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New Smart #1 vs used Tesla Model Y: interiors

You might be tempted by a brand new Smart #1, but a year-old Tesla Model Y for sub-£40k is hard to refuse. So, which of these electric SUVs should you choose?...

Smart #1 interior


Driving position, visibility, build quality

Although these are SUVs and you do sit higher than you would in a typical hatchback, the Smart #1 and our used Tesla Model Y don't offer up sky-high driving positions. Nonetheless, the driving position feels more natural in the #1 – the pedals and steering wheel line up nicely with the driver. In the Model Y, you feel like the seat has been raised, but the steering wheel and pedals haven't changed much over the lower Tesla Model 3

Forward visibility is excellent, no matter which car you choose, because they have tall windscreens and relatively thin front pillars. The Model Y features a rising rear windowline and a small rear window, mind you, so seeing out the back isn't quite as easy as it is in the #1. Fortunately, both cars gets front and rear parking sensors, plus rear-view and 360-degree cameras as standard. 

Tesla Model Y interior dashboard

The Model Y's interior may look pretty upmarket, with its minimalistic, futuristic design, vegan leather and wood trim. It doesn't feel quite as expensive as it looks, though. At least the built quality is superior to Teslas of old – everything feels decently screwed together. 

Despite this, the #1 is that bit better in terms of quality. It feels like the more premium product, with classier materials used throughout. 

Infotainment systems

Smart #1

Smart #1 infotainment screen

A 12.8in touchscreen infotainment system sits in the middle of the dashboard. On the plus side, the screen is very responsive to inputs, you can play games on it, and there's a pet mode so you can leave an animal in the car without it getting dangerously hot (the Model Y offers the same function).

A fox avatar follows you around from menu to menu, although it's hard to see what benefit this brings. If you're not a fan, you can lose it by using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which was added to the #1 via a new over-the-air download in October. A punchy Beats sound system is standard on this Premium trim.

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y interior infotainment

The Model Y uses the same 15.0in touchscreen infotainment system as the Model 3 and you use it to control almost every feature of the car, from unlocking the charging port to opening the glovebox. For the most part, it’s easy to get the hang of and quick and responsive once you’ve made your selection.

You don't get Android Auto or Apple CarPlay phone mirroring, but there are still loads of features. You can even watch Netflix or play video games.