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Model Y test-drive experience (not a current Tesla owner)

Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
32
55
Ontario
Considering buying a Model Y and Tesla were kind enough to provide us with an overnight test drive.

Some thoughts feelings but some disclosure first:
- I am a 'young-ish middle aged' woman (been driving for over 25 years, will leave it at that)
- I don't currently own a Tesla
- I do own a PHEV and am used to one pedal driving. This PHEV is currently our only car and we have a Level 2 charger in the garage.
- We are looking to stay a one car fam
- I am not an Elon Fan Girl
- I am not a luddite
- I typically own cars for 4-5 years
- We live in Southern Ontario (hot summers, cold and snowy winters).
- Most of my daily driving is sub 100km but with summer and weekend holidays as far as 350-400km.

As our PHEV starts to creep up km on the odometer we are due to make a decision on a new car. Hubs and I have decided we are ready to take the plunge into full BEV. This automatically narrows down our choices substantially. Polestar2, Bolt, All 3 Teslas, Mach-E, Etron, Kona, I-Pace have all been considered. The Mach-E is exceptional and frankly after test-driving it anyone who writes it off because it is a Ford is really being silly. It's not only a super fun car to drive but it is far more relatable for most coming from an ICE setup (cluster in front of driver, superb interior finishings). The drawback with the Mach-E is the inferior DC Fast charging network in Ontario (probably most of Canada) and frankly some very questionable supply/allocation issues to our local dealers. One doesn't need to document the inferior experience in a Big 3 dealership but yeah, it's stone-age like, still.

So fast-forward to my Model Y experience.

I have VERY bad motion sickness. I can't read on trains or as a passenger in a car and I usually take to driving as it occupies my mind and I have always found it helps with my motion sickness. First day was horrific. The one pedal driving in a Tesla is not like a PHEV. I narrowed this down in the end to the acceleration and I found "Chill" mode helped me a tonne. Also, I should note here that the acceleration in this mode is still plenty and anyone who tells you otherwise I would question.

I also should mention that I think some of the unsettling feeling I experienced may have come from the movement on the screen. The left side portion of the screen with the image of your car in relation to other cars on the road, road signs etc I'm sure some people love; I do not. It would be great if in future iterations you could have this disappear with your speed posted in a larger font or maybe have the map take up the whole screen. I'm actually sort of surprised that people find much purpose to this dual screen within a screen. It's distracting without a doubt.

Voice controls should help reduce the screen distraction although there were next to no music voice controls -- perhaps that hasn't come out yet or I didn't say the right thing? Not sure. But it would be nice to have "change music to X." The functionality seems a bit nascent still.

I have owned Audi's, BMW's, Mercedes, VW, GMC, Ford and I can say, the steering wheel stinks. It's small and toy like and not in keeping with the cool factor of the vehicle. Honestly cannot understand how there isn't more outrage about how silly it feels in your hands when you drive. I wasn't expecting a BMW M sport wheel but my god for $80,000 please come out with a wheel that makes the driver feel they are getting some interior value other than a screen.

Suspension is firm, like driving an X5, but it's almost too bumpy and I cannot figure out if it was the stock tires or the way the car is tuned?

Now for the good stuff...

LOVE the sound system. Far and away one of the best I've ever experienced. Really just wanted to listen to music the whole time and not my husband (who was riding shotgun).

LOVED the supercharger experience. Would imagine most of my charging to be at home but I really like that you have peace of mind that you can charge quickly if you are on a road trip. So called 'range anxiety' is a non-issue.

The cargo capacity in the Model Y is really ample. I was really surprised. The rear seats fold nearly flat and that is such an important thing not to overlook as I have found that most car manufacturers do not have rear seats that fold anywhere near flat.

The driver and passenger seat are ridiculously comfortable. I herniated two discs last year and I have to be honest, these seats are dreamy. I could easily see myself driving for 3 hours with no problems and no need for a stretch break (same cannot be said about my Big 3 PHEV).

The Model Y corners brilliantly for a vehicle that size. Sometimes you forget you are in a Crossover/SUV. I took it on tight country roads, narrow two lanes, up and down hills and it handled really well in all those conditions (albeit it was dry).

I have some concerns about the exterior and interior fit and finish which makes me have some concerns for the wellbeing of those Space-X astronauts. How can a car manufacturer be satisfied delivering a car to dealer where there were no less than 4 visible issues inside (2 with the fabric around the glass roof and 2 with the rubber seal around the interior passenger doors). On the exterior of our demo there were 3 visible issues (paint disclouration, panel misalignments). And again, let's pause here to remember this is a $80,000 CAD car on the road. For that money I could buy a BMW M2. Perhaps I'm being anal but that is a lot of money for most people and it's pretty discouraging to know that the only response Tesla has is "well take notes at delivery and we will try and fix it and if not you can get a new VIN or get your deposit back."

