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Model Y Test Drive Observations

decrypt

Member
Jul 1, 2016
82
66
Ashburn, Virgina
Background: I am currently driving a 2016 Model S RWD. I’ve put 77,000 miles on that vehicle. Thus, I’ll largely be focusing these observations as a comparison Y vs S. I’ve also had a good bit of experience driving a Model 3. As such I won't be focusing on all the amazing things that crosscut the Tesla line-up (e.g. Autopilot, infotainment software, etc.)

Test Drive: Model Y AWD White/White w/ 19” Gemini wheels; ~25 minutes on both city streets and highways. @ Tyco Rd Service Center

Loved:
  • Seating position, headroom, and overall openness of the cabin. While not as wide as the Model S, I really appreciated that headroom was significantly increased.
  • The glass roof. Whereas I almost never notice the panoramic roof in my Model S from the drivers seat, the extra headroom in the Y made it partially visible. I continually caught myself appreciating it.
  • Seat comfort was great.
  • Overall interior build quality feels like an improvement over my S.
  • Handling and acceleration, beats my RWD S.
  • Hold mode / one pedal driving... I had this and loved it on my BMW i3... missed it in my S... it will take some getting used to in the Y but I’m certain I’ll love it again once I get a feel for it’s behavior.
  • Highly Subjective: I prefer the minimalist interior of the Y vs. S.
  • Highly Subjective: I was able to see the Y in Blue, Midnight Silver, White, and Red... I preferred its appearance in the latter two paint colors. I thought this was interesting, as I think I like the 3 in Midnight Silver best.
Didn’t love:
  • My only significant criticism: The motor whine in the Model S RWD is essentially non-existent... I only hear it ever so slightly when I floor the accelerator. The motor whine in the Y was quite audible even at lower RPMs. Now, don’t get me wrong... if you have your music playing it’s not going to overwhelm that, but if you’re just sitting silently with your thoughts in the car… it was loud given what I’m used to.
  • My S has a coil suspension that handles road imperfections a bit better than I experienced with the Y. This was not unlike my experience driving the Model 3. I also experienced some of the cabin “boominess” that others have described when hitting potholes.
  • I will miss the instantaneous energy use visualization and the alternate map display behind the steering wheels. It’s less about the location, in fact I prefer that there is just open road in front of my face rather than a display. It’s just that I found both of these views useful and they aren't available on the center touchscreen.
  • The A-pillar seemed a bit more pronounced to me in the Y... not sure if that’s due to actual width, a product of the seating position, or the narrower cabin in the Y vs S.
I’d love to hear how anyone’s experiences compare… particular their experience with the motor whine I described…. Maybe it was the specific unit I drove?
 
Last edited:

liuping

Active Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,242
896
San Diego
I notice a lot more high pitched whine from the motors when I went from the Model S 85 to the ModelS 90D. Since the Model Y is AWD, that might be part of the extra noise you are hearing. The Model Y RWD should have less motor noise.

I don't feel the Model Y motor noise is more than my 90D. The road and wind noise is definitely louder, but not the motor.
 
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empiredown

Member
Mar 27, 2020
408
357
78642
Some great observations there. I too like the motor noise, as it’s so different than our other cars. That said, glad we didn’t win the PWS lottery and had that sound to contend with as well.

ß
 
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decrypt

Member
Jul 1, 2016
82
66
Ashburn, Virgina
Update: I drove in a different AWD Model Y today that did not exhibit the same pronounced motor whine. It was pretty quiet inside, much preferred. Appears to be an issue with only some units.
 
