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

DarrenHD

Member
May 14, 2015
57
53
London, Canada
Just to chime in here, I do find the Model Y ride very precise and certainly harsher than other recent EV's I have had. What I mean by that is you will feel every crack and bump in the road, and you do feel "bobbly" at times. If you are after a smooth comfortable ride then the this car isn't for you. Yes, you can lower the tire pressure to 39 PSI and it does help, but it only helps, it fundamentally can't solve the issue due to the type of suspension/shocks that are in the car. I have lowered my tire pressure to 39 PSI and as I said it does help, but for me as someone who leans more to the comfort side, the Y is disappointing and frustrating because otherwise it's such a perfect car.

As a reference point my last car was a 2018 Nissan Leaf and that car was MUCH better at handling bumps and imperfections on the road. And it still is a bit sporty. Obviously it doesn't hold a candle in handling or performance compared to the Tesla, but for a more comfortable ride, Nissan nailed it with that car's suspension (at least for my tastes). Before that I had a 2018 Volt and again that car was smoother - not quite as good as the Nissan but close.

The Model Y is a very stiff car and this can make the car rattle or squeak because of it. It's not really rattles in my car but vibrations and sound resonating because of the stiff suspension.

Having said all of this, Tesla is more geared towards performance and driving dynamics so those who designed the car obviously made it that way on purpose for superior handling/cornering etc. Their priority was not a comfortable ride. I personally think more care should have been taken with the suspension and ride quality/comfort given the target market for the CUV/Crossover segment: lots of families and soccer moms who do not necessarily want a stiff ride. In my opinion this is a mistake Tesla made. There are rumours of an Air Suspension for the Model Y - perhaps that will come in the future and solve the issue.

So it is what it is: If you want a Tesla Model Y *today* with all of it's advantages you will have to settle for a stiffer, harsher ride, which leans heavily towards handling and performance and thus a harsher ride. Lowering the tire pressure is about the only thing you can do to help. Perhaps different tires would help too.

Yes, you can spend thousands to replace the suspension but I would expect not many are willing to do that.
 
Last edited:

suprax

Member
Mar 8, 2021
33
14
Rochester, NY
I'd like to weigh in on the motion sickness that @Tslgrl mentions. I experience motion sickness when reading in moving vehicles or when sitting in the back seat/etc. However I do not experience it when driving the car myself. I first drove a friend's model 3 about 2 years ago, and after the 10 minute drive I had a headache. Granted, he had me mashing down on the go pedal and testing autopilot. A few weeks ago I test drove a model Y and had it for an hour. By the end of the hour I again had a headache. I felt it was due to the regen braking and how it took me pretty much the full hour to nail how to smoothly start and stop without the car jerking which I feel caused my headache/motion sickness. I also was looking at the screen a great deal, watching when the brake lights were activated when I slowed down with regen braking, etc. This likely contributed to my motion sickness in combination with the jerky regen driving.

We are test driving the Y again next weekend and I'm going to pay closer attention to driving more smoothly and possibly adjusting the mode to chill to see if it helps me avoid the motion sickness. My wife is also coming along this time and experiences motion sickness so I'll be curious to see what her take is on it.

With all of this said, I do have a Y on order for Summer delivery. It's my assumption that as I drive it more and fully get the smooth starting and stopping I won't have motion sickness issues.

(Thanks for your test drive writeup @Tslgrl !)
 

Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
17
34
Ontario
I'd like to weigh in on the motion sickness that @Tslgrl mentions. I experience motion sickness when reading in moving vehicles or when sitting in the back seat/etc. However I do not experience it when driving the car myself. I first drove a friend's model 3 about 2 years ago, and after the 10 minute drive I had a headache. Granted, he had me mashing down on the go pedal and testing autopilot. A few weeks ago I test drove a model Y and had it for an hour. By the end of the hour I again had a headache. I felt it was due to the regen braking and how it took me pretty much the full hour to nail how to smoothly start and stop without the car jerking which I feel caused my headache/motion sickness. I also was looking at the screen a great deal, watching when the brake lights were activated when I slowed down with regen braking, etc. This likely contributed to my motion sickness in combination with the jerky regen driving.

We are test driving the Y again next weekend and I'm going to pay closer attention to driving more smoothly and possibly adjusting the mode to chill to see if it helps me avoid the motion sickness. My wife is also coming along this time and experiences motion sickness so I'll be curious to see what her take is on it.

With all of this said, I do have a Y on order for Summer delivery. It's my assumption that as I drive it more and fully get the smooth starting and stopping I won't have motion sickness issues.

(Thanks for your test drive writeup @Tslgrl !)
Hey @suprax -- definitely try the chill mode and see if it helps. In particular, I found it helped me when accelerating away from lights as the 'back of head slammed into head rest feeling' was mitigated.

I also put the screen on a much lower brightness setting and I found that helped a lot as it was less distracting for me, which I suspect had originally contributed to some of the nausea.
 