So all told, it's a real contender for us. The cargo room would fit our one-car needs. It's fun to drive. The screen and functionality takes some getting used to but the same could be said for every new car purchase. But I can't shake that head vs heart dichotomy that is at play. Something tells me that all these finishing issues are not something to brush off and that I should be listening to my head here before purchasing.

Would welcome and love to hear others opinions. Thanks!
 

johninor

Member
Feb 11, 2021
5
4
Portland Oregon
Thanks for the review. I'm shopping and like seeing reviews from people who are new to Tesla, as I would be. Why so coy about the model of your PHEV? Knowing where someone is coming from, helps to understand their reactions to the Tesla.
 
Oct 28, 2019
99
66
Ridgewood NJ
Did you try autopilot? And if so how does it compare? I find that is helpful on long trips.
I have a 3 and it has plenty of space. The y would be even better with the hatch
the paint quality is iffy and the panel/door alignment is not perfect.
the driving experience more than makes up for it though
 
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Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
32
55
Ontario
Thanks for the review. I'm shopping and like seeing reviews from people who are new to Tesla, as I would be. Why so coy about the model of your PHEV? Knowing where someone is coming from, helps to understand their reactions to the Tesla.
Oh gosh - sorry, not my intention. 2017 Chevy Volt. Thanks John :)
 

Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
32
55
Ontario
Did you try autopilot? And if so how does it compare? I find that is helpful on long trips.
I have a 3 and it has plenty of space. The y would be even better with the hatch
the paint quality is iffy and the panel/door alignment is not perfect.
the driving experience more than makes up for it though
Thanks @DwightKSchrute - I LOVE the look of the Model 3 but as this would be our only car and we run a business we really need the flexibility of more cargo and a flat wide easily accessible opening for the trunk. If the Model 3 was a hatch I wouldn't even hesitate - in fact I would pre-order if this news came out. For reference a BEV BMW 3 series wagon would be my dream car, ha! Drives like a sedan with a hatch rear opening.

I did't try autopilot. I know this may sound crazy but I'm one of those people that truly love to drive a car. I cannot ever imagine FSD. Cruise control is great on highways but It isn't really a hugely important thing for me personally.
 

LargeHamCollider

Battery cells != scalable
Jan 10, 2015
968
1,805
United States
So all told, it's a real contender for us. The cargo room would fit our one-car needs. It's fun to drive. The screen and functionality takes some getting used to but the same could be said for every new car purchase. But I can't shake that head vs heart dichotomy that is at play. Something tells me that all these finishing issues are not something to brush off and that I should be listening to my head here before purchasing.

Would welcome and love to hear others opinions. Thanks!
Great review!

I’m only responding to the bolded part above, I’ve bought two Tesla’s, one was a Y last December. Both had very minor issues (the button in the trunk of the Y didn’t make the seats fold flat initially) and I assure you these finishing issues ARE INDEED something to brush off. They don’t effect functionality, are easily fixed, and are not indicative of serious issues coming in the future.
 

house9

Supporting Member
Nov 16, 2019
371
397
California
the steering wheel stinks

Eh, I guess this is a personal preference thing; steering wheel works great for me. There are software settings to control ‘the feel’ of steering if that is an issue for you?

Voice controls should help reduce the screen distraction although there were next to no music voice controls -- perhaps that hasn't come out yet or I didn't say the right thing?

“Play Hell Awaits by Slayer on Spotify” - works every time :)
It could definitely be better, not sure how good it works for playing music off of USB drive?
 

Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
32
55
Ontario
Than
Great review!

I’m only responding to the bolded part above, I’ve bought two Tesla’s, one was a Y last December. Both had very minor issues (the button in the trunk of the Y didn’t make the seats fold flat initially) and I assure you these finishing issues ARE INDEED something to brush off. They don’t effect functionality, are easily fixed, and are not indicative of serious issues coming in the future.
Thanks so much @LargeHamCollider - I really appreciate you taking time to reply. It definitely eases my fears hearing from those who have pulled the trigger.
 

Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
32
55
Ontario
Heh
Eh, I guess this is a personal preference thing; steering wheel works great for me. There are software settings to control ‘the feel’ of steering if that is an issue for you?



“Play Hell Awaits by Slayer on Spotify” - works every time :)
It could definitely be better, not sure how good it works for playing music off of USB drive?
Hehe - good stuff!! I think our SA didn’t really give us a full rundown on ‘can do’s’ before we left the lot so we were winging it a lot. Good to know it’s largely down to being Tesla virgins.
 
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jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
2,587
2,560
Maryland
The windshield of the Model Y is so expansive that I prefer to keep the sun visor flipped down to limit my view to the road ahead.

