The difference in Performance and Long Range trims mostly comes down to performance, not features. But with an evolutionary infotainment system, over-the-air updates that keep the car as fresh as a smartphone, and good standard equipment, we give it an 8 out of 10.
The most noticeable feature spans overhead. A tinted glass roof stretches from front windshield to rear windshield. The tint has UV and infrared protection so the cabin doesn’t get too hot, and offers the open-air look of a convertible without the wind noise. It elicits the futuristic vibe more than any other feature, and might elicit the humming of the Jetsons theme song…”his boy Elroy.”
There is no key in the traditional sense; instead, vehicle conditioning and access occurs through the Tesla smartphone app or a smart key shaped like a credit card.
Like other Teslas, the Model Y comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, and a 8-year/120,000-mile battery and drive unit warranty. Access to Tesla’s Supercharging network that enables cross-country travel is pay as you go, and the infotainment system or Tesla app will show charge rates and availability.
Both models come well equipped with 60/40-split folding rear seats, remote entry and ignition. 12-way power adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, 14-speaker sound system, power-folding heated side mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity, and four USB ports. There is no smartphone compatibility, and frankly, it isn’t needed because of the peerless infotainment center.
Tesla Model Y infotainment
The centerpiece and nerve center of the Model Y is the 15-by-10-inch touchscreen the size of a laptop. It replaces the instrument cluster, radio controls, climate controls, side mirror buttons, opening the trunk, frunk, and glove box—pretty much every vehicle function except for driving.
It might seem like too much at once, but it takes about a day to get the hang of it.
The left third of the screen acts as the instrument cluster, showing charge, range, and activated driver assistance features. When Autopilot is activated, the graphics show the number of lanes, the type of traffic beside the vehicle so a semi appears as a semi, and other info that instills confidence that the system is seeing what the driver sees.
A large, clear menu bar at the bottom acts like a dock on laptops and desktops. The Toy Box icon showcases Tesla’s whims, such as a fart noise maker with several settings to be activated by pressing the scroll wheel on the steering wheel. Games and a drawing sandbox offer passengers plenty of amusements.
The remaining screen can be used for a stunning map projection that would satisfy Rand McNally, or it can be customized to split media and mapping or any number of other fun Tesla things, such as streaming Netflix when in park
The landscape orientation keeps the driver’s sightline closer to the road than a portrait touchscreen, but it still tempts distraction.
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