2020 Tesla Model Y: What's It Like to Live With?

We bought a 2020 Tesla Model Y Dual Motor Performance. How is the build quality? How fast is it? Is it a true performance small luxury SUV? Follow our ownership experience to find out.

Tesla Model Y 2020
Miles DrivenAverage Electricity Consumption (kWh/100 mi)
1,03638.3

Latest Highlights (updated 05/29/20)

  • We give our impressions on the Model Y's interior.
  • Ride quality has caused some motion sickness.
  • New Video Added: We compare Tesla Model Y, Model 3 and Ford's Mustang Mach-E


What We Bought And Why

by Carlos Lago, Feature Content

Our test vehicle: 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range All-Wheel Drive Performance
Base MSRP: $61,125
MSRP as tested: $68,700
What we paid: $68,700

Our 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long Range had a rocky start. At one point we had so many problems that we dedicated a channel in Slack to it just to document it all. But then last year, we named the 2020 model our Top Rated Electric Car. Clearly, things can improve.

So when Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the Tesla Model Y, which essentially appeared to be an SUV version of the Model 3, we paid close attention. We also put a pre-order in as soon as the website would accept it. The Tesla Model 3 is great. Wouldn't one with a larger interior and more cargo space be an even better electric vehicle? Buying a Model Y was the best way to find out.

What Did We Get?
After owning two single-motor and rear-wheel-drive Tesla Model 3s back to back, we decided to go big with our Model Y. Doing so meant ordering the All-Wheel Drive Performance trim, as it's described on our sales documents. When we ordered it, this trim level had a starting price of $61,125 (including destination), though Tesla Model Y prices have changed since we placed our pre-order in March 2019.

We also selected the Model Y's no-cost Performance Upgrade that adds 21-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, a lower suspension and the all-important aluminum alloy pedals. This upgrade drops Tesla's range estimate from 315 miles to 280 miles, but it increases the top speed from 145 mph to 155 mph. The 0-60 mph claim of 3.5 seconds is unaffected.

All the previous Teslas we've owned have muted exterior colors (including our Signature Red Model X), so for the Model Y we went with the Red Multi-Coat paint ($2,500 at the time of our order). It's the fastest color there is, OK? And judging by everyone's reactions so far, this was the right color choice.

Lastly, we went one step above Autopilot and checked the box for Full Self-Driving Capability ($5,000 at the time of our order). Whether this capability will actually be realized during our ownership of the Model Y is a subject of much discussion (and a fair amount of eye-rolling), but we wanted to be ready just in case.

Why Did We Get It?
After owning a Model S, a Model X and two Model 3s, it seems silly to stop now. (We also have a Cybertruck on order.) In all seriousness, Tesla continues to provide one of the most fascinating vehicle ownership experiences out there, electric car or otherwise, and the Tesla Model Y represents an even stronger mainstream offering than the Model 3. With that in mind, we want to see how well it measures up to daily life with our staff. We're also interested in assessing build quality, which has been an issue with the majority of Teslas we've owned. Lastly, the Model Y is a small luxury SUV that Tesla says can do 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and 155 mph. What's not to like?

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.


2020 Tesla Model Y: Real-World Fuel Economy

We hit the 1,000 mile mark on our Model Y and while we've been able to match the 28 kWh combined EPA rating once, our lifetime consumption is well above that. Remember, lower is better when it comes to kWh ratings. For now, we're chalking this up to our editors wanting to test out the performance credentials of this Model Y and driving it a little faster than normal. The good news is that our best range of 242.8 is right on par with the estimate you get, when charging to the Tesla recommended 90 percent battery mark.

Average lifetime consumption (kWh/100 miles): 38.3
EPA rating (kWh/100 miles): 28 combined (26 city, 30 highway)
Best consumption (kWh/100): 28.4
Best range: 242.8
Average range: 127.8
Current odometer: 1,036

Logbook Highlights


2020 Tesla Model Y: Performance

We bought the "Performance" trim to see how fast modern day Teslas have become. Is it worth the $8,000 upgrade?

Logbook Highlights

"Like with all powerful Teslas, the acceleration is hilarious. Stomp on that go pedal and the resulting thrust pins your head back to the head rest. The effect makes me laugh just about as much as the on-board whoopee cushion.

Steering and handling are likewise impressive for a compact SUV. Like all EVs built this way, keeping all that mass nice and low returns enjoyable handling to the driver.

Combine the acceleration with the handling and our Model Y ends up being very quick on mountain roads. Such that part of the fun is the contrast between what you're understanding of an SUV is and how fast you're actually going." — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content


2020 Tesla Model Y: Comfort

A performance SUV must be fast, but also comfortable. Does the Model Y hit both targets?

