New Tesla Model Y vs Audi Q4 e-tron vs Kia EV6: interiors
Tesla’s new electric SUV gets offto a great start by being based on the excellent Model 3 saloon – but is it good enough to beat its front-running rivals from Audi and Kia...
Behind the wheel
Driving position, visibility, build quality
Concentrating solely on seat comfort and the relationship between the seat, steering wheel and pedals, the Audi Q4 e-tron has the best driving position of the three. Everything falls readily to hand and, as in the Tesla Model Y, the seat places you high enough to know that you’re driving an SUV rather than a hatchback. That’s not the case in the Kia EV6.
The Q4 also has the most reach adjustment for the steering wheel; if you’re tall, this means you can slide the seat well back without having any issues reaching the wheel. Making similar adjustments is a trickier process in the Model Y, involving a combination of scroll wheels on the wheel and icons on the central screen. It’s all a bit of a faff.
All three benefit from electrically operated driver’s seats, although the Model Y’s could do with more bolstering around the sides and shoulders to hold you in position through corners. Driving in a spirited manner requires you to brace your leg against the door or centre console to stop yourself from sliding out of the seat – something that isn’t necessary in the Q4 and EV6.
The usability of the dashboard controls is tough to fault in the Q4 and EV6. Both feature big, chunky buttons and switches that are clearly marked and well spaced out. Adjusting the interior temperature is just a case of pressing buttons in the Q4 and twisting a dial in the EV6 – just as it should be. In the Model Y, you’re once again forced to use the touchscreen; this is more distracting when you’re driving.
Although the interiors are very different from each other in design, there isn’t a great deal in it for quality. By a small margin, the Q4 feels the most solid. Then again, the dashboard’s prominent plastic ledge isn’t all that appealing and there are some cheaper-feeling materials around the centre console.
So, while the EV6 and Model Y don’t feel quite as robust, they’re just as good when it comes to the quality of the materials. True, the Model Y makes do with plasticky-feeling ‘vegan’ leather seats, but the rest of its interior is surprisingly well finished, with an open-grain wood dashboard face lending the minimalist design an upmarket feel.
The EV6, meanwhile, has a pleasant mix of gloss black and rubberised surfaces on its dashboard, along with a pair of upmarket faux-suede front seats. And in many ways it looks the most modern inside, with a centre console that appears to hover between the front seats.
Tesla Model Y
The Model Y uses the same 15.0in touchscreen infotainment system as the Tesla Model 3; 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. And while it’s the only system without Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone mirroring, you do get loads of features. You can even watch Netflix or play video games.
Audi Q4 e-tron
If you order a new Q4 now, you’ll get an upgraded, 11.6in touchscreen, but the smaller size of the current 10.1in display doesn’t have an impact on usability. That’s because the operating system is intuitively laid out and makes good use of large, easy-to-hit icons. You also get a three-year subscription to Audi’s online services. If you love listening to music on the go, you’ll want to add the £1295 Comfort and Sound Pack for its more powerful Sonos stereo system.
The EV6 comes with a curved 12.3in touchscreen that’s positioned conveniently high up, where it’s very easy to see. It has a relatively intuitive operating system, so it’s not too distracting to use while you’re driving, and the occasional gremlins that early models suffered from appear to have been fixed; the system in our test car operated smoothly. As a nice little bonus, in this range-topping trim you get a great-sounding 14-speaker Meridian sound system.
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