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Y_tho

Member
Mar 14, 2020
47
27
Maryland
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.
Oops - I meant to respond to the steering wheel item in my original reply. Is your dislike related to the physical form of the wheel, or the driving feel? If it's the latter, there's yet one more setting I wanted to mention: on the Driving tab, alongside the Acceleration and Regenerative Braking settings, there is also a Steering Mode setting. Steering mode can be set to Comfort, Standard, and Sport. Do you know what it was set to, when you test-drove? Comfort mode gives a loose-ish feel to steering, compared to Standard and Sport, which have progressively firmer feel, and require progressively greater effort to steer.

When I took delivery of my car, Steering was set to Comfort. I now use Standard as my normal mode, sometimes switching to Sport.
 

Tslgrl

Member
Mar 13, 2021
17
34
Ontario
Oops - I meant to respond to the steering wheel item in my original reply. Is your dislike related to the physical form of the wheel, or the driving feel? If it's the latter, there's yet one more setting I wanted to mention: on the Driving tab, alongside the Acceleration and Regenerative Braking settings, there is also a Steering Mode setting. Steering mode can be set to Comfort, Standard, and Sport. Do you know what it was set to, when you test-drove? Comfort mode gives a loose-ish feel to steering, compared to Standard and Sport, which have progressively firmer feel, and require progressively greater effort to steer.

When I took delivery of my car, Steering was set to Comfort. I now use Standard as my normal mode, sometimes switching to Sport.
Oh wow! Didn't know that. Thanks for pointing it out.
 

ScoobyDoo82

Member
Mar 22, 2021
166
100
Los Angeles
I've had my Long Range Model Y for almost 10 months. My Model Y has the standard Tesla 19" wheels and Continential ProContact RX tires. My total mileage with nowhere in particular to go is low, just under 3000 miles. Two things I have noticed are that the Model Y's suspension seems to have softened a little after 3000 miles. The second is that after experimenting with different tire pressure settings of 41 and 42 PSI in summer and fall, then 43 to 44 PSI this winter I have found that there is a sweet spot somewhere around 43 or 44 PSI where the ride improves and becomes less harsh with more of a cushioned ride.

I recently checked the tread depth of my Model Y's tires. After just under 3000 miles the tread depth of all 4 tires is down approximately 1/32" from the factory spec of 9/32". My tires appear to be wearing evenly. Whenever I am at a place where I can experience the full power and acceleration of my Model Y (I have not purchased the AB, don't intend to) I always do so from a rolling start of at least a few MPH to try and minimize extra wear on the tires.
The factory spec for those tires is actually 10/32”. Lol, after 3000 miles you really barely put a dent in them.
 

GeorgeC1

Member
Jun 2, 2020
150
85
NC
Tesla certainly has fit and finish problems however the two ford MachE’s I looked closely at had the worst exterior fit and finish of a production car I have witnessed since the 1982 Jeep! The interiors were however very good.
 

play150

Member
Feb 25, 2021
49
16
USA
Just to chime in here, I do find the Model Y ride very precise and certainly harsher than other recent EV's I have had. What I mean by that is you will feel every crack and bump in the road, and you do feel "bobbly" at times. If you are after a smooth comfortable ride then the this car isn't for you. Yes, you can lower the tire pressure to 39 PSI and it does help, but it only helps, it fundamentally can't solve the issue due to the type of suspension/shocks that are in the car. I have lowered my tire pressure to 39 PSI and as I said it does help, but for me as someone who leans more to the comfort side, the Y is disappointing and frustrating because otherwise it's such a perfect car.

As a reference point my last car was a 2018 Nissan Leaf and that car was MUCH better at handling bumps and imperfections on the road. And it still is a bit sporty. Obviously it doesn't hold a candle in handling or performance compared to the Tesla, but for a more comfortable ride, Nissan nailed it with that car's suspension (at least for my tastes). Before that I had a 2018 Volt and again that car was smoother - not quite as good as the Nissan but close.

The Model Y is a very stiff car and this can make the car rattle or squeak because of it. It's not really rattles in my car but vibrations and sound resonating because of the stiff suspension.

Having said all of this, Tesla is more geared towards performance and driving dynamics so those who designed the car obviously made it that way on purpose for superior handling/cornering etc. Their priority was not a comfortable ride. I personally think more care should have been taken with the suspension and ride quality/comfort given the target market for the CUV/Crossover segment: lots of families and soccer moms who do not necessarily want a stiff ride. In my opinion this is a mistake Tesla made. There are rumours of an Air Suspension for the Model Y - perhaps that will come in the future and solve the issue.

So it is what it is: If you want a Tesla Model Y *today* with all of it's advantages you will have to settle for a stiffer, harsher ride, which leans heavily towards handling and performance and thus a harsher ride. Lowering the tire pressure is about the only thing you can do to help. Perhaps different tires would help too.

Yes, you can spend thousands to replace the suspension but I would expect not many are willing to do that.
Did you test drive the SR/LR or the Performance Model Y?
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
1,791
1,765
Maryland
The factory spec for those tires is actually 10/32”. Lol, after 3000 miles you really barely put a dent in them.
I looked around for the factory specification; Tire Rack has a spec table for the Continental Pro Contact RX tires that states that the tread depth (when new) is 9/32 not 10/32. Most passenger vehicle tires have a tread depth of 10/32 when new,
 

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