Displaying items by tag: electric car

Saturday, 27 November 2021 05:14

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form

It wouldn’t have been right for Volkswagen to use the illustrious GTI badge on its new range of electric performance cars. That’s not to say the ID.4 GTX isn’t fun in its own right, it just lacks the character of its petrol-powered forebears. It’s expensive, too; while a rear-wheel drive Ford Mustang Mach-E is better to drive and almost as fast. There is some work to be done on making the GTX nameplate as iconic as GTI, then – but if anyone can do it, VW can.

Volkswagen's world-famous GTI badge turned 45 this year. Celebrated since 1976 and having featured on a string of memorable performance Golfs, for many, its three letters define the hot hatchback genre.

But now VW is embarking on a new era – an era for the electric generation. All future Volkswagen EVs will feature the ID. badge; we’ve already seen the ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5, and there are electric saloons, superminis, and even MPVs on the way. 

Of course, in addition to the various bodystyles, Volkswagen also has a range of GTI-inspired electric performance models in the works. Not to be confused with their petrol siblings, these EVs will all use the GTX name – starting with this, the ID.4 GTX.

Building on the standard ID.4 electric SUV, the GTX gets an extra motor on the front axle, boosting total power to a not inconsequential 295bhp. The result is 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed pegged at 112mph.

That last figure is significantly down on the capabilities of the current Golf GTI. Not that it’ll matter to prospective buyers – spend much time hovering at or above the national speed limit and you’ll see the projected 301-mile range plummet. During our time with the car on a mixture of rural, motorway and urban roads, we were seeing 220-230 miles on a charge.

Yet the big question isn’t how far it’ll go before the batteries run flat – rather whether or not it captures any of the GTI magic that Volkswagen has become so famous for. 

The short answer is no. The GTX isn’t quite as agile as a Ford Mustang Mach-E, but that’s not to say it’s sloppy. The ID.4 offers adequate (if not spellbinding) performance, as well as decent-enough body control. The steering, if lacking a little in feel, appears weightier than on the standard car and is perfectly quick and direct. The brakes are up to the task of stopping this 2.2-tonne SUV, too – as you would hope.

 
Traction is also on point, allowing you to use that slug of torque to power out of tight corners with confidence. Our car was fitted with optional adaptive dampers, but we ended up leaving them in their default setting – in Comfort mode the GTX felt composed, whereas Sport gave the car an unsettled, bouncier ride. It’s still more comfortable than a Mach-E, though.

We may bemoan synthesised sound generators in diesel SUVs, but ultimately, with no soundtrack to enjoy in the ID.4, you’re left feeling somewhat detached from the driving experience. That’s ideal on the motorway, or indeed when you’re pootling from A to B without a schedule to keep or deadline to meet, but when you’re alone in the car and want to drive like the seat of your pants is on fire, the ID.4 GTX simply isn’t that engaging. 

There’s some work to be done on making the GTX badge fit in a driver’s car context, then, but the rest of the package is as complete as you’d expect. Practicality is excellent – the 543-litre boot is unchanged from the standard ID.4, and there’s space under the floor to store the charge cable. Note: a three-pin charger is a £180 option.

 
The cabin is roomy too, while quality takes a jump in the right direction thanks to new fabrics on the dashboard. The GTX-branded seats are supportive and comfortable; the only other tell-tale sign that this is the range flagship comes courtesy of the small badge and red flash at the base of the steering wheel.

Prices are high. The ID.4 GTX starts from £48,525 but for that you get 20-inch wheels, a 12-inch infotainment system with nav, plus wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a head-up display, keyless entry and Matrix LED lights. Above this sits the GTX Max, adding a panoramic glass roof, three-zone climate control, adaptive dampers and a heat pump for around £7,000 more.

That infotainment system is still a bit laggy, and it’s not the most intuitive set-up to use. The temperature sliders are fiddly too, and Volkswagen still refuses to light them at night – making them impossible to operate after dark. The instrument cluster on the other hand is simple but effective, de-cluttered by removing surplus information; the car’s speed sits front and centre, just as it should.

Model:  Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Engine: 77kWh battery, two electric motors
Power/torque: 295bhp/310Nm
Transmission:  Single-speed auto, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:  6.2 seconds
Top speed:  112mph
Range/Efficiency:  301 miles, 3.7mi/kWh (WLTP)
On sale:  Now
Published in Volkswagen

Norway’s goal is to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2025 onwards. It may sound like April Fool's Day news, but the reality is already denying the announcements. Namely, the Norwegian magazine Motor writes that from next year, the sales of gasoline and diesel in that country could be so low that electric cars will have almost 100 percent dominance on the market of new vehicles.

According to Revija HAK, in the first eight months of 2021, diesel and gasoline together accounted for less than ten percent of all 110,864 new registrations. If the trend continues, as in the last five years, the share of internal combustion engines in seven months would come to almost zero.

As of early 2021, 19 of Norway’s 25 best-selling new cars are electric cars. At the top of the list is Tesla's Model 3 with 7048 new registrations in that period. The first model without a battery or hybrid drive is the VW Tiguan TDI in 38th place with 678 new registrations. All of this has to do with strong government incentives to buy e-cars. Other benefits of electric cars, such as free parking in many cities, have since been canceled.

Despite the drastic decline in internal combustion engines among new registrations, diesel and petrol engines continue to dominate Norway and will continue to do so for the next few years. Seven out of eight cars purchased in Norway are used cars. Of the 357,176 changes in ownership in the first eight months of this year, only twelve percent were electric cars.

