While the new Tesla Model Y is a beautifully designed crossover, we can’t deny that it’s really just a slightly larger Model 3 with a hatch. The Model Y only looks around 6-8 inches taller than the Model 3, and maybe just a little bit longer. So given the measly 15 cubic feet of storage on the Model 3, will it’s big brother be able to deliver the utility consumers are looking for?

A comfortable ride

The few additional inches of headroom don’t sound like much, but they might be exactly what we need. The raised seats and ride height give drivers a better view of the road. I’ve always felt the feeling of safety from this commanding position is the reason behind the popularity of SUVs.

The large panoramic glass roof will make it feel even larger. The back crossbar has been moved back compared to the Model 3, giving an even more stunning view. And the interior components are almost identical to the Model 3. The luxurious interior of the Model 3 given a little bit more space will go a long way to making this car very comfortable.

I’ve personally never been a huge fan of sedans myself. I don’t move very many large things regularly, so I don’t really need the storage. But getting into a car low down to the ground has always felt awkward. Getting out of a sedan while trying to hold groceries is just risking embarrassment. And I’ve never liked the feeling of cars towering over me in traffic.

I think just that little bit of extra height is enough to make the Model Y a very popular car. But is it going to live up to the utility needs we expect from a crossover?

More than ample storage

The standard sedan design with a small trunk was probably the biggest thing holding back the Model 3. We’ve established the Model Y isn’t that much larger than the Model 3. But by switching to a crossover design the Model Y is able to pack in an impressive 66 cubic feet of storage with the back seats down.

The Model Y really will be a great crossover for adventurers. Ditching the wing doors we saw on the Model X will allow for roof racks on the Model Y, giving even more storage. No one wants to throw their dirty snowboards or mountain bikes in the back of their nice SUV.

Seating for seven

All this extra space even allows for an optional third row of seating. Looking at the side profile of the Model Y this is a tad confusing. It doesn’t look like there’s enough headroom for an adult to sit there and legroom will probably be constrained as well.

Many of those who were able to ride in the Model Y commented that the third row only looked big enough for children. This kind of cramped third-row option is fairly common on SUVs. While we can speculate about how much space there will be, we won’t find out until this option is available in 2021.

I really don’t think we can knock Tesla for offering what seems to be very cramped seating. Something like this certainly could be useful for large families. I think instead we should be focusing on their confidence in showing this option in the first place.

Showing even third-row seating is possible projects how much space this car has. I think it’s good marketing to offer an option like this to help establish the Model Y as a proper contender in the crossover market. People know how small the interior of the Model 3 was and an option like this shows this isn’t just a slightly larger Model 3.

Our take

I think the Model Y hits the perfect sweet spot for many consumers. The higher ride height and hatchback design resonate strongly with consumers. With ample space in the back with the seats down, you won’t have trouble hauling around anything. And ditching falcon doors to allow for a roof rack really puts the utility back in SUV.

With the Model Y being so close to delivering we want to spend time analyzing all the best features of this hotly anticipated crossover. You can check out our article yesterday about what the Model Y’s 315-mile range means for the future of EVs. And stay tuned because tomorrow we’ll be delving into how this crossover that drives like a sports car will be one of the the safest crossovers on the market.

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