New Tesla Model Y RWD and Skoda Enyaq Coupé vs Hyundai Ioniq 5

It was already a huge seller, and with the introduction of this new RWD version, the Tesla Model Y is more temptingly priced than ever. But are rivals from Hyundai and Skoda actually better?...

Tesla Model Y vs Skoda Enyaq Coupé vs Hyundai Ioniq 5 fronts

The contenders

NEW Tesla Model Y RWD

List price £44,990
Target Price £44,990

Early UK versions of Tesla’s smallest SUV suffered from a shonky ride. Has this issue been resolved? And does the entry-level rear-wheel-drive version make sense?

NEW Skoda Enyaq Coupé iV 80 Suite

List price £46,205
Target Price £45,636

The Enyaq has long been one of our favourite electric SUVs, and now there’s a sleeker Coupé version for those who think the regular car is a bit boxy

Hyundai Ioniq 5 77kWh RWD Premium

List price £46,945
Target Price £45,906

It’s debatable whether Hyundai’s striking Ioniq 5 is an SUV or just a regular hatchback, but recent updates, including a bigger battery, should make it tough to beat

We had high hopes for the Tesla Model Y ahead of its 2021 arrival in the UK. Its lower-riding sibling, the Tesla Model 3, was well established as our favourite electric car, and the Model Y promised a big boost in practicality without a big price hike. What wasn’t to like?

Well, quite a lot, as it turned out. The ride was uncomfortably bumpy, for starters, and there was enough road and suspension noise to give you earache. It just generally felt like a rushed rehash of the Model 3 to turn it into an SUV, rather than a product honed with proper care and attention.

Tesla Model Y rear action

However, more recent experience of the Model Y indicates that Tesla has belatedly spent time giving it a bit more polish, and this is our first chance to try the entry-level RWD version. RWD stands for ‘rear-wheel drive’; the more expensive Long Range and Performance versions we've tried previously also have a second electric motor to drive the front wheels. The RWD sacrifices some performance and its battery is smaller, but then it is quite a lot cheaper to buy.

Indeed, it’s cheaper than an equivalent version of the new Skoda Enyaq Coupé. As the name suggests, this is a swoopier-roofed version of the excellent Skoda Enyaq, which was also launched in 2021. It comes with a bigger battery than its American rival and promises a healthily longer range between charges.

Our final contender is the Hyundai Ioniq 5. Like the other two cars in this test, it has a single motor driving its rear wheels, and a refresh late last year endowed it with a bigger battery and an official range almost as long as the Enyaq’s. It can charge up quicker than its rivals here, too.

Skoda Enyaq Coupe rear action


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

If you know anything about Tesla, you probably know its cars have a reputation for being ludicrously fast. Well, not this one. Okay, you could never describe this entry-level Model Y as sluggish, but it doesn’t throw you back in your seat like a proper sports car might.

Floor the accelerator from a standstill, or when you’re pootling along slowly, and power is intentionally limited to prevent wheelspin in slippery conditions. For this reason, the Model Y loses ground to the Ioniq 5 away from the mark and is still lagging behind at 50mph. After that, though, the Model Y’s electronics stop pulling on the reins and it begins to edge ahead of its South Korean rival.

The Enyaq? Well, it stays with the Model Y up to 40mph, but it’s then left trailing in the wake of both rivals. Its 0-60mph time of 7.9sec is quicker than most equivalent petrol and diesel alternatives, though, and most family SUV buyers will consider the Enyaq plenty quick enough.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 rear action

When it comes to slowing down, all three cars need a remarkably similar stretch of Tarmac in which to stop from 70mph. However, the Model Y has the most natural-feeling brakes; they’re quite sharp initially, but the pressure you apply to the pedal seems to correspond directly with how quickly the car sheds speed.

That isn’t always the case in the other two. Both have more pedal travel before anything happens, and beyond that some inconsistency, which can make it tricky to judge exactly how hard you need to push the pedal down. Still, it’s less of an issue in either than in some electric cars and is something you get used to.

All three offer multiple levels of regenerative braking (which recovers energy under deceleration and, as a side effect, makes the car shed speed faster without touching the brake pedal). You need to use the touchscreen if you want to adjust this in the Model Y, while the Ioniq 5 and Enyaq have handy paddles behind the steering wheel for the job.

Tesla Model Y side action

If you’re looking for an EV that does a great job of isolating you from the outside world, it’s best to steer clear of the Model Y. It now comes with a rear parcel shelf (early versions didn’t) that helps to reduce suspension reverberations that echo around the interior – but only to a degree. It’s still the noisiest car here, with a fair bit of tyre noise at a 70mph cruise.

There’s a bit of tyre roar in the Ioniq 5, too, and it’s joined by some wind flutter around the sides of the windscreen. So, it’s the Enyaq that cocoons you best from unwanted disturbances; compared with the Model Y, it feel as though you’re in a mobile wellness resort as you waft down the motorway.

And waft you will, because the Enyaq has easily the calmest ride of the three, no matter what speed you’re doing. By contrast, the Ioniq 5’s softer suspension does a good job of keeping things smooth along motorways and fast A-roads but struggles to keep the car settled around town, or when sharp-edged bumps are thrown into the mix.

Skoda Enyaq Coupe side action

The Ioniq 5 is still a comfier choice than the Model Y, though. Tesla has calmed down the woefully fractious ride that  afflicted early UK versions, but the suspension is still relatively firm by family SUV standards.

You might imagine the pay-off for this would be agile, entertaining handling, but that isn’t really the case. Sure, the Model Y stays the most upright through corners and grips the road pretty well, but its hyperactive steering makes it feel nervous when you’re driving quickly – particularly along a narrow country road.

The Enyaq’s calmer steering is more appropriate for an SUV and gives you more confidence when driving quickly. No, it’s not sporty, but the Enyaq always feels safe and composed and is respectably capable – just like a family SUV should be.

When you’re driving slowly, the Ioniq 5 is similarly easy to pilot and has no real vices. Get out on a faster road, though, and you might be surprised by how much body lean there is through corners. The Ioniq 5 doesn’t like being asked to change direction quickly, either.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 side action

A long journey won’t cause much range anxiety in any of these cars, although for slightly different reasons. In our real-world range tests, on a simulated mix of motorways, town and rural roads, the Enyaq averaged a respectable 3.6 miles per kilowatt hour (kWh), which translates to a theoretical maximum range of 277 miles. That’s close to a best-case scenario, measured on a warm day; don’t expect to go that far in the winter.

The Ioniq 5 wasn’t quite as efficient (3.5 miles/kWh) but has a fractionally bigger battery, so its maximum range works out at 271 miles. And the Model Y? Well, it has a much smaller battery than its rivals here (57.5kWh versus around 77kWh), so unsurprisingly it can’t go as far between charges. Still, its excellent real-world efficiency of 4.0 miles/kWh means it gets respectably close, with a theoretical maximum range of 230 miles. Plus, when you do need to charge, you have ready access to Tesla’s excellent proprietary Supercharger network (more on which later).

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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