I Test Drove a Tesla Model Y Performance – First Impressions

by Giovanni

While I hold my self given title of both a Tesla enthusiast and owner, I’ve never actually been placed behind the wheel of Tesla’s current most sold vehicle, the Model 3. Sitting at the helm of a Model Y, I quickly learned why owners are so fond of their vehicles. As much as I love my Model S, there’s something about the Model Y that’s just calling my name.

At ~40% market share, crossovers are undeniably one of the most popular automotive segments in the U.S. It’s no wonder why many are speculating the Model Y will be Tesla’s most sold vehicle.

If I learned anything after checking out the Model Y, it’s that Tesla still holds a significant lead in the EV space.

The Model Y is for the most part best compared with either a Model 3 or Model X, when choosing to compare against affordability or size. However, for the most part I will be comparing it directly with a Model S since it is after all my current vehicle and the one I would trade up from.

Size

As I prioritize comfort and styling, I prefer vehicles on the larger side. Most of my daily drivers have been large sedans, as with my Model S. However, I’m by no means new to the crossover world, my second love. Crossovers not only look great, but they provide the comfort found in large sedans for nearly half the cost, in a lot of cases.

On the web I saw many stating the drastic ride height difference between the 3 and Y. While I’m certain it’s there, I felt minimal difference between it and my daily driver S. The interior felt spacious and looking at the numbers, the width matches up closely in size to a Model S.

The head room was noticeable giving the Y a spacious fell without sacrificing the sporty drive style. With the all glass panoramic roof adding that extra couple of inches of headroom, the ceiling is nearly unreachable (not really).

Front row legroom felt nearly identical with the Model S. As is turns out, the Model 3 and S both have 42.7″ of front row legroom. The Y has just 0.9″ less, but its unnoticeable to the trained leg. As for the second row, the Model Y actually has more leg room than both at 40.5″. I’m not one to sit in the back seat of my car, or drive people around, so this doesn’t really affect me but it’s nice to know.

On paper the Model Y has more cargo space than both the Model 3 and Y, but that’s not really a fair statement. The majority of that space is due to its height, and who’s packing their car to the ceiling? At 9″ shorter in length than a Model S, there’s a small difference in trunk size but that’s never been an issue. With the lack of a motor, EV’s offer much more storage space than traditional ICE’s with both a frunk and a deeper compartment in the trunk.

Performance

While I’ve stated I’ve never been behind the wheel of a Model 3, I have been driven around and launched in a few. The Performance Model Y maintains the performance we’ve come to love from Tesla. With a 0-60 of 3.5 seconds, it’s not only one of the fastest crossovers available, it’s one of the fasted affordable cars overall.

I will note, on a personal note, being around many cars in my life, I have been spoiled by the speed of others such as the Performance Model S. However, at 3.5 seconds (or even 4.8 seconds with a Long Range) the Model Y is plenty of fast to have fun in a daily driver.

As you would expect, due to its taller stance, the Model Y will not give you the same track experience found with the Model 3 or S. It is after all a crossover, not a sports car.

Design

Getting a bit controversial for a moment, I’ve never been too much a fan of Tesla’s design language. The Model S is one of the best looking cars on the road, the Cybertruck is out of this world, but the others just lack in appeal to me personally. That being said, the Model Y is not at the bottom of my list. I love the car from all angles but one, the front.

The minimalist interior is something Model 3 owners have come to appreciate. I’ve never truly been on board and have always found the Model S/X interiors more attractive. The new age air vent of the 3/Y is ridiculously cool but I can’t get over the rest of it. I much prefer the display built into the dash and a designated instrument cluster.

Initially I considered the lack of instrument cluster (or even a HUD) a deal breaker. But sitting behind the wheel for a couple hours, it didn’t feel like a missing necessity. I still prefer the aesthetics but I’m not going to fight you over it.

Outlook

The Tesla Model Y is almost half the cost of what I paid for my Model S, but it’s no where near half the car. With a current starting price of $49,990 for a Long Ranged variant, the Tesla Model Y is by far the best deal in auto sales. It’s both a great daily driver and a great car for families while remaining relatively affordable.

Given the opportunity I’d choose it over a Model S. Simply put, it’s more for the money. I even considered trading in my Model S for one until I received my trade in quote. As much as Elon Musk would like to argue, Tesla’s are not an appreciating asset. In my little over two years of ownership my Model S has cost me ~$60,000 with its trade-in value being cut in half.

A Model Y would lower my monthly payments but I can’t convince myself to walk away at the bottom of the depreciation curve. Especially when I’d be cutting down looks and only gaining a bit of range and faster charging, neither of which my driving habits require.

If anything, a used Model S might just be a better deal than a Model Y. It features all the same technological advancements, HW3 and MCU2 included, while cutting down on some range and adding performance.

I’m just hoping my cars value wont once again be cut in half before the release of the Cybertruck.

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