Tesla Model Y interior

The Model Y’s interior looks and feels like a Model 3, so it’s super minimalist, while material quality seems decent enough

Style

The interior design of the Model Y is pretty much identical to that of the recently updated Model 3. That means it either looks cool and minimalist or a little basic depending on your viewpoint.

The large central screen sitting proud of the dashboard remains the focal point of the interior, with only essential items such as window switches and indicator/wiper stalks receiving physical buttons. It’s certainly a cleaner, simpler environment than most other electric SUVs, but you might prefer to trade in a few physical buttons when trying to operate features on the move.

Still, there’s a few neat details and design touches that Tesla has brought in. For example, there are no physical door handles because the doors are electrically opened, so a simple pull up lever (like a big window switch) is used. Similarly, there is no ‘start’ button or key – the car is simply on once you’ve unlocked it and stepped inside via an RFID card or Tesla’s smartphone app. When using the former you’ll have to rub it below the cupholders first, though.

Other neat touches include a pair of wireless smartphone charging pads located just below the screen. There’s also sun visors that use magnetic clips, while the Tesla trademark panoramic glass roof floods the cabin with light.

Material quality is certainly better than Teslas used to be. Granted, there is still some way to go before a Model Y matches the best that BMW, Mercedes or Audi can offer in terms of fit and finish, but it isn’t far off. Most elements feel pleasing to the touch, although the faux leather on the wheel and seats isn’t the nicest around.

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Infotainment

The dominant feature in the Tesla Model Y’s cabin is, of course, the huge centre screen. No matter which version you go for it is 15 inches in size and landscape oriented, and basically everything is controlled through it.

When we say everything, we really mean it. To adjust the steering wheel, for example, you need to head to the Car menu and select wheel adjustment, which you can then do by sliding the rotary wheel dial up, down, left or right. The same applies to the door mirrors – only the indicators, windscreen wash/wipe and drive selector are operated by physical controls.

While the heavy reliance on the screen can be irritating at times, it mostly works fine because the screen itself is so large, crisp and responsive. Other manufacturers still haven’t quite caught up with Tesla’s excellent operating system, which is packed full of features yet not confusing or daunting to use.  That said, some of the buttons on the screen are quite small, so can be harder to hit when trying to concentrate on driving at the same time.

The satellite navigation is easy to program, though, and the colourful, slick Google Maps imagery makes directions a doddle to follow. It’s good enough that you soon forget Tesla doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

One complaint we continue to have is that there is no separate display for the speedometer, which means you have to keep looking over to the central screen to check you’re within the limit. Given how fast Teslas are you’ll be doing this often, so it’s a shame there’s not even a head-up display option to keep your speed in your line of sight.

There’s plenty of opportunity for charging your smartphone in the Model 3, because you get a couple of USB-C ports in the front and another couple in the back, plus not one but two wireless charging pads below the screen.

 

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