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FoxSTL2HOU

Member
Nov 12, 2018
487
284
HOU
Background: I am currently driving a 2016 Model S RWD. I’ve put 77,000 miles on that vehicle.
...
Test Drive: Model Y AWD White/White w/ 19” Gemini wheels
...
Loved:
  • Seating position, headroom, and overall openness of the cabin. While not as wide as the Model S, I really appreciated that headroom was significantly increased.
  • The glass roof. Whereas I almost never notice the panoramic roof in my Model S from the drivers seat, the extra headroom in the Y made it partially visible. I continually caught myself appreciating it.
  • Seat comfort was great.
  • Overall interior build quality feels like an improvement over my S.
  • Handling and acceleration, beats my RWD S.
  • Highly Subjective: I prefer the minimalist interior of the Y vs. S.
  • Highly Subjective: I was able to see the Y in Blue, Midnight Silver, White, and Red... I preferred its appearance in the latter two paint colors. I thought this was interesting, as I think I like the 3 in Midnight Silver best.
Didn’t love:
  • My S has a coil suspension that handles road imperfections a bit better than I experienced with the Y. This was not unlike my experience driving the Model 3. I also experienced some of the cabin “boominess” that others have described when hitting potholes
Had a test drive yesterday with wife + kids in a vehicle with the same config as OP and am coming from a similar situation (2015 85D w/ 59k miles) but the added experience of a couple years with an X. Very interesting that I had the opposite opinion on a few items.

Headroom - my wife mentioned to me (and I was thinking the same thing) on how the headroom of the Y felt smaller than the S - she kept thinking if she moved her head forward too much she would hit the top/front of the cabin, and we both thought the visor was going to hit us when we lowered it. We never actually made contact with anything, but felt much tighter.

Roof - in the front seats, I did not notice any "gain" on view or lighting from the roof vs the S...of course neither compares to the X so it would be tough to score points in this category. Full disclosure, I typically wear a baseball cap so maybe that sliver of view matters.

Openness - the rear seats felt more open, and my wife successfully sat between our children with their booster seats, and the cargo did feel like it had more volume than the S.

Acceleration - it was busy around the mall where we picked up the test drive, so there wasn't a great opportunity to accelerate from a stop, but the little bit I did get, it felt a tad sluggish compared to our S. I don't know how the gross weights compare to know if it should have or not (or maybe chill mode was active, I did not check).

Drive - I have a non-air suspension, but the Y did feel a bit softer on than our S. I cannot speak to any whines or roadnoise, as we couldn't hear anything unusual over the AC and radio.

Displays - having the speedometer in the upper left of the display was not as awkward to have in my driving line of sight as I thought it would be, but in my 5 min of driving I DID miss having the travel info, the instant energy and the satellite imagery up at the same time.

Door handles - I've had four or five door paddle gear failures on my S, so I know the fragility of opening doors, but it just felt wrong to be pulling open the door with the thin part of the handle. Not sure how long it would take me to trust doing that over and over.

Seats - we have the old cloth seats and I'm sure there's a breaking in period, but these seats felt "more full" and not as comfortable as the S. We played with the lumbar controls, and felt that something WAS moving, but it was very minimal.

Range - this was an interesting aspect. When we sat down, the battery showed 267 miles of range at an 85%ish state - outstanding considering our 85D is now at something like 255-260 at 100%. HOWEVER, 40 min of test drive covering about 5 miles of city streets (and time spent in a parking lot looking it over away from a crowd) in 100°F weather used 21 miles of range (returned it with 246 showing). I can't even remember our six-seat (so dual AC) X gobbling up energy that quickly. Maybe it did, but I was surprised at how quickly the AC drained the range.

MCU - I've got an MCU1 / AP1 vehicle, so actually having a working web browser and snappy navigation and responsive screens again? Wow!

Decision - my wife has always preferred a small SUV (previously drove the X and a Rav4 before taking the S away from me) and with our S being out of limited warranty, wanted to see how it compared. We both agreed it WAS nice but WASN'T different enough from the S to make a change (and take out a loan again) right away. We'll reassess as the S gets older or we both go back to daily driving to work instead of both WFH. Some factors that could change our mindset: approaching the end of the 8 yr battery warranty, chargegate/batterygate gets even worse on our car than it already is, if the MCU dies, if we get another bubbling instrument cluster, etc.
 

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