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My Model Y Review

JeffreyC

Member
Oct 23, 2020
37
41
Ridgewood, NJ
New to the forum and my first post. Most of the following is old news to most of you, but I thought some might be interested in my review of the Model Y. I sent this as an e-mail to a group of friends and just pasted it here.

As you guys are all passionate about cars, I thought I would document my recent experience with a Tesla Model Y for your information and comments. As I am always considering my next car and I am really interested in Teslas, I decided to rent a Model Y for 24 hours through Turo. Having the car for 24 hours gave me a much better chance to really evaluate it thoroughly. Probably unfair, but I compared it to our Hyundai Palisade in terms of utility and our 2016 BMW 535 in terms of refinement. If we did get a Y, it would replace the BMW as my wife still wants to have a third row (which the Palisade has). Tesla says they will soon release a Y with a third row, but I would be surprised if you could fit two cats in the third row given the space available.

So here is my list of pros and cons:

Pros:
  • Without a doubt, the best feature of this car is the electric driving experience. The car I rented is the “Long Range” version with the 19” wheels. This is the version I would purchase were I to do so. Tesla says this version is 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, but it feels so much faster. Having immediate torque and power is really intoxicating. My BMW is 0-60 in about 5.3 seconds, but having to wait for the transmission to downshift and the turbos to spool up makes the car seem relatively slow. With the Tesla you don’t have to gauge how much pedal to give it to downshift - you just nail it and you are gone. I can’t imagine what the Performance version is like, which is 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. And this torque is available at any speed - from a stop or at 60mph.
  • Another great benefit of an electric car is the regenerative breaking. I probably drove the car a total of 4-5 hours and I guess that I actually used the brake pedal 5% of the times I needed to slow down. It is true one pedal driving. You don’t realize how much this makes for a better driving experience until you try it. You quickly learn how to manage the accelerator pedal for proper braking when needed.
  • I was not sure how I would like having all the controls and gauges on the single iPad screen in the middle of the car, but I do like it. The system is very intuitive and works very well. It has Spotify built in, so I don’t even need to have my phone with me to stream Spotify. Plus the car has a better cellular connection than my phone (likely due to an external antenna), so I don’t lose the signal like I do in our existing cars. We have Apple CarPlay in both our cars and if your phone looses the cell signal, then CarPlay does not work well.
  • Voice commands are nearly flawless and you can control almost anything in the car with voice commands - lights, wipers, locks, music, nav, defroster, etc. When you tell it a voice command it actually shows what it heard on the display. This is great feedback and it was 100% correct for me. It is also very quick. I ask it to play a song and within 3 seconds the song is playing. Same with nav destinations.
  • Having a huge navigation screen with Google maps is amazing. Being able to pinch to zoom is great. I did not try it, but I understand you can use Waze through the built in browser on the display. Again, nav is very quick and responsive.
  • The stereo system sound is very good. I consider myself an audiophile and I could live with the sound system. Probably not as good as the Bang & Olufsen in my BMW, but very good.
  • The car is very quiet at speed. I used my iPhone decibel meter and measured low 60s at 60mph vs. low 70s in the BMW (a huge difference). This really surprised me as I assumed the BMW has much more sound deadening. I guess eliminating the engine noise makes the difference (duh). All you hear in the Y is the sound of the tires on the road and the HVAC. I did not hear much (if any) wind noise even thought this is a common complaint of the Y. More on noise in the cons.
  • Although the car is smaller in every dimension than the Palisade, the utility/storage is comparable or better in the Y. The space behind the second row is smaller due to the sloping roof line, but there is a huge storage space under the floor behind the second row and a large front trunk (“frunk”). My guess is the Y has more overall storage space.
  • There is also plenty of leg room in both the front and second row. We drove the Model 3 a few months ago and the lack of back seat leg room was a deal breaker. I also like that the driver’s seat is relatively high in the Y, so it is easier to get in and out.
  • The standard autopilot feature works very well. This is level 2 (I think) that controls speed and steering. It appears to work as well if not better than the Palisade. You can pay $8k for additional self-driving features, but there is no way the additional features are worth that kind of money.
  • Speaking of money, NJ now provides a $5k rebate for all electric cars and no tax on the purchase. This is significant.
  • While I did not experience it, Tesla frequently updates the software in the car and the updates download automatically. Owners love having new features added to the car several times a year.
  • I did not install the Tesla app on my phone and use it as the “key” for the car, but I understand this is very convenient as you just walk up to the car and it unlocks and you can start it. Can also turn on the heat or a/c remotely - no need to open the garage door to “pre-condition” the car.
Cons:
  • The largest con is squeaks, rattles and groans. The car has only 2700 miles on it, but there is very significant rattle in the rear behind the seats. Given this is an SUV, that space is open to the passenger area and the noise is very noticeable. We tried to isolate it, but could not. We think it is in the wheel well. I also noticed a rather significant sounding clunk under the car at certain times. This sounds more concerning - especially for a brand new car. Hard to replicate the sound, but very concerning.
  • Tesla is known for horrible fit and finish - panel gaps, etc., but the panel gaps on this car are okay. The paint job is not great - the bumper is a different shade of white than the hood and fenders. This is a known issue on white cars and I would not get a white car, so maybe not a concern. However, Tesla paint is also known to be soft (all colors) and many people wrap their cars to protect the paint. This car already has several paint chips.
  • For a $55k car, several things are missing that both of our other cars have - heated steering wheel, heads up display, 360 overhead camera view.
  • Some of the controls should not be in the display - having to adjust the wiper speed on the display is annoying. It has an auto wiper mode, but like most cars it is not sensitive enough. You also have to use the screen to open the glovebox!
  • The center console is all piano black - finger print and dust magnet. There are several decals you can get to cover this. I would do so.
  • The software can be a bit glitchy. I backed out of my driveway last night and the rear camera took about 10 seconds to come on.
Other Observations:
  • The ride quality is acceptable and what I would expect from a tall vehicle. It is a bit bouncy and on the firmer side. I think it is similar to the Palisade. The BMW ride is better, but that is not a fair comparison. The BMW has an adaptive and more sophisticated suspension set-up. