Will the Tesla Model Y Live Up to Expectations?


Asked on Quora:

Do you think the Tesla model Y will live up to expectations once released? Could it provide real competition to it gas using competitors or will it still be a niche vehicle?

My Answer: We won’t know for sure until it’s released. I, for one, am not holding my breath. The design alone is going to be a problem. Tesla designed the Model Y as if it were competing in the luxury segment, where versatility takes a back seat to style. In the mainstream compact crossover market, however, ergonomics and versatility are king and style is secondary.

The Model Y has 66 cubic feet of cargo, including its frunk (whose size is not specified). Nearly every competitor in the mainstream compact crossover market has more space than that, with the Honda CR-V topping out at a full 12 cubes more than the Y and most having at least 7 or 8 more. Even the subcompact Rogue Sport model has over 61 cubes (for comparison).

The hatch opening on the Model Y is short and not very square, making loading bulkier items likely to be difficult. There’s a reason nearly every crossover on the market has a squared-off rear end (ala the Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, etc). It also makes getting into the back seat to secure a child safety seat or put a kid into that safety seat much easier on the back. The roof angle on the Model Y makes that stoop look pretty low.

So my suspicion is that the Model Y will do well, but it won’t “take over the market” like Elon effuses. Just looking at it without having tried it, I can see some glaring issues that will eliminate much of the potential buying market in the segment.