Logbook Highlights

"Ride quality has never been a Tesla strength, but its perpetuated in the Performance upgrade version of the Y by the retuned suspension and huge (21in) wheel rims. Put simply, the Y never feels settled to the point where my wife complained of being slightly nauseous while riding in the rear about town. It will be interesting to learn whether others have the same experience." — Alistair Weaver, VP, editorial & editor-in-chief

"I've heard mixed things about the ride quality. The mass of the 21-inch wheels is certainly noticeable, but I didn't find the impacts to be too bad. I've heard though of other complaints — both on staff and external — that makes me want to spend more time driving in it. I swear the ride was less busy than our first Model 3, but a guy who goes to the same gym as me is actually returning his Model Y because he found the ride to be that poor." — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content

"Our Model Y is equipped with the "Performance Package," a free upgrade on the Performance trim level. It adds 21-inch Überturbine wheels, performance brakes, a lowered suspension, aluminum alloy pedals and it increases the top speed from 145mph to 155mph. Not bad for a free update. The only drawback is that it reduces your max range from 315 to 280, a decrease of 11 percent. It's a pretty cool value, but I'd honestly skip it. I love the way the 21 inch wheeks look, but they make the car ride a little rougher. It doesn't "beat you up" per se, but you definitely feel every imperfection on the road. For my needs, I'd gladly sacrifice some speed and performance, in favor of a cushier ride and longer range. In this case, maybe the long-range model is really the one for me." — Ron Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor



2020 Tesla Model Y: Interior

The Model Y's interior shares much in common with the Model 3, with a few differences. Here's what our editors have noted from sitting inside.

Logbook Highlights

"I spent a few days in the Model Y to prepare for a video comparison with the Model 3 and Ford Mustang Mach-E. My wife owns a Model 3 and I was particularly interested in how it would compare as a family car (we have a baby daughter).

No doubt as she grows up, our daughter will appreciate the extra rear legroom of the Y, but for now there's ample space for a child seat in either. The extra versatility of the hatchback is useful in the Model Y for throwing in the stroller, but I find the absence of a load cover irritating. Anyone peering through the glass can see what's inside." — Alistair Weaver, VP, editorial & editor-in-chief

"Outside of driving, it appears that the Model Y has three primary attributes: 1) A taller seating position for the perception of improved visibility. 2) A massive second row. 3) Much more storage capacity than the Model 3.

Visibility: The forward view appears strong, but for some reason I have a heightened awareness of the overhangs. My theory is that is has to do with how I can't see the hood from my ideal sitting position. The a-pillars are pretty thick. But worse, the rear view is abysmal. I'm calling it Camaro-like. Other coupe-style SUVs have similar problems, but that doesn't forgive the poor rearward view. You really have to rely on the array of sensors and alerts to safely reverse in this thing.

Second row: It's massive. Tons of head and leg room. Really like the reclining second row as well. USB-C charging ports will be great for those who have phones/devices that use them; otherwise you'll have to get an adapter. Standard heated rear seats is something you wont find standard in other small luxury SUVs, but there are no physical controls back there — odd. Also, you can adjust the rear vents but three-zone climate is not available.

The second row can be folded down from the cargo area, but in our car only the passenger side drops without a nudge. The second row is also pretty darn heavy too, especially the driver side. My wife actually might have trouble putting it back in place — still need to test." — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content


2020 Tesla Model Y: Videos

Here are the latest videos on the Tesla Model Y we've posted in the Edmunds YouTube Channel.

We've owned nearly every vehicle Tesla has ever sold. While we have — and have outlined — our complaints and criticisms, in this video Carlos Lago explains the things we think the rest of the industry could learn from Tesla.

Edmunds experts Alistair Weaver and Carlos Lago compare the pros and cons of Tesla's Model 3, Model Y and Ford's Mustang Mach-E. Which is the best between the Tesla Model Y and Model 3, and how do the Model Y and Model 3 compare to the Ford Mustang Mach-E? Watch to find out as Alistair and Carlos discuss key differences in electric car price, range, interior, specs and more.

We had plans for a much bigger comparison, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit. We still drove each high-performance luxury SUV, so in this video the Edmunds editorial team discusses the merits of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the BMW X3 M, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe and the Tesla Model Y Performance.

Tesla fans had a lot to say about our first impressions video on Edmunds' new long-term test car: a 2020 Tesla Model Y Dual Motor Performance. Here, Carlos Lago addresses an error or two, adds clarity to the first video, and answers some of your most frequent comments, including those about price, storage, phone integration and additional controls.

Our 2020 Tesla Model Y has arrived! In this video, Edmunds' Carlos Lago takes delivery of our new long-term test car and gives a brief review.