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under
Tuesday, 07 September 2021 06:13

New Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV prototype review

We hit the road in a prototype version of the all-electric Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV 80

 
 Verdict

Almost as practical and as clever as ever, it appears the Skoda Enyaq Coupe will offer few drawbacks over its conventional counterpart. Skoda has never been one for compromise, and on this evidence, that trend looks set to continue long into the future.

Skoda has dabbled with coupes in the past, but most recently it’s come to be known for its humble family hatchbacks, cavernous estate models and spacious SUVs rather than anything you’d conventionally call stylish, or fashionable.

But not one to get left behind, the Czech maker is gearing up to launch a coupe version of its pure-electric Enyaq SUV later this year. Set to be revealed in December, the Enyaq Coupe iV will go on sale in the UK in January next year, with first customer cars arriving in early summer 2022.

It’ll get all the same battery and motor combinations as the existing Enyaq SUV, meaning a choice of iV 60 (58kWh battery, 177bhp) and iV 80 (77kWh, 201bhp) models, plus a range-topping iV 80X with all-wheel drive and 261bhp. A performance-focused vRS version is planned for later.

To get a taste of what’s in store, we were given the chance to try a camouflaged version of the 4.65m-long Skoda SUV on European roads. Identical from nose to B-pillar, the Coupe’s smoother, more rakish roofline and the subsequent changes inside are the big news here.

These tweaks are arguably best sampled from the rear seat, then. Every version gets a fixed, full-length panoramic roof, but thanks to special heat reflecting glass, the car doesn’t require a roller blind. This frees up space in the back, where only those over six foot will find their heads brushing the roof; knee room is particularly generous, while the MEB platform’s flat floor means even those in the middle can get comfortable.

The boot shrinks, but only marginally – from 585 litres in the standard Enyaq, to 570 litres in the Coupe. It’s a decent shape, and unless you’re regularly loading the car to the roof you’re unlikely to notice the slightly smaller capacity; there’s a big, deep well under the floor that’s perfect for storing the car’s charging cables, too.

Speaking of which, Skoda says that developments in battery technology mean that the Enyaq Coupe will launch with brand-new ‘ME3’ software enabling not only faster peak charging, but a flatter charging curve. While bosses couldn’t confirm charge times at this stage, we can expect the Coupe to better the current flagship Enyaq’s 125kW maximum, as well as slightly reducing the 10-80 per cent charge time of 34 minutes.

In terms of range, a more favourable drag coefficient means the Enyaq Coupe is, Skoda says, capable of “10 to 15km” (6-9 miles) more than the conventional car on a single charge. That should mean, for this iV 80 model, somewhere in the region of 340 miles – versus 331 in the normal Enyaq. The figures haven’t yet been homologated, but in any case, the difference is likely to be negligible in real-world driving.

From behind the wheel, the Coupe is near-enough indistinguishable from any Enyaq we’ve driven to date. Refinement is excellent, tyre noise is non-existent, and wind noise was barely noticeable. This is largely true of the standard SUV too, of course, despite its boxier shape. 

The suspension and chassis feel stiff, but never uncomfortable – aided by smooth roads, the smallest 19-inch wheels, and our Enyaq’s adaptive dampers. The steering is on the weightier side compared with rivals, but lacks the finesse or sharpness found on a Ford Mustang Mach-E, for example.

On-paper, performance is little more than satisfactory alongside, say, a Tesla Model 3, although that doesn’t dent its appeal. You still get that shove of instant torque, but without constantly having to watch your throttle inputs or your speed via the standard-fit digital instrument cluster. Figures haven’t been confirmed, but we expect 0-62mph in around eight seconds and a top speed of around 100mph.

We mentioned that the Enyaq Coupe is visually identical to its standard sibling from the B-pillar forwards – and it’s the same story inside. The cabin is finished in high-grade materials, customisable via Skoda’s range of Loft, Suite, Lounge, EcoSuite and Sportline trims. The overall layout feels familiar, but the climate controls remain hidden in the central infotainment display – frustrating if you want to adjust the temperature or fan speed on the move.

Prices and specs will be revealed alongside the full production car in December, but we expect the Coupe iV to command a circa-five per cent premium over the standard SUV, with prices from around £33,500.

Model:

Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV 80
Price: TBC
Engine:  77kWh battery, single electric motor
Power/torque:  201bhp/310Nm
Transmission:  Single-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:  8.0 seconds (est)
Top speed:  100mph (est)
Range/CO2:  340 miles (est), 0g/km
Charging:  10-80% @ 125kW+ in 30 minutes (est)
On sale:  January 2022

(autoexpress.co.uk)

Published in Skoda

Audi's new e-tron GT Quattro and RS e-tron GT are great sports sedans first and electric cars second.

In conventional automobiles, the tall top gears of modern automatic transmissions largely silence the combustion events happening under the hood. So, when an EV hushes along at 85 mph or so and unfurls the lonesome two-lane expanses of the West, the fact that it's motivated by electricity instead of gasoline doesn't seem terribly relevant. It does become a bit more important if the battery is depleted and you lack a solid recharging plan. If you're range anxious about finding somewhere to recharge, the e-tron GT is rated for 238 miles and the 590-hp (637 in overboost) RS e-tron GT model is good for 232 miles, both of which are far short of the Tesla Model S's EPA range. 

 
2022 audi etron gt
 

The mass of the battery tips the GT's curb weight past 5000 pounds, but since the pack is in the floor, the center of gravity is low. Imagine a 4947-pound Audi RS7 with a keel and you get the idea. At 55.0-inches tall, the largely aluminum-bodied e-tron GT is low for a modern sedan and nearly two inches lower than the RS7. Without gears to choose, the GT and RS twins remain at the ready for whatever the Angeles Crest and Forest highways throw at them.

