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2021 Tesla Model Y on Everyman Driver

The Tesla Model Y is a compact, fully electric SUV that offers up to 326 miles of emissions-free driving range. It can be recharged at home or one of the thousands of roadside stations. Essentially a taller version of Tesla’s popular Model 3 family sedan, the Model Y has the same great blend of driving performance and interior comfort. All-wheel-drive is standard. The high-tech cabin comes with extensive features, plus 68 cubic feet for cargo.

Pros: Spacious interior with great cargo space; Over 300 miles of electric driving range; Numerous standard features; Autonomous driving abilities

Cons: Recharging takes longer than pumping gas; Tiny third row is too small for adults; Rivals have softer rides

Like other Teslas, the Model Y lacks a gas engine and traditional transmission, emitting zero greenhouse gases while driving. That makes it quite an environmentally-friendly choice. It runs entirely on electricity, and it uses energy efficiently. The Long Range trim provides up to 326 miles of driving range per charge, while the Performance offers 303 miles.

Both trims use dual electric motors, with one located at each axle. This gives the Model Y all-wheel-drive and excellent acceleration. Tesla notes the Long Range and Performance can reach 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and 3.5 seconds, respectively. The vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries sit below the passenger compartment, giving the SUV a low center of gravity and excellent stability.

A tow hitch is available for $1,000, increasing the Model Y’s trailering capacity to 3,500 lbs. Charging the Model Y is accessible at home or on the road. Owners can charge the vehicle overnight from the comfort of their garage with a 110-volt household outlet or 220-volt Tesla Wall Connector.

Tesla also has several thousand fast-charging roadside stations located worldwide, called Superchargers. Though the number of Superchargers varies depending on region, these locales allow the Model Y to add up to 162 miles in 15 minutes — enough time for a mid-trip break or to grab a snack.

The Model Y is built in two trims: Long Range, and Performance. Both come standard with a versatile hatchback cargo area and all-wheel-drive. Pricing starts around $50,000. Standard driver safety features include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and lane-departure warning. Basic Autopilot gives the Model Y semi-autonomous driving abilities, allowing it to accelerate, steer, and brake automatically within its lane. It also monitors for pedestrians, cars, and cyclists.

Other standard amenities include 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic high beams, fog lights, power-folding outside mirrors, a glass roof, and a power-operated liftgate. Notable cabin details are leatherette upholstery, 12-way power front seats, heated front/rear seats, driver’s seat memory, a split-folding rear bench, keyless entry/start, remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, a 14-speaker audio system, a 15-inch touchscreen, voice controls, navigation, Bluetooth, and a WiFi hotspot.

The Performance model increases the price tag to $61,000. True to its name, it features a more potent powertrain, raising output from 384 hp to 456 hp. Other performance improvements include a sport-tuned suspension, 21-inch wheels, and summer tires. It also gets ventilated front seats. Fully autonomous driving capabilities are available on the Model Y for $10,000. This allows the car to pretty much drive itself, capable of changing lanes on the highway, recognizing stoplights and stop signs, self-parking, and more. It can even locate the owner in a busy parking lot and drive to them.

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