Electric Cars

Tesla Model Y crossover SUV unveiled

Elon Musk's long-awaited, more affordable electric SUV has been revealed. Here's what you need to know.

Tesla

Here it is, Tesla's Model Y, and it looks... pretty much like we expected it to.

Tesla

Tesla's Model Y has finally been unveiled to the public, and while the Model 3-based crossover SUV is pretty much what we expected, there's still a lot here to sink our teeth into. The Model Y has a little bit of a Model X feel about it-- including an unexpected optional third-row seating option -- minus its big brother's controversial Falcon doors. 

Mainly, however, there's a whole lot of Model 3 DNA and visuals in the 2020 Model Y. In fact, the latter is why it's arguably Tesla's least-innovative new vehicle ever. However, that probably doesn't matter much, and it could actually be a good thing: Given that consumer interest in crossover SUVs is at a fever pitch these days, this new offering is likely to become the brand's best-selling model when it finally hits the streets late next year. 

As Musk announced via Twitter recently, Model Y pricing starts at around 10 percent over what a comparably equipped Model 3 does while offering a usable range of approximately 300 miles. This works out to a $39,000 standard-range model, which Musk says is due in 2021, and a long-range model, which will cost $47,000 and go on sale in fall 2020. 

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What you get in trade is a slightly more family- and cargo-friendly shape and the smug satisfaction that you've got the newest Tesla on your block. Plus, given that the Model Y is based on the Model 3, this baby crossover will undoubtedly be pretty quick, as previewed in our early ride-along from Thursday's reveal event seen below.

The success or failure of the Model Y could make or break Tesla. If the vehicle appeals to buyers who hadn't previously been interested in a sedan like the Model 3 and couldn't afford a Model X, then it's all gravy. Of course, that also depends on whether Tesla is able to decide officially where to build it and whether it can build the vehicle without the pronounced quality issues it suffered with the Model 3 (and the Model X and S before it).

If Tesla isn't able to deliver on its promises or the vehicle ends up sharing much less in terms of parts with the Model 3 than expected, then it could go very badly. Based on aesthetics alone, though, that doesn't look to be an issue. It's worth remembering, however, that when the Model X was announced, it was supposed to share the bulk of its parts with the Model S, but ended up only sharing around 30 percent.

In any case, we now live in a world where Elon Musk has lived out his "S3XY" fantasy and made us all his accomplices in it. We're looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Model Y just as soon as we can pry one away from the folks at Tesla, but until then, keep an eye on Roadshow for more Model Y news as it happens.