2022 audi etron gt

Go for the RS version and you get summer tires, but even on the e-tron GT's all-season rubber, the standard three-chamber air springs keep the body flat and the handling secure without being boring. Although the steering is accurate and gets the nose pointed with unerring precision—and the many drive modes can adjust the effort—not a lot of feedback comes through the wheel. Sure, the regular GT's all-seasons howl in protest when they begin to understeer but add power and the system sends torque rearward and divides it as necessary to the left or right wheels to cancel the mild push in corners. What you feel, besides confidence, is a return to your intended path around an apex. The RS performs the same trick, but its summer tires provide more grip with a bit less squeal.

Provided you shut off the stability control, the rear end's ability to send power to the left and right will also indulge the aggressive driver by setting up an easy-to-control, power-on drift. Being (mostly) prudent adults, we kept such experimentation to the airstrip that Audi rented for us to safely experience the RS's zero-to-100-mph acceleration. Hauling these Audis down from speed are 14.2-inch front brake rotors on the regular GT and 16.1-inch tungsten carbide-coated units on the RS. Should that not be enough, the RS offers 16.5-inch carbon-ceramic jobs up front. Strong and fade-free, a couple of downhill sections in the canyons required a harder push on the brake pedal, a reminder that quickly decelerating 5000 pounds requires a lot of force.

2022 audi etron gt

Using the brakes in the GT and RS GT is something you'll do a lot. Unlike some competitors, Audi doesn't offer a one-pedal driving mode. The maximum regeneration mode (activated by the left "shift" paddle on the steering column) doesn't slow the car down much. Audi proffers that coasting is more efficient than maximizing regeneration. The net effect is that you drive the two e-tron sedans more like a conventional gas-powered car, another reason it's easy to ignore what's propelling you when you're behind the wheel.

Designers put a lot of thought into making the most of Audi's (and Porsche's) EV platform. Not only is the roofline low, but the cockpit and greenhouse are narrower than the body. It's a visual trick used by the Porsche 911 that results in a balance of elegance and aggression. Wide rear fenders flow rearward to A7-like taillights. Wheel sizes start at 20 inches; RS models offer a 21-inch option.

2022 audi etron gt

The relatively narrow cockpit is obvious when you're inside. Front-seat space is generous, but the roof looms close and the glass area is small for a sedan. The view out the back is restricted, but after a few miles you adjust to it. If you're thinking it's as bad as a Chevrolet Camaro, it's not. Rear-seat space also is in short supply, and the smallish door openings and low body make getting in and out a little more difficult than it is in an RS7.

An RS7 also sounds considerably better than both the e-tron GT and RS. Audi engineers did try various devices—including a didgeridoo—to give their electric sedans a soundtrack. Under hard acceleration there's a hushed roar and the volume increases in the most aggressive Dynamic mode, but it pales next to how the roar of the RS7's twin-turbo V-8 fires the synapses in your lizard brain.

2022 audi etron gt

Choosing between Audi's new electric sedans and its 591-hp RS7 is made even more difficult by how the pricing sandwiches the $115,545 gas car between the two. Before any incentives or tax credits, the e-tron GT starts at $100,945 and the RS opens at $140,945. Even though the e-tron GT is so good that we briefly forgot it was an electric, as new internal-combustion cars become rarer sights we're still going to pick them until we can't. As far as comparing it to the ridiculously quick, 1020-hp Model S Plaid, we'd love to answer that nagging question too. As soon as we get a Plaid to test, we'll let you know.

(caranddriver.com)

Published in Audi
Wednesday, 04 August 2021 09:49

Tesla Model Y SUV review

"The Tesla Model Y takes what makes the Model 3 great and adds SUV practicality"

Pros

  • Fast and efficient
  • Spacious interior
  • Hatchback boot

Cons

  • Delayed for the UK
  • Patchy build quality
  • Limited model lineup

The Tesla Model Y has all the ingredients to be a hit when it eventually arrives on UK shores. The Tesla Model 3 has already struck a chord with buyers, appearing in the list of top-selling cars during 2021 and scoring well in our Driver Power owners satisfaction survey. Adding SUV style and space is only likely to make the recipe more desirable.

There's certainly enough hype around the brand but Tesla does risk missing the boat. Instead of arriving as a trailblazer, the Model Y will find itself competing against the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq iV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes EQA and Ioniq 5. In other words, just about every mainstream manufacturer has realised it needs to sell an electric SUV and many of them are already available.

Part of the reason for the delay is Tesla CEO Elon Musk's desire for European examples of the Model Y to be built at a new Tesla Gigafactory in Germany, the completion of which has faced significant hold ups. The Y began arriving with the first American customers in March 2020. 

When the Model Y does arrive here, there's likely to be a Long Range and Performance model, sticking closely to the Model 3 on which the car is based. Both versions offer impressive acceleration and four-wheel drive but it's the Performance that's likely to be faster than any rival, with 0-60mph taking around 3.5 seconds.

The Long Range will be capable of around 314 miles between charges, thanks to its smaller wheels and slightly reduced performance, while the Performance will have a range of around 298 miles. These are impressive numbers but according to official figures, they're no longer class-leading, with the Mustang Mach-E capable of up to 379 miles in its most efficient specification.

Inside, the Model Y has the same minimalist interior and technology as the Model 3, focused around a high-res 15-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard. Air vents have been replaced by a narrow slot and leather by vegan-friendly materials. It works well once you get used to its controls but quality isn't on the same level as the top European manufacturers.

