I’ve had the good fortune to test over a dozen electric cars from various brands over the years, but never a Tesla — until now. Since the company doesn’t provide press cars, I borrowed a 2022 Model Y from a friend and put it through its paces.
Mostly, I enjoyed the Model Y — especially its effortless charging experience — but a few negatives stood out, too.
The Model Y comes with an impressive assortment of tech features accessed through its snappy, iPad-like touchscreen.
When you activate the turn signal, a blind-spot camera view pops up. When I stopped for 20 minutes to charge, I played a racing game that used the actual steering wheel. Other wacky features include Netflix and the ability to blast fart noises outside the car.
When I walked around the car taking photos for this story, the SUV’s Sentry Mode noticed me snooping around and started recording. The navigation system was a breeze.
Overall, Tesla’s interface reminded me more of an Apple product than traditionally clunky car software.
What’s not so good is that Tesla did away with virtually all buttons and instead stuffed most basic functions into the touchscreen. The controls take some getting used to and can be distracting to use while driving.
Want to flip on the butt warmers, direct the air vents, or change the wiper speed? Those will all require some taps or a voice command. Things that normally live in an instrument panel, like one’s speed, battery level, and cruise-control settings, are displayed on the screen.
For all their advanced features, Teslas lack Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
To tech fanatics who love living on the bleeding edge, this all may represent a welcome progression toward a smarter, more efficient era in car design. To others, it may feel more like an overcomplicated solution to a question nobody asked.
With an estimated 4.8-second sprint to 60 mph and the instant acceleration inherent to EVs, the Model Y will knock you back into your seat and startle unsuspecting passengers. Steering is tight and precise, too. The downside here is that the Y rides on the stiff side.
The souped-up Performance version promises to hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, but the regular Long Range model will be plenty of fun for most buyers and comes with all-wheel drive.
Many EVs sacrifice driving range for enhanced performance or vice-versa. But the Model Y manages to check both boxes with a strong EPA rating of up to 330 miles.
Perhaps the best reason to buy from Tesla is the Supercharger network, which includes some 1,500 locations and is only open to Tesla owners. It makes charging seamless.
Plot a route in your Tesla, and the car will add in any necessary charging stops. Pull up to a Supercharger, and all you have to do is plug in. In other EVs, charging can be cumbersome and sometimes requires swiping a credit card, signing up for a membership, or downloading an app.
You don’t realize just how busy other car interiors are until you get behind the wheel of a Tesla. The Model Y’s uncluttered and sleek cabin feels special and I found it pleasant to spend time in.
A big glass roof creates a sense of openness.
Tesla did a great job of maximizing space for passengers and their stuff. The Model Y boasts 76.2 cubic feet of cargo space, beating out similarly sized rivals. That’s also more than popular gas-powered crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue.
The Model Y benefits from a front trunk and a surprisingly large under-floor storage spot in back.