Tesla provides every Tesla vehicle with a Full Self Driving (FSD) Demo. When you elect to turn this demo on the left side of the Model Y's screen becomes an animated advertisement for FSD. I found the FSD demo to be very distracting and turned it off. The Tesla vehicle is a champ at recognizing traffic cones and recycling containers. I wish the Tesla vehicle would do the same for pedestrians, runners, joggers and bicyclists as they come into view in the road's shoulder lane.

To get the most enjoyment from the Tesla audio system you would want to have a Spotify Premium account, Tesla Premium connectivity plan. The voice controls work well with Spotify; The native Tesla Spotify app works well most of the time however Spotify regularly loses it's mind when it comes to resuming playlists, behaves like a dog that is off the leash. Spotify will stubbornly start playing some random selection from your Liked song list and nothing can dissuade it that you don't want to hear Alvin and the Chipmunks right now.

If you are a fan of Amazon's Echo products, you can integrate the Amazon Alexa app with the Tesla vehicle via a Bluetooth (BT) connection. The Amazon Echo Auto device, a tiny microphone array, turns your phone into a fully hands free Alexa enabled device. You can converse with Alexa while driving, use many of the Alexa functions. Amazon's Alexa app has skills for many audio streaming services; you can use the Alexa app to stream Amazon Music, Apple Music, Audible, Pandora, IHeartRadio, TuneIn, and SiriusXM. This is a handy way to listen to AM radio (via TuneIn) or SiriusXM programming because Tesla left out the AM receiver and the SiriusXM satellite radio receiver from the Model 3 and Model Y. The Alexa functions extend all the way back to your home automation - "Alexa, turn up the heat", leave Alexa messages for other Alexa users and set even set reminders that are linked to your phone's location. Alexa can even annouce, as you arrive at home or work, "Here is your reminder to check the back seat for the baby." All of the Alexa audio is heard through the Tesla's audio system when you select your phone as the BT source.
 
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Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
32
55
Ontario
The windshield of the Model Y is so expansive that I prefer to keep the sun visor flipped down to limit my view to the road ahead.

Tesla provides every Tesla vehicle with a Full Self Driving (FSD) Demo. When you elect to turn this demo on the left side of the Model Y screen becomes an animated advertisement for FSD. I found the FSD demo to be very distracting and turned it off. The Tesla vehicle is a champ at recognizing traffic cones and recycling containers. I wish it would do the same for runners/joggers and bicyclists.

To get the most enjoyment from the Tesla audio system you would want to have a Spotify Premium account, Tesla Premium connectivity plan. The voice controls work well with Spotify; The native Tesla Spotify app works well most of the time however Spotify regularly loses it's mind when it comes to resuming playlists, behaves like a dog that is off the leash. Spotify will stubbornly start playing some random selection from your Liked song list and nothing can dissuade it that you don't want to hear Alvin and the Chipmunks right now.

If you are a fan of Amazon's Echo products, you can integrate the Amazon Alexa app with the Tesla vehicle via a Bluetooth (BT) connection. The Amazon Echo Auto device, a tiny microphone array, turns your phone into a fully hands free Alexa enabled device. You can converse with Alexa while driving, use many of the Alexa functions. Amazon's Alexa app has skills for many audio streaming services; you can use the Alexa app to stream Amazon Music, Apple Music, Audible, Pandora, IHeartRadio, TuneIn, and SiriusXM. This is a handy way to listen to AM radio (via TuneIn) or SiriusXM programming because Tesla left out the AM receiver and the SiriusXM satellite radio receiver from the Model 3 and Model Y. The Alexa functions extend all the way back to your home automation - "Alexa, turn up the heat", leave Alexa messages for other Alexa users and set even set reminders that are linked to your phone's location. Alexa can even annouce, as you arrive at home or work, "Here is your reminder to check the back seat for the baby." All of the Alexa audio is heard through the Tesla's audio system when you select your phone as the BT source.
Love it! Thanks for the giggle.
You are right, the visibility is superb. I would agree.

And ditto for traffic cones v cyclists. Thanks to Covid there is a lot of pedestrian distancing going on in our hood and not once did I see a person or cyclist come up on screen, but boy it does love to highlight the construction cones.

Great to know about the connectivity. The integration sounds wicked. Thanks :)
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
2,587
2,560
Maryland
Love it! Thanks for the giggle.
You are right, the visibility is superb. I would agree.

And ditto for traffic cones v cyclists. Thanks to Covid there is a lot of pedestrian distancing going on in our hood and not once did I see a person or cyclist come up on screen, but boy it does love to highlight the construction cones.

Great to know about the connectivity. The integration sounds wicked. Thanks :)
You can use the Amazon Alexa App with the Amazon Echo Auto microphone array in your 2017 Volt, right now, the Alexa app would function exactly the same as in the Tesla. (The Echo Auto device, frequently on sale for $25 US, is a great deal if you already use Amazon Alexa automation. The Echo Auto device is like a Trojan Horse, turns your phone into a voice-centric competitor to Apple CarPlay.)
 