A taller roof means there's more space and headroom inside the Model Y than the Model 3, while its hatchback boot is much more useful for loading luggage or sports equipment. However, the Enyaq's boxy shape makes it even more accommodating.

We'll need to spend time behind the wheel of a Tesla Model Y in the UK to deliver our final verdict but we suspect fans of the brand and families alike will love the Model Y even more than the 3. Tesla should be worried, however, that the market for electric SUVs is getting significantly more crowded as the wait for the Model Y continues. 

MPG, running costs & CO2

 Tesla's small SUV has an impressive range and charges quickly

When the Model Y arrives, it's likely to be in Long Range and Performance versions, both of which have the same size battery. Thanks to smaller, 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels and less power from its electric motors, the Long Range is expected to have a range of around 314 miles. Step up to the Performance version, and 22-inch alloy wheels and more power reduce range to just under 300 miles.

The Skoda Enyaq iV has a shorter 256-mile range with its 62kWh battery but just beats the Model Y with between 327-333 miles if the largest 82kWh battery is fitted. Meanwhile, the Volvo XC40 Recharge can manage up to 259 miles between charges, which is some way behind the Ford Mustang Mach-E - that car’s capable of up to 379 miles.

Both the Long Range and Performance models take just under 12 hours to charge from empty to 100% using a 7.4kW wallbox, while a rapid charge at 250kW can take the battery from 10 to 80% in just 19 minutes. Another draw is the Tesla Supercharger network of public chargers, which won our 2020 Best chargepoint providers survey, coming top in every category. 

As with all EVs, the Model Y is exempt from VED (road tax) but the biggest savings will be for business users, thanks to very low Benefit-in-Kind liability. This can save company-car drivers hundreds or even thousands per month compared with petrol and diesel models.

Engines, drive & performance

 Lots of power and assured handling makes the Model Y fun to drive

While Tesla hasn't revealed the exact power of the Model Y destined for the UK market as yet, the Performance version is expected to get the same 455bhp as the Tesla Model 3 Performance. Nobody is ever likely to describe it as lacking in speed, with a 0-60mph time in the region of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 150mph. There's instant acceleration when you press the throttle, followed by sustained acceleration that a Mercedes-AMG C63 or BMW M3 would struggle to match. 

The Long Range version isn't quite as unhinged, with around 345bhp getting it from 0-60mph in just under five seconds and on to a top speed of 135mph; step out of the Model Y Performance and it almost feels slow. The car feels taller than the low-slung Model 3 but there's still almost no body lean in corners, thanks to the low centre of gravity of the battery pack beneath your feet. There's some feel of the wheels and road through the steering too, keeping the driver in touch with what the Model Y is doing. 

Regenerative braking as you release the accelerator can be adjusted and in its maximum setting, it slows the Model Y noticeably, negating the need to use the brake pedal in most circumstances. It takes a bit of getting used to when first making the switch from a petrol or diesel model but quickly makes sense and can become rather addictive as energy is put back into the battery to improve range.

Interior & comfort

 Clever tech abounds but not everyone will like the minimalist design

The Model Y's interior is virtually identical to the Model 3, although you will notice the extra headroom. The raised seating position also makes getting in and out easier, and the extra space helps the Model Y feel airier inside, especially for those in the back seats, who also get to enjoy a larger panoramic roof.

The dashboard is the epitome of minimalism, with just a large central touchscreen; if you look through the steering wheel there are no dials or screens . Everything from the media system to the climate control and wipers are controlled either by the screen, controls on the steering wheel or column stalks. The 15-inch display is impressive, with Tesla's own software that works well and is frequently updated. It also has some pretty unique features, including the ability to show streaming entertainment like Netflix while parked up or play console-style computer games.

It's not perfect, however, and material quality is still off the pace of rivals like the Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes EQC and Jaguar I-Pace. It's also likely that trim options will be limited for the Model Y when it arrives in the UK, with far fewer ways to add features or personalise the interior than those offered by manufacturers like Audi.

Practicality & boot space

 A taller roofline and hatchback boot help boost practicality

We've mentioned that the Model Y's taller roof means passengers have more headroom than in the Model 3, which makes it possible for adults to sit comfortably in the back seats. The electric 'skateboard' under the car helps here because there's less intrusion into the interior, resulting in a flat floor and a longer interior than that of a traditional SUV of a similar size. 

Along with its SUV looks and raised seating position, most buyers will choose a Model Y for its improved practicality. Along with its frunk (storage space under the bonnet), a hatchback tailgate is likely to appeal to UK buyers more than the Model 3's saloon version, creating a much bigger opening to load in bulky items. Its three-part rear bench also folds down electronically. Tesla has also hinted that a third row will be available to make the Model Y a seven-seater but this hasn't been confirmed yet, and it also doesn't look like there'll be much space, so they're likely to be limited to children. 

Reliability & safety

 Safety is excellent but the Model Y's build quality feels patchy compared with rivals

While the Model Y hasn't appeared in our Driver Power reliability survey yet, the Model 3 came 18th out of the top 75 models. However, strong scores in other areas offset a poor performance for exterior and interior build quality. It scored very highly for running costs and gained a category win for its powertrain, while practicality also impressed - an area in which the Model Y should do even better.

It's a similar story for safety, where the Model 3 has been crash-tested but it's unlikely the Model Y will be scrutinised by Euro NCAP just yet. The Model 3 scored an impressive 96% for adult occupant protection, along with a very high 94% rating in the Safety Assist category.  

The Model Y also gets the same Autopilot semi-autonomous driver aids, so it's covered in numerous sensors and cameras that can help the driver avoid collisions and take over some driving tasks on well-marked roads. 

