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Tesla Model Y first drive | a practical but hard-riding family EV

"Based on our initial drive, we’re confident the car can achieve 300 miles between charges."

4 Tesla Model Y
BIK List Price
Tesla Model Y BIK list price
BIK Percentage
Tesla Model Y BIK Percent
Tesla Model Y CO2
Combined MPG
Tesla Model Y MPG


Love it or hate it, Tesla is making bold moves in the fleet space. It may have a non-conventional approach to most things it does, but there’s no ignoring the recent popularity of the Model 3 among company car drivers.

With the new Model Y, Tesla enters the family SUV space to take on models such as the Audi Q4 e-tron and Kia EV6. It’s based, largely, on the Model 3 – sharing a platform, powertrain and design language. It features a practical hatchback, rather than the Model 3’s saloon boot, and a raised seating position for those on board.

Two versions will be available in the UK, both using a dual-motor setup for all-wheel drive. The £54,990 Long Range can cover up to 315 miles on a single charge, while the £64,990 Performance manages 298.

We tested the Long Range variant, which should satisfy most drivers with 384PS and a 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds. It straddles the premium electric SUV segment, offering similar range and performance credentials to models including the BMW iX3 and Mercedes-Benz EQC.

Based on our initial drive, we’re confident the car can achieve 300 miles between charges. It also has 250kW rapid charging capability, meaning a 10-80% top up takes less than 40 minutes hooked up to a compatible charger.

The large central touchscreen houses all the car’s controls, from sat-nav and climate to headlights and wipers. It even doubles up as the instrument cluster. It’s here that Tesla’s technology focus is apparent. The system is slick, with immediate response, excellent graphics and an intuitive layout. The 15-inch screen dominates the interior and provides access to features that other carmakers do not offer, like a bioweapon defence filtration system for the air con, video games that utilise the car’s steering wheel and pedals (when parked) and a special mode if you want to take the car camping.

As impressive as the digital experience is, it can also be frustrating. Simple functions like adjusting the door mirrors or turning on one of the heated seats requires a delve into the system. We’d also prefer a speedometer that appears in the driver’s line of sight, either as a head-up display or separate screen.

With little else to take up space in the cabin, there’s plenty of room for passengers and the boot is massive – providing up to 857 litres of luggage space. More storage space can be found in the front, under the bonnet.

The minimalist design may not be to all tastes, but we were pleased to notice an uplift in material and build quality compared with previous Tesla Models we’ve experienced. The only niggle was a rattle coming from a panel in the rear.

Drivability is another impressive attribute. The Model Y is agile, with sharp steering and responsive brakes. There’s not much body roll, despite the raised ride height, although the firmer suspension, combined with 20-inch alloys, made the ride on our test car unsettled. We’d be cautious of specifying these over the standard-fit 19-inch wheels.

We don’t doubt that eligible drivers will rush to place their orders for the Model Y. It’s desirable, capable and practical. The first batch is due to arrive in Q1 of 2022, with the Performance version following in the summer. Alongside the Model Y’s introduction, Tesla’s
corporate sales team is working a new system to streamline the way it interacts with the sector, in the hope that it can eliminate some of the pain points previously experienced.

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Top Speed
Tesla Model Y Top Speed
VED band
Tesla Model Y Ved
Fuel Type
Tesla Model Y Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : £27,706
4 Year 80k : £22,731
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : 58.73
4 Year 80k : 54.49

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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