Prescriptiveness characterises the Model Y’s handling as well. Great if that matches how you drive, but frustrating if it doesn’t. By any objective standard, it handles well. Stiff suspension and ultra-quick (two turns lock to lock) steering make this big, heavy car feel remarkably agile, because it has the grip to back up those responses, thanks to wide, Tesla-specific 255-section Hankook Ventus S1 tyres.
When you power out of corners hard, you can just about feel there’s some rear torque bias to the driveline, but the traction control is quite restrictive and won’t allow any real rotation. The stability systems in general are conservative but well tuned and won’t freak out when you lift off mid-corner, which isn’t always the case on heavy, tall SUVs. It’s easy to see how someone with little experience of performance cars could drive a Model Y and be bowled over by the prodigious performance, high level of grip and keen responses. However, it is all a little one- dimensional, and a Kia EV6, or even a Volvo C40 Recharge, feels more natural to drive. It’s competent rather than fun.
The one element that is simply poor is the steering. Its weight can be adjusted between Comfort, Standard and Sport, but even in Comfort it is heavy in a gloopy, unnatural way that is reminiscent of electric power steering systems of 10 years ago.
Particularly frustrating is that the Model Y takes 12.1m between kerbs to turn. Where there is no motor between the front wheels, most ground-up EVs allow massive steering angles with an excellent turning circle as a result. For comparison, a Skoda Enyaq needs only 9.3m and even the conventional four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid Jaguar F-Pace P400e requires less than the Tesla, at 11.9m.