(carbayer.co.uk)

Published in Tesla

Versus the competition: More than simply energy-efficient, the Model Y is space-efficient, with generous passenger and cargo room for its size, making it a perfectly usable and spacious small SUV.

The Tesla Model Y is the most popular EV today, with more registered in the first quarter of 2021 than any other EV, according to reports from Experian and Automotive News. So what is it about the Model Y that’s so appealing? A lot, actually, even considering the latest competition from electric SUVs like the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 and 2021 Mustang Mach-E.

Looking at the Model Y, you might think, “That’s an SUV?” The Model Y is a higher-riding version of the Tesla Model 3, with a liftgate and open cargo area versus a trunk, and it has all-wheel drive. So — by today’s standards — yes, it’s an SUV. The Model Y’s exterior footprint is almost identical to the BMW X4, which is a fastback “coupe” version of the popular BMW X3 SUV — an originator of the compact luxury SUV class. The Model Y is sized right in the heart of the soon-to-explode EV SUV class, which could see up to a dozen new luxury and non-luxury offerings in the next couple of years

Tesla Model Y as an SUV

Cargo Room

tesla-model-y-2021-42-interior--rear-cargo.jpg2021 One of an SUV’s defining characteristics is cargo room, and the Model Y has ample amounts of it, especially considering its compact proportions. Three large storage areas add up to big versatility: There’s the main cargo area behind the backseat, as well as two large tubs — one in back under the cargo floor and a front trunk — both of which can store sizable items.

We perform our own cargo testing in part because automakers vary in how they execute standardized methods, leading to invalid comparisons. By our measurements, the Model Y’s 20.9 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the backseat, including the rear tub, is more than the ID.4’s 18.9 cubic feet and the Mach-E’s 15.9 cubic feet. It’s also slightly more than you get in traditional electrified compact SUVs: the Honda CR-V Hybrid has 19.6 cubic feet and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has 20.7 cubic feet.

The Model Y’s backseat folds in a 40/20/40 split, but it doesn’t quite fold flat because of the seats’ prominent side bolsters. Even so, with the seats folded, what looks like a small car on the outside can haul items like a larger SUV could.

A bonus: The Model Y’s front trunk measures 2.9 cubic feet, beating the Mach-E’s 2.0 cubic feet. The ID.4 has no frunk at all.

Passenger Room

I’m a slender 6 feet tall with long legs, and my legs had room to breathe in the driver’s seat. The backseat reclines but doesn’t slide in the two-row version, and I was adequately comfortable back there; there’s good thigh support and headroom to spare, plus generous cutouts in the back of the front seats that opened up foot room. We tested a two-row model, but there’s a small optional third row that increases the number of seats to seven and gives the second row a sliding function for third-row accessibility. I don’t expect the third-row proportions to be quite as generous, but we haven’t tested it yet.

tesla-model-y-2021-40-backseat--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Driving Impressions

What’s not SUV-like about the Model Y is how it drives; it’s more like the Model 3, which is aggressively tuned for spirited driving. Here in the Chicago area, where potholes are simply a road feature instead of an occasional deterioration, you too may find the ride quality somewhat uncomfortable if you don’t care for a tight, sporty driving feel.

The Model Y’s ride quality was a polarizing topic among Cars.com editors. Some thought it was unrefined or simply too harsh, but others, including myself, found the ride taut yet sophisticated and well controlled. For those looking for a sports-car-like feel, the stiff ride is worth the price of admission. It’s a genuine joy to drive, with quick reflexes thanks to a tight steering ratio, good steering feedback and competent dynamics. Snaking the Model Y through curvy roads reminded me of the latest BMW 3 Series with the M Sport package: not for everyone, perhaps, but those who appreciate a dynamic car will be rewarded.

tesla-model-y-2021-06-black--exterior--front.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Versus other EVs, the Model Y is more nimble than the Mach-E, which feels a bit bloated in comparison — and it is 500 pounds heavier when similarly equipped despite comparable exterior proportions. There was no polarization over the Mach-E’s ride quality: We all found something peculiar about how it porpoised down the road, seemingly pitching from its center over bumps.

Most affordable EVs don’t ride that well, but if none of the above sounds appealing, check out the VW ID.4: Its soft, inoffensive ride makes it a standout among the current crop of EVs.

The Model Y’s acceleration is punchy and rewarding, and those who haven’t driven an EV will be blown away by how quickly even the non-Performance Model Y accelerates compared with traditional gas-powered luxury SUVs in its price range. Typical of EVs, there’s no step-gear transmission, and the result is near-instant acceleration response, with no waiting for kickdowns or gear changes. The Model Y seemed to accelerate harder for longer than the Mach-E, despite equal 0-60 mph claims from each automaker (4.8 seconds). Where the Mach-E fell off around 50 mph, the Model Y felt like it was just winding up.

 

Visibility

tesla-model-y-2021-39-interior--rear-visibility--sunroof.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Where there’s less confidence is in the Model Y’s visibility. The small rear window doesn’t offer great natural visibility, though it has electronic assists that might help if you’re willing to put in a little effort. This takes us to the large 15-inch touchscreen that’s the main control and user interface for the vehicle’s climate controls, vehicle systems, multimedia, navigation and driving monitors.

One function of the screen is the rear camera system, which isn’t simply a backup camera display that pops up when the car is in Reverse. The rear view can be left on while driving to show what’s behind the Model Y, and you can augment the display with two rearward-facing, side-view cameras so you can also see along the left and right sides of the vehicle.

tesla-model-y-2021-30-center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior--safety-tech.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The large, high-resolution camera feed is detailed and informative, but having it appear in a central 15-inch touchscreen, along with the speedometer and everything else, is somewhat distracting. It would be easier to simply glance at a display integrated across a full rearview mirror, like what’s offered in the Chevrolet Bolt EV. A 360-degree, top-down camera view would also be nice for parking, but it’s not offered.

