- Seat-pinning acceleration
- Rides too stiff for our taste
- Build quality has been an issue
Here's How Our 2020 Tesla Model Y Fared in Its First 20K Miles
It lives up to the Performance name, but at the cost of ride quality
It's been about 27 months since the 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance joined our long-term test fleet. We took delivery of it back in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then we've driven it over 22,000 miles. We usually sell the vehicles we purchase after a year has passed, but because Tesla is constantly making tweaks to the Model Y's software, we figured it would be good to hang onto the car a while longer. This gives us a chance to test out those firmware upgrades and also get more experience with long-term reliability. In celebration of our Tesla Model Y's two-year anniversary, we take a look back at a few highs and lows of our ownership experience.
Earned its Performance credentials
We bought the Model Y Performance trim, and it's certainly lived up to the name. In Edmunds' testing, our best recorded 0-60 mph time was 3.7 seconds, and we ran the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds at 115 mph. Those are amazing numbers for an SUV — or any other vehicle for that matter.
Since that initial testing, our Model Y went on to have an impressive 2021 drag race season, going 6-3 against a Dream Team of performance vehicles. Here's how the Model Y Performance stacked up against all comers, listed in no particular order. We've also linked videos of each race below.
- Porsche Taycan: win
- Lamborghini Urus: loss
- Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: win
- Ford Mustang Mach-E GT: win
- BMW X3 M: win
- Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 63: win
- Chevrolet Corvette (C8): loss
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: win
- Tesla Model S Plaid: loss
Ride quality was unanimously disliked
Nearly everyone who drove our Model Y complained about its harsh ride quality. It is that noticeable. You will feel every imperfection in the road, and if you're sensitive to motion sickness, this vehicle may not be for you.
We have 21-inch wheels equipped. These were included in the Performance Upgrade package offered at the time, but are now standard on Performance models. Larger wheels generally equal a choppier ride, though we've also read reports from owners that the 19- and 20-inch wheels aren't noticeably better. We understand this is the sporty version, but we've been in faster cars that have a softer ride.
Shake, rattle and roll
Build quality has been an issue with Teslas since our first long-term test of a 2013 Tesla Model S. In our Model Y, we've had a sun visor pop out of place, loose trim on the interior b-pillar and seat belt adjuster, plus a foglight that became loose and sunk into the front bumper.
The cabin booms when you go over a bump and it rattles as though it had been assembled with a glue stick. We were able to identify one of the causes of the rattles. The driver's side front window regulator needed to be replaced, as it was rattling the door when the window was down. We have a Ford Mustang Mach-E in our fleet and it sounds like an anechoic chamber compared to the Model Y.
Finally, this 2020 Model Y has been issued 13 recalls by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration, though not all of them applied to our specific vehicle. For some perspective, the 2021 Mach-E — also a first-year new model — has five open recalls and the hybrid 2020 Lexus NX 300h has zero recalls. Last but not least, Consumer Reports gave the 2020 Model Y one of their lowest reliability scores.
The 2020 Tesla Model Y is at its best when you're accelerating quickly on a smooth surface, but if you live in a city with roads in disrepair, the firmness of its ride will be an issue. Its build quality also hasn't been the best.