We dive into everything you need to know about the Tesla Model Y

Bigger than a Model 3, cheaper than a Model X – the Tesla Model Y is Tesla’s most popular model yet.

Unveiled in 2019, the Model Y made its US debut in March 2020 and has already sold over 186,000 models in North America. 

With all the ingredients to be an even bigger hit than the Tesla Model 3, formerly the world's best-selling electric car, the Model Y is a delightful package – desirable looks, more technology than you could shake a stick at, exhilarating driving, decent range… The list goes on.

And indeed the Model Y has become Tesla's - and the UK's - best-selling EV, with over 35,000 new Tesla Model Y's registered in the UK in 2023.

Electric SUVs have grown in popularity over the past few years, with nearly every popular manufacturer adding one to their line-up.

The Model Y competes with the likes of the Volkswagen ID.4, the Skoda Enyaq iV, the Kia EV6, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5. But with a lot to like about the Tesla Model Y, it's no wonder it's shot ahead.

If you’ve had your eye on a Tesla lease for a while but, much like Goldilocks, the Model 3 has been too small and the Model X has been too pricey, a Tesla Model Y lease might be just right.

Tesla Model Y parked

1. The Model Y shares 75% of its parts with the Model 3

There’s no denying it. The Model Y looks a little like a taller hatchback version of the Model 3, with a little extra visual pizzazz.

This is no bad thing; the Model 3 is extremely popular, and there’s no point reinventing the wheel. And the Model Y is good-looking, with its sleek lines and bubble profile that lend it some extra headroom.

But the Model Y shares more than a passing visual resemblance to the Model 3.

Both the 3 and the Y share the same chassis, electric motors, and battery, and the interiors are very similar. Going down the minimalist route, the Model Y’s cabin contains the touchscreen infotainment system, the seats, the steering wheel, and not a lot else.

There’s not much fluff to weigh you down, but the mix of materials used means that the overall experience is still one of luxury and not of frugality.

When it comes to range, though the motor and the battery are the same, the Model Y is heavier thanks to its size and so the battery isn’t quite as efficient – both the Long Range and the Performance trims have a claimed range of up to 315 miles.

And much like a Model 3, we predict the Model Y will be hugely popular for business leasing. Qualifying for the lowest rates of BiK tax and road tax, it makes a competitive option for a Tesla business lease if you're after something with a little more space but the same personality and performance. 

Tesla Model Y rear

2. Works better for families

Though the Model 3 has proven exceedingly popular, its size has held it back. It is a saloon, and the cabin space and boot reflect this. While on the generous size, it’s never been perfect for larger families.

Enter the Model Y.

Its larger size and domed shape give you more leg and headroom, so your taller friends in the rear won’t feel like they’ve got their knees up somewhere near their ears, even in the feared middle seat. The seats are mounted higher too, making the seating position more comfortable and giving you a better view of the road ahead.

The hatchback body style also makes the Model Y more versatile when it comes to carrying stuff. The boot clocks in at a generous 854L, while the boot shape and 40/20/40 seating configuration make it a lot easier to load shopping/suitcases/flat-pack furniture (delete as applicable).

You can even fold the middle seat down and have space for longer, thinner items, like golf clubs and skis.

There’s also decent storage throughout the cabin to pack away all those bits you take into the car and never remove, and with two wireless smartphone charging pads and four USB-C charging sockets, you’ll be able to prevent the arguments before they even start.

Tesla Model Y infotainment system

3. Designed with safety as a priority

Following in the footsteps of the Tesla Model 3 and the Model X, the Model Y has recently been awarded a five-star score by Euro NCAP, with Tesla's commitment to safety clear across its desirable line-up. It might not be the headline stat, but for those who want their car to do a little more than just get them from A to B, knowing the safety rating helps with the decision-making process. 

The body structure of the Model Y not only helps prevent collisions but also – with the help of some large crumple zones – protects the people inside.  

When it comes to the safety tech, there are the usual features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. Every Model Y also comes equipped with Tesla’s Autopilot, which uses rear, side, and forward-facing cameras for its various driver-assist functions, including detecting other cars and helping with parking manoeuvres.  

Autopilot can also help you stay a safe distance from the car in front via automatic throttle and braking inputs, and it’ll keep the car centred between the lane markers. It’s not quite autonomous driving, but it’ll certainly help reduce fatigue on longer journeys.  

Tesla Model Y charging

4. Crammed with innovative technology and Tesla tricks

When it comes to tech, Tesla have long been one of the go-to companies for innovation.

With the dashboard dominated by the 15-inch touchscreen, it’s hard not to see the emphasis Tesla places on its technology.

Aside from the advanced safety features, navigation system, and Spotify connectivity – important for that on-the-go car karaoke – Tesla have also packed the Model Y with plenty of fun, so there’s never a dull moment. Even if you’re stuck in traffic on the M25, you’re attempting to drive Lands’ End to John O’Groats, or you’ve pulled up in a car park to enjoy a sly takeaway.

For example, when you’re parked, you can use the infotainment screen to watch Netflix, play video games, or browse the web.

But that’s not everything.

Tesla – for reasons best left unasked – have also equipped the ‘Toybox’ with interesting features like being able to turn the screen into a virtual fireplace or sounding fart noises instead of the normal indicator click. If that’s a little childish for you, you could also get sleigh bells to chime in instead.

Whichever floats your boat, it’ll certainly break the ice every time you ferry someone new around.

Along with the bags of tech, there are other neat Tesla tricks, like the schedule of over the air updates for Tesla software, and the ability to precondition the battery if you’ve selected a Supercharger as your destination, so you’ll spend less time waiting around for the car to recharge.

Tesla Model Y driving

5. Drives like a sports car

If you want a thrilling driving experience, you’ll love the Performance trim.

Delivering a 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 145mph, it’s a long way from the boxy SUVs of yesteryear that were more suited to hill climbing than motorway sprinting. Even the Long Range model can hit 60mph in 4.8 seconds, and both variants deliver the instant torque that electric driving has become synonymous with.

If you’ve got a deserted patch of road and a little time on your hands, you’ll have great fun punching down the accelerator pedal and making the most of those higher national speed limits, while the AWD system utilises all four wheels to stick the Tesla to the road.

Quick steering and minimal body roll help the Y tackle those tighter corners – useful for those of us who regularly have to tackle country lanes or old market towns – and the quick reactions are more akin to a sports car.

For performance, range, and power, Tesla is almost unbeatable in the electric car world.

Get behind the wheel of your own Model Y in under a month.

Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.