What would have made for more confident lane-changing is a traditional blind spot monitoring system that alerts drivers to a car in their blind spot with an illuminated symbol in a side mirror. That doesn’t exist in the Model Y; instead, a real-time visualization of the road and your surroundings are digitized in that central 15-inch screen, showing what’s around the Model Y. Colored markers alert you to what’s there, and you can also see digitized versions of surrounding cars in real-time proximity.

This all requires looking at the screen, however, versus simply seeing an orange light in your periphery while looking forward — or hearing a “ding-ding” when the turn signal is on, as a traditional system would sound. The Model Y does have a selectable audible warning that alerts you if you try to change lanes with a vehicle in your blind spot, but it has a high threshold and is more of a “What are you doing?!” alert versus a gentle “Excuse me, someone is over there right now.”

Towing

The Model Y is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds — good compared with conventional small SUVs and more than good compared with today’s EV SUVs, including the VW ID.4 (2,200 pounds) and Mach-E (not rated to tow). An optional tow package unlocks the Model Y’s capabilities, including a tow bar with a 2-inch hitch receiver, a seven-pin connector and a harness, plus a tow mode. We can only guess how much the SUV’s range would suffer towing a 3,500-pound trailer; likely a lot.

 

Range Anxiety: What’s That?

With up to 326 miles of EPA-estimated range, range anxiety wasn’t a concern while driving the Model Y in the Chicago area — and that wasn’t only because of its long range and a surplus of Tesla DC fast-charge Superchargers in the area. Peace of mind was easy to come by because of how the Tesla informs you of its efficiency through useful driving information. For example: the Trip Monitor, which is one of the most useful information graphics I’ve experienced.

tesla-model-y-2021-26-battery-level--center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Trip Monitor helps drivers understand how their habits affect efficiency, plus how much battery life and range will be used in a given trip. It works only when there’s a navigation destination entered, showing a gray line predicting how much energy you’ll use in a given trip, overlaid in real time by a green line representing your actual energy use. You can use it to make real-time corrections to your driving style in order to arrive at a destination with a greater pad for your return trip. You can see right away when you need to stop driving like an ass, or just change to more efficient driving and regenerative braking modes.

This is what it looked like in action: I was supposed to return the Model Y to its owner at the end of the loan with at least 80% battery charge. When I got in the car and entered the destination, the Model Y estimated I’d have exactly 80% left by the time I got to the owner. Driving efficiently in the lower power and greatest regenerative braking modes, I ended the trip with 82% battery life — so a 2% less jerk move.

Braking

The Model Y’s braking feel is top-of-the-line. Few EVs, hybrids or even gasoline cars with brake-by-wire systems stop as naturally as the Model Y. Pedal feel is linear and firm but not hard, and unlike the Mach-E you can use the brake pedal to stop without worrying about giving your passengers whiplash. The regenerative braking function is always active, but you can make it more aggressive in the Hold mode  in order to increase efficiency. That mode will slow the car to a stop using regenerative braking at lower speeds than will other braking modes, then hold once stopped. It takes a fair amount of attention to use, however, because simply letting off the accelerator in this mode aggressively stops the car; it takes a slow return of the accelerator to smoothly decelerate. There are two other stop modes: Creep mode, which acts like a regular gas car, leaving the Model Y to slightly accelerate at “idle” when your foot is off the accelerator, and Roll mode, which lets the car roll without any intervention, as if it were in Neutral. But neither have the extra regenerative force of Hold mode.

Charging

tesla-model-y-2021-13-angle--black--charging--exterior--front.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

In a metropolitan area like Chicago, it’s possible to use Supercharging regularly because there are so many locations, but home charging is really the best way to do EV ownership. Tesla warns in its owner’s manuals to minimize the use of DC fast chargers, like Supercharging, for the sake of optimal battery health. In addition, DC fast charging can be expensive.

At home, the fastest a Model Y can replenish its battery is 42 miles of range per hour, using the car’s maximum 11.5 kilowatts, a Tesla or equivalent wall unit, and a compatible 240-volt circuit providing up to 48 amps (a 60-amp circuit breaker). At a more average 24 amps, like you’d find on a standard 240-volt clothes dryer circuit (a 30-amp breaker), you’d be able to charge at 21 miles of range per hour. That’s a difference of adding 250 miles of range in six hours or 12 hours, both with charging systems classified as 240-volt Level 2.

The Model Y comes with what Tesla calls a Mobile Connector, which has a pretty robust 32-amp rating you can tap into by purchasing an appropriate short adapter cord for use with a 240-volt outlet (the plug determines the current and, thus, the charging rate). It comes with a 120-volt adapter for trickle charging at 3-4 miles per hour. Good for 29 miles of range per hour, this unit might be all you’ll need.

Home charging can vary wildly from house to house depending on your electrical setup, and one advantage Tesla has over other EVs is how many amperage settings it provides, allowing you to charge on a variety of 120- and 240-volt circuits. The charging rate is selectable via an onscreen Energy Display, where you can change the charging rate by single digits to accommodate whatever circuit you might encounter. This maximizes the charging speed when possible and cuts it down when the circuit is shared with another car or appliance. The Model Y will even learn a location’s settings and remember them when you return.

