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.
|Miles Driven||Average Electricity Consumption (kWh/100 mi)|
Latest Highlights (updated 02/19/21)
- Will the road bike fit?
- Interior rattles are noticable at low speeds
- New firmware update adds "Cat Quest" arcade game
2020 Tesla Model Y: Real-World Fuel Economy
Nearly a year into our ownership of the Model Y and we're not close to the EPA estimated 30 kWh for combined driving. Remember, a lower number is better, when it comes to electric vehicle fuel economy figures. We've only beat the EPA eatimate on a handful of occasions. We'll chalk this up to the lead feet on staff, as our Performance model has gone through a number of drag tests and spirited driving.
Average lifetime consumption (kWh/100 miles): 41.7
EPA rating (kWh/100 miles): 30 combined (29 city, 32 highway)
Best consumption (kWh/100): 27.9
Best range: 242.8
Average range: 103.4
Current odometer: 9,171
Tesla's proprietary DC fast charging network — aka, the Supercharger network — is a huge advantage for driving long distances. It's far and away the most convenient system in my experience. First of all, there are way more charging locations than what other 3rd party charging networks (such as Electrify America) currently have. These locations are all nicely integrated into a Tesla's onboard navigation system, too. To use a Supercharger, you simply back into the space, connect the charger cable and let it do its work. You don't have to fiddle with a charging unit touchscreen, a mobile app or anything else. The per kWh charges for electricity are reasonably priced and are automatically applied to a credit card that you keep on file. Tesla also does a better job of building its stations near convenient locations with shopping and bathrooms. — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"It's crazy to me that our Model Y offers such a high mix of performance, utility and efficiency. As for the performance part, just check out our recent videos. First, we drag raced it against Germany's best small super sport SUVs, the BMW X3 M and Mercedes AMG GLC 63. Then we raced it against the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. It effectively tied them all in our official instrumented testing, ripping from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and clearing the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds. Yet from a "just floor it and go" standpoint, the Y is the clear winner." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"Driving the Hyundai Nexo for a week gave me pause. It made me think "If hydrogen were more easily available, would electric cars like the Model Y be much less popular?" The Nexo is Hyundai's new hydrogen fuel-cell SUV. It's a bit of an odd duck (it's the only hydrogen SUV currently available) but it's really well-built and it's excellent to drive. Then, as that train of thought left the station, I thought "Well, why not drive the Model Y and see which one you like more, regardless of fuel availability?" So, I did. Tuesday I drove the Nexo on our 120-mile evaluation loop, then, Wednesday, I hoped in our Model Y and drove the same loop. I like them both, they're both good in their own ways, but the Nexo is much more user friendly. It's quieter, more comfortable, has more features for the money and it has much nicer seats. The Model Y is sexy to look at and it's remarkably quick, but it's not the daily driver I'd choose." — Travis Langness, reviews editor
"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
"Is the ride quality of our Model Y stiff? Yes. But is it uncomfortably stiff? The answer to that depends on what your expectations are. If you think about it in broad luxury SUV terms, then yes, our Y's ride is rough and jittery. But what about from a performance SUV standpoint? This is where I can easily justify it. After all, our Y is responsive and impressively hunkers down when you're driving around turns. If I bought a Model Y Performance — knowing that I wanted performance out of it — I wouldn't mind the ride quality at all." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"While driving home from the Edmunds' test track, I was attempting to roll up my front two windows and happened to rollover a semi-bumpy section of road. The bumps in the road weren't that big, but they were enough to trigger the anti-pinch safety mechanism in the Model Y window. I tried it over several other patchy spots of pavement and could replicate the issue. Just goes to show how stiff the Model Y suspension is (or overly sensitive pinch sensors?)." — Jonathan Elfalan, senior manager, test team
"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: Utility
The Model Y's cargoe area is very spacious. Tesla cites 68 cubic feet of maximum capacity, most likely with the rear seats folded down, but it's unclear whether that number includes the front trunk. The rear seats don't fold entirely flat, but there's a wide opening and an easy load-in height.
"It was time for my annual tune up on my road bicycle and the shop isn't near my home, so I had to load it into the back of our Model Y. I don't like taking off the front wheel on my bike, so it tends to take up more room in cars I've been in. I wasn't worried about it not fitting, but I was interested in seeing how easy it would be. I'm pleased to report that it was very easy to fit my bike into the Model Y. It was simply a matter of a button press on each seat back and they quickly laid flat. I had a few inches to spare and it probably could've accommodated two bikes, provided you had a blanket or something to separate them." — Ronald Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"It's interesting to me how the vibe of Tesla ownership has changed from when we first tested our Model S to now with our Model Y. Back in 2013, it was a Big Deal to see another Model S owner while driving or when pulling into a Supercharger station. I'd often exchange waves or nods with them. We knew we were driving the future, and it was neat to be at the start of it. Flash forward just seven years. Tesla ownership is decidedly less special. There are way more Teslas at the Supercharger stations, and nobody acknowledges each other. You just plug in, hop back in your car and stare at your phone." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content