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gundarx

Member
Feb 5, 2020
253
401
Renton, WA
3 series wagon in EV form as ideal- sounds like Taycan Cross Turismo would be perfect for you maybe except for price.. also maybe Jaguar iPace

for the steering wheel, it takes a few days to get used to the smaller wheel but you’ll quickly appreciate it as it’s much sportier and direct than a traditional one- the lack of instrument panel that needs to stay visible in the center of the steering wheel pretty much dictated the size of the wheel in most cars; aftermarket racing and formula cars have smaller steering wheels if you think about it; before my Model 3 and Y, my previous car was a Mazda RX8 with very rewarding steering feel that I did not think could be beat, but the smaller wheel in the 3/Y is better; driving a car with larger wheel like a Model S/X loaner (pre-Palladium redesign) feels like driving a truck.. quality-wise what you felt was likely due to vegan leather steering wheel; my 2018 Model 3 is non-vegan and feels better than the Y.

did you remember tire pressure on your test drive unit? the 2021 Y supposedly rides well with updated springs/shocks
compared to early 2020 (demo units might be 2020).. set tire pressure to no higher than 40 psi or as low as 38 if you find it too rough
 
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Oct 28, 2019
99
66
Ridgewood NJ
Thanks @DwightKSchrute - I LOVE the look of the Model 3 but as this would be our only car and we run a business we really need the flexibility of more cargo and a flat wide easily accessible opening for the trunk. If the Model 3 was a hatch I wouldn't even hesitate - in fact I would pre-order if this news came out. For reference a BEV BMW 3 series wagon would be my dream car, ha! Drives like a sedan with a hatch rear opening.

I did't try autopilot. I know this may sound crazy but I'm one of those people that truly love to drive a car. I cannot ever imagine FSD. Cruise control is great on highways but It isn't really a hugely important thing for me personally.
Autopilot is most useful in traffic and on long trips. Good luck with your decision
 

Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
32
55
Ontario
3 series wagon in EV form as ideal- sounds like Taycan Cross Turismo would be perfect for you maybe except for price.. also maybe Jaguar iPace

for the steering wheel, it takes a few days to get used to the smaller wheel but you’ll quickly appreciate it as it’s much sportier and direct than a traditional one- the lack of instrument panel that needs to stay visible in the center of the steering wheel pretty much dictated the size of the wheel in most cars; aftermarket racing and formula cars have smaller steering wheels if you think about it; before my Model 3 and Y, my previous car was a Mazda RX8 with very rewarding steering feel that I did not think could be beat, but the smaller wheel in the 3/Y is better; driving a car with larger wheel like a Model S/X loaner (pre-Palladium redesign) feels like driving a truck.. quality-wise what you felt was likely due to vegan leather steering wheel; my 2018 Model 3 is non-vegan and feels better than the Y.

did you remember tire pressure on your test drive unit? the 2021 Y supposedly rides well with updated springs/shocks
compared to early 2020 (demo units might be 2020).. set tire pressure to no higher than 40 psi or as low as 38 if you find it too rough
Thanks for your note! It was defo a 2020 but I stupidly did not look at the PSI.

Won't buy a Jag. Family members have had nothing but problems with them. The Taycan looks sweet but we don't have the money to spend on something like that. If I had more than $100K to spend on a car I would probably buy a 1 year old Model S cause the rear hatch is a gem. Sadly cars are a lot more expensive in Canada than the US.
 

Sixth

Member
Aug 12, 2020
54
31
San Gabriel, CA
If you find the regen and acceleration on the model y too aggressive for your liking. change the mode to chill, stopping mode to creep.
Those settings mimic what the Mach E uses by default.

To my knowledge, when I did a test drive in the Mach E. There is no way to alter the stopping mode like the Y has.
 
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VT_EE

Active Member
Apr 22, 2017
2,037
2,458
Maryland
I love the Model 3 and Y steering wheel. I find the smaller wheel far superior than larger ones for sporty driving.
 

sleepydoc

Member
Aug 2, 2020
88
67
Minneapolis
Did you try autopilot? And if so how does it compare? I find that is helpful on long trips.
I have a 3 and it has plenty of space. The y would be even better with the hatch
the paint quality is iffy and the panel/door alignment is not perfect.
the driving experience more than makes up for it though
If you have motion sickness as bad as the original poster, On the highway it’s fine but I would definitely avoid using autopilot in the city - it’s getting better but tends to jerk around a bit.

I have a mid 2020 model (VIN 027xxx) and I’ve been disappointed in the suspension. Evidently they’ve improved it for the later 2020/2021 models, but that will definitely play into the motion sickness, too.
 
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