Supercharging is ideal when on a road trip or on the go; 250-kW Superchargers aren’t uncommon in our area. Other common speeds are 150 kW and 72 kW. How quickly these DC fast chargers add miles will vary by charger and your battery’s state of charge. In our testing, we added 127 miles of range in 50 minutes on a 250-kW Supercharger, though that was with a battery not at an ideal state for the fastest charge rates: It started at over 50% and stopped at full.

tesla-model-y-2021-21-battery-level--center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The fastest charge times come with lower battery levels, and the rate slows considerably as the charge level nears full; we never saw a rate above 70 kW during the charge referenced above. Case in point: We hit a charging rate as fast as 127 kW on a slower, 150-kW Supercharger when going from a quarter-full battery up to 90%; that charge added 198 miles in 40 minutes. Supercharging cost us 31 cents per kilowatt-hour, or $15.19 for the replenished 49 kwh. At home, the same charge would have cost $6.51 at the national average rate of 13.29 cents per kwh, but it would have taken at least 4.7 hours.

In our experience, we haven’t been able to charge faster than 80 kW on a DC fast charger with the ID.4 or the Mustang Mach-E, even though those vehicles are rated for 125 kW and 150 kW, respectively.

Autopilot — What It Is, What It Isn’t

tesla-model-y-2021-18-front-row--interior--steering-wheel.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Autopilot is a semi-autonomous, hands-on driver-assist system that Tesla doesn’t recommended using hands-free. In its current incarnation, which could expand in the future, Autopilot acts as an advanced cruise control that centers the car in its lane. It was ahead of the curve a few years ago, but it’s since been matched by many competitors, including modest brands. It is, however, standard in the Model Y, unlike Cadillac’s more ambitious hands-free Super Cruise and BMW’s Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, and it works well in a variety of driving situations — more than some advanced lane-centering driver assistants.

Autopilot won’t truly distinguish itself again until its full capabilities are unlocked. Some of these capabilities are in beta testing if you opt for the $10,000 Full Self-Driving Capability Package. Even then, Tesla warns, “the currently enabled features do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

Our test car didn’t have this package, which currently unlocks the following:

  • Navigate on Autopilot: A beta feature that gives the ability to navigate a highway interchange automatically, engaging the turn signal and taking an exit
  • Auto Lane Change: Can move the vehicle to an adjacent lane
  • Autopark: Can automatically parallel or perpendicular park the car (competing brands also offer this feature)
  • Summon: Moves the car in and out of tight parking spaces with an fob or phone application
  • Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control: Also a beta feature; reads stoplights and traffic signs and can slow the vehicle to a stop
  • Autosteer on city streets: As it currently exists, Autosteer is designed for highways and limited-access roads, but Autosteer on city streets (currently in beta to select owners) will open that function to city speeds. This will allow a Tesla to navigate to an entered destination while following traffic signals, turning, stopping and accelerating. This is still a Level 2 hands-on system requiring driver attention and intervention.
tesla-model-y-2021-28-center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior--safety-tech.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Even without the self-driving package, our car showed a preview of this advanced functionality. The driving status display shows what the car’s cameras are viewing and visualizes it on the touchscreen, including vehicles of different shapes and sizes — it will show a pickup truck or bus as well as pedestrians and cyclists — but there’s more you can add with the Full Self-Driving Visualization Preview. In this beta preview, the car will read trash cans, safety cones, red lights, road markings and more. There are self-driving implications here, but for now it’s more informative than actionable; on our test car (without the package), it was sometimes overwhelming. What’s shown on the screen isn’t always accurate, either; at one point, the screen didn’t show a bicyclist on the side of the road but recognized a garbage can behind the bicyclist. This can all be turned off.

Tesla recently announced that this functionality will come exclusively through camera-based technology, instead of using both radar and cameras, in Model 3 and Model Y vehicles produced from May 2021 onward. The transition means the car’s software hasn’t fully caught up with the hardware yet, and there are limitations on those cars: Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance isn’t functional, and for a short period Tesla says Autosteer, which keeps the car in its lane, will be limited to a maximum speed of 75 mph — down from 90 mph.

Interior Quality

tesla-model-y-2021-17-dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Model Y’s interior quality isn’t going to wow anyone like a similarly priced Mercedes-Benz GLC300 or Genesis GV80 might. It’s not flashy, but it does feel high-quality — like its synthetic seating upholstery, which is supple and convincing. The front seats aren’t too aggressive, but nor are they unsupportive; they’re comfortable seats with a natural seating position. The wood trim has open pores, and aluminum trim is used sparingly but well. The interior doesn’t scream “luxury,” and it’s not considerably more opulent than a loaded Mach-E’s insides, but I think it’s a fair trade-off for what the Model Y does give you as far as an exceptional EV experience.

No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

The biggest omission I see is a lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is almost inexcusable nowadays. There also isn’t a Siri function through steering-wheel controls as other cars that omit CarPlay have. Since the last Tesla I reviewed, in 2018, voice-to-text functions have been added through over-the-air updates — a staple of post-purchase Tesla expandability — and it’s included in new Teslas. Also added since 2018 is Spotify streaming music integration, which is nice if you’re a Spotify user.

