New Tesla Model Y vs Tesla Model 3: interiors

Elon Musk’s Tesla has given us two hugely desirable electric cars in the Model 3 saloon and new Model Y SUV. Let’s see how they differ and which one you should choose...

Tesla Model Y 2022 dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Plenty of manufacturers build SUVs on the same basic underpinnings as their saloon cars. However, while the starting point is the same, the end results are usually so different that you probably wouldn’t even realise the cars are related.

Tesla’s approach has been rather more simplistic and, on the face of it at least, has involved raising the height of the roof and mounting the seats on stilts. The dashboard, controls and even the positioning of the steering wheel and pedals appear unchanged. So, you sit farther from the road in the Tesla Model Y but look down on the dashboard in a slightly unnatural way. The whole arrangement feels much more cohesive and better suited to the Tesla Model 3.

The ‘vegan leather’ front seats in both cars are comfy enough when you’re going in a straight line, and they have full electric adjustment, but they could do with a bit more support around the sides and shoulders to hold you in position through corners.

Tesla Model 3 2022 dashboard

The steering wheel in both is electrically adjustable, too, although the process isn’t as easy as you might imagine. You first need to use the touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard to tell the car what you want to do, and then play about with small controls on the steering wheel to move it into position. It’s all a bit of a faff.

Both cars have fairly thick windscreen pillars that are angled in such a way that they can hamper your view out at junctions and roundabouts. How badly this affects you will depend on how tall you are and your driving position. Lanky drivers might also find that the Model Y’s low-set rear-view mirror obscures their view when turning left.

We’ve been critical of the quality of Teslas in the past, but things seem to have improved. Both cars feel well screwed together inside and the exterior panel gaps are fairly consistent. The interior design is very minimalist in both (you’ll either like that or you won’t), but the materials they’re made with feel fairly upmarket. Don’t expect to be blown away, though; the steering wheel and those ‘vegan’ seats are very obviously trimmed in plastic.

Infotainment systems

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y 2022 touchscreen

Both cars get a 15.0in, landscape-orientated touchscreen. It’s intuitive to use, and while some of the smaller icons can be a bit tricky to hit accurately while you’re driving, the screen responds quickly to inputs. Sound quality from the standard audio system is impressive; that’s fortunate, because there’s no option to upgrade it. The only annoying thing is there’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 2022 touchscreen

All of what we’ve said about the Model Y’s infotainment applies to the Model 3’s too, because, well, it’s exactly the same system. There are loads of useful features (navigation, web browsing and so on), welcome additions such as Netflix and Spotify, and some purely fun applications (driving games controlled using the steering wheel and the ability to make whoopee cushion noises to amuse your passengers).

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