you can opt for the Model Y to have a third row of seats in the back, turning the car into a 7-seater. Tesla boasts the Model Y will also be the safest car in its class, adding: “The low center of gravity, rigid body structure and large crumple zones provide unparalleled protection.”
In terms of other driver safety features, all Model Y’s will come with emergency braking, collision warning and blind-spot monitoring as standard. And the Model Y will also have Full Self-Driving capability - ‘enabling automatic driving on city streets and highways’ - should such tech ever be allowed on UK roads.
There’s also lots and lots of Tesla accessories to go for - from camping mattresses to centre console wraps. As many owners are reporting, you might want to set aside an extra budget to make sure you can afford all the extras you might end up lusting after! For a really in-depth 10,000 km review direct from one of the lucky Model Y owners in America, head here.
Can’t wait for the Tesla Model Y? Here are the top five alternatives.
If you’re hankering for an all-electric small SUV, chances are you might be holding off from either leasing or buying a new vehicle until the much-anticipated Tesla Model Y hits forecourts.
The good news on that front is that customers are now taking delivery of the first batch of Model Ys.
The bad news is that those customers are located across The Pond in America. And Model Ys might not be arriving in Britain until 2022.
That’s a long time to wait if you’re eager to take the edge off the gloom of Covid-19 with a shiny new vehicle.
So, the question is this - ‘What are the alternatives that are available right now if I don’t want to sit on my hands for more than a year?’
Here we explore your all-electric options:
The Model Y
First things first, let’s have a quick recap of the Model Y, using it as a bit of a benchmark for the other alternatives.
Firstly, it's coming in at a cost of around £55,000 and there are basically two versions available - a Long Range variant and a Performance model.
Both utilise an electric motor that generates a hefty 305 PS. And the Performance model will sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds. The Long Range takes slightly longer to reach 60mph at 4.5 seconds.
Range between charges is 314 miles for the Long Range and 298 miles for the Performance.
And inside the cabin you can expect all the space-age tech you associate with Tesla, including a 15 inch touchscreen and the capability to perform Full Self-Driving - should UK authorities ever allow self-driving cars on our roads.
The new kid on the block, Polestar is the result of a unique link-up between Volvo and Chinese firm Zhejiang Geely Holding.
And the recently released Polestar 2 is as quick as it is good looking.
A 78 kWh battery pack results in 408 hp, a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds, and a range of 292 miles on the WLTP cycle.
A fully Google interface means it’s a doddle to use the infotainment system meanwhile Polestar say they’ve gone above and beyond to make the ‘2’ as safe as possible, with front inner-side airbags and a battery pack protected from damage in the event of a collision.
Tesla Model 3
No, the Model 3 doesn’t pretend to be a small SUV - it’s very much a saloon.
But it is a Tesla and it is available now, so it makes this list.
There are three versions available - ‘Standard Plus’, ‘Performance’ and ‘Long Range AWD’.
The Standard Plus is rear-wheel drive, covers the first 60mph in 5.3 seconds and will travel 267 miles between charges.
The Performance model is, as you might have guessed, much quicker, with a 75 kWh battery allowing it to hit 60mph in 3.1 seconds. It also has a much better range of 352 miles.
Meanwhile the Long Range AWD can travel 360 miles before needing to be plugged in.
Okay, so it’s not a small SUV, it’s very much fully-fledged, and it has a price tag larger than the Model Y, costing from £65,000.
But it is worth considering if your monthly leasing budget will stretch that far.
The EQC is all-wheel-drive, will cover 259 miles between charges, and is brimming with tech, particularly when it comes to the state-of-the-art ‘MBUX’ infotainment system.
It’s also no slouch. With power of 408 hp it’ll do 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds.
With a coupe-like sloping roofline, it also very much looks the part.
Audi e-tron SUV
Audi’s first fully-electric production car, the e-tron SUV has some serious admirers - for good reason.
You can opt for the e-tron with a choice of two batteries - a 71 kWh or a larger 95 kWh version.
The 313 PS 75 only has a range of 193 miles between charges, but the more powerful 408 PS 95 will cover 249 miles before it needs a pit stop.
It’s supremely practical, with a massive 660 litre boot. But should you want it to look more like a regular saloon than an SUV, you can opt for it in ‘Sportback’ form.
The e-tron is slightly slower than the other models here, covering 0-62mph from 5.7 seconds.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Representing the cheapest Model Y alternative, the Hyundai Kona Electric is still a car to be respected - having recently scooped at the ‘Best Small Family Car’ prize at the TopGear Awards.
It’s powered by a 64 kWh battery that equates to around 203 PS - so it’s not as performance orientated as some might have hoped for.
But, despite that, it will still reach 62mph in just 7.9 seconds, which is a time most family owners will be able to live with pretty comfortably.
Range for the Kona Electric is an impressive 300 miles and there’s plenty of goodies for owners to enjoy, including wireless mobile charging and a premium sound system.
*Prices correct as of 20/10/2021. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments. Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.
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