New Tesla Model Y vs Tesla Model 3: practicality

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 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

If you’re looking at the Tesla Model 3 and thinking “A saloon like that just won’t work for my family”, you might want to think again. It’s a big car, with more than enough space for four six-footers and a boot (or rather two boots) that can swallow a total of 10 carry-on suitcases – two more than the BMW iX can hold and three more than the Jaguar I-Pace. One fits under the bonnet, plus a further nine in the rear boot, which includes a huge well under the main floor. You can even fold the rear seats down (in a 60/40 split) when you need to carry longer items.

However, there’s no question that the Tesla Model Y is the more practical choice. Although we couldn’t cram any extra suitcases into its two boots, the hatchback tailgate makes loading and unloading so much easier. And when you need to, the rear seatbacks are super-easy to fold: you just flick switches on the wall of the boot and they drop down of their own accord.

Tesla Model 3 2022 rear seats

The 40/20/40 seatback split also gives you the option to slot long, thin items, such as skis, in between two rear passengers; you can’t do that in the Model 3. And the Model Y’s rear seats can be reclined when the boot isn’t full of luggage.

There’s more leg and head room than in the Model 3, too – although not a dramatic amount. The biggest difference is that, because the seats are mounted higher in the Model Y, the seating position is much more comfortable; you don’t feel as though your knees are being forced up towards your chin.

Boot space

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y 2022 boot

Boot 971-2158 litres Suitcases 10

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 2022 boot

Boot 450 litres (r) Suitcases 10

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