As for the omission, I somewhat get it: Apple CarPlay or Android Auto would make it harder to use Tesla’s integrated navigation features, like finding Supercharger locations and availability, plus the trick efficiency monitor and Supercharger routing based on charge status and destination. One of the greatest assets of these smartphone mirrors is to provide Google Maps and Apple Maps when navigation isn’t optioned or offered, but Tesla uses graphics from Google Maps and Tesla-powered routing with success. I wanted Apple CarPlay and Android Auto more for their seamless voice-to-text functionality, Siri, and the apps and podcasts that weren’t included in the Tesla.

tesla-model-y-2021-15-cockpit-shot--dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

One more annoyance with Tesla’s phone integration: The wireless charging pad didn’t work with my phone case — an OtterBox Commuter Series, which is designed to work with the iPhone 12’s wireless charging. It works on other cars I’ve tested with wireless charging, including our long-term 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid. In the Model Y, I had to remove my phone from its case in order to use wireless charging, which is ridiculous for a convenience feature; I just kept it plugged in to charge via a wired connection. The wireless charger comes standard, so it’s not like it costs extra to get something that doesn’t work, but it’s still a bummer. I wasn’t the only one whose phone didn’t work with the wireless charging pad; another editor’s Android phone wouldn’t charge in its bulky case.

No Instrument Panel

tesla-model-y-2021-16-cockpit-shot--dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

What took the most acclimation was that the Model Y doesn’t have a speedometer within the driver’s forward view, just like the Model 3. Yes, you’ll get used to looking at the speedometer in the central screen’s upper left corner, but I really wanted a proper instrument panel like you’d find in the Mach-E or ID.4 — or even the Tesla Model S and Model X, which continue to use one even after their recent refresh. Even though the speedometer is at the top of the screen, it’s still a noticeable glance down versus a traditional instrument panel or head-up display.

I don’t mind almost all other controls being relegated to the touchscreen because it’s responsive and familiar enough to find items in the shallow option menus (like you would in a phone). Also, you can save your preferred settings and configurations to a unique profile, which limits having to play around with the screen after an initial setup.

Simply the Best?

Back to the estimated 326 miles of range: It’s a lot. In the budding EV SUV class, no one is close to offering that kind of rated range and giving you the Model Y’s acceleration (which, reminder: 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds). A Mustang Mach-E is rated for up to 305 miles of range, but only with single-motor rear-wheel drive and a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds. The larger-battery Mach-E with the 4.8-second 0-60 mph time — thanks to dual motors and all-wheel drive — is rated at 270 miles of range. The Model Y Long Range AWD is simply more efficient than the Mach-E AWD Extended, using 27 kwh for every 100 miles versus 37 kwh per 100 miles for the Mustang, according to EPA estimates. In an EV, efficiency translates both to faster charging and longer range, other factors being equal, along with cheaper cost for each mile driven.

In 2018, we matched the Model 3 and Model X 0-60 mph claims, so I don’t think Tesla is overstating the Model Y’s capabilities at this level. As far as range accuracy, I didn’t feel shorted during my few hundred miles behind the wheel. The range prediction was in the ballpark for my actual distance traveled, but I’d need to do a longer test in various weather conditions in order to say whether 326 miles is realistic, and in what conditions. Cold temperatures rob range from any EV — roughly 40% at 20 degrees Fahrenheit versus 75 degrees, according to AAA.

As for the list of “wants” that could be deal breakers, they’re available in other EVs, but with a hit to range and performance — or both. There are also states where Tesla isn’t allowed to sell you a new car (including Texas, Delaware and Wisconsin) or are limited in the number of stores it can operate (including New York and Colorado). That doesn’t mean you can’t own a Tesla in those states, but the purchase must happen elsewhere — leading to questions about future service, though a Tesla mobile service is available. You do, however, likely have a Volkswagen or Ford dealership in closer proximity — just keep in mind that those dealerships will need to be trained and have the proper equipment to work on their brands’ electric cars, and not every location may make that investment.

It’s easy to see why the Model Y is so popular. It’s affordable in the context of other luxury SUVs, has oodles of range and a great charging infrastructure, and it’s fun to drive and own. The Model Y does do a couple of goofy things, and unfortunately, they’re not easy fixes expected to be remedied anytime soon. If a stiff ride or lacking Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an instrument panel are deal breakers for you, you have more compelling options in the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, but it’s really hard to look elsewhere when the Model Y does so many things so well — things that are core to what’s considered good for both EVs and SUVs.

(cars.com)

Published in Tesla

The Lyriq electric SUV and Celestiq electric sedan are central to Cadillac’s EV charge.

The Lyriq will be followed by the Celestiq, a limolike four-door sedan that will take over as Cadillac's flagship. The interior is intended to coddle chauffeur-driven passengers in the second row under a transparent, four-quadrant glass roof. Up front, a large dashboard screen stretches the width of the cabin. It will feature all-wheel drive, a hatchback cargo opening, and four-wheel steering.

WHY IT MATTERS: General Motors wants Cadillac to lead its EV push, so every one of the brand's new models moving forward will be electric. That starts with the Lyriq, followed by the Celestiq sedan, the Optiq and Symboliq SUVs, another sedan/coupe, and an electric version of the Escalade full-size SUV. The Lyriq sets the styling tone for the lineup.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq 8 

PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: The Cadillac Lyriq will use the same BEV3 architecture and Ultium battery system as the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup. The battery cells are packaged as modules to allow the creation of vehicles of any size or shape. GM is building a new Ultium battery plant in Tennessee to supply the Lyriq, which uses a 12-module, 100-kWh pack versus the Hummer's 24 modules. Future electric SUVs for the Chevrolet and Buick brands will share a similar layout. The Celestiq is more of a one-off vehicle and a surprise addition to the portfolio. It will have at least two motors, and the long body provides a lot of underfloor space for energy storage. It will be able to fast-charge at 800 volts and likely provide at least 300 miles of range per charge.

ESTIMATED PRICE: The Lyriq starts at $59,990, and the Celestiq is expected to command at least $200,000.

EXPECTED ON-SALE DATE: Lyriq, Q1 2022; Celestiq, as early as 2023.

(motortrend.com)

Published in Cadillac
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