Tesla’s New Model Y Gets High Marks From a Critic Musk Respects

Tesla Inc.’s new Model Y has what people have come to expect from Elon Musk’s cars: It’s lightning quick, handles nicely and has better electronic gadgetry than its competitors.

Unlike past Tesla offerings, early versions are rolling off the assembly line looking more like you’d expect from a company with a handle on the finer points of car building, according to Sandy Munro. The manufacturing consultant who’s been tearing cars apart piece-by-piece for three decades offered his initial impressions before digging into the Model Y that his shop took delivery of this week.

“I don’t have much negative to say,” Munro said in an interview. “It’s much better than theModel 3 when we got it. We found problems, but the average car buyer won’t even see these things.”

Munro and his eponymous firm have been well known for years among Detroit’s automotive engineers for their in-depth analysis of hundreds of cars from virtually every manufacturer. He gained wider notoriety by tearing down the Model 3 — Musk’s first attempt at a mass-manufactured car — two years ago.

In April 2018, Munro offered a mixed review of an early-build Model 3, praising Tesla’s technology while also calling out some seriousmanufacturing flaws. After a few more months of close consideration, his firm found potential for Musk to make the sedanprofitably.

Musk, who’s not always one to roll with the punches from critics,praised Munro for his engineering prowess in January.

Walking around his firm’s recently purchased Model Y, Munro used a small measuring stick to find inconsistent gaps between body panels and the hood of the vehicle. He found similar spaces between the tail lights and rear body parts.

But he gives the five-passenger Model Y high marks for its cavernous cargo space. The crossover is only a touch longer than the BMW X3 but much roomier with the rear seats folded down.

Tesla also is clearly benefiting from a powertrain edge. Munro said two years ago that the Model 3’s battery pack and electric motors were the best he’d seen. The Model Y boasts 316 miles of range between charges, beatingAudi’s e-tron by 112 miles andJaguar’s I-Pace by 82 miles.

Tesla’s crossover starts at $52,990, undercutting the base versions of Jaguar’s model by almost $17,000 and Audi’s by nearly $22,000.

“It will sell,” Munro said of the Model Y. “Tesla buyers will overlook everything and other buyers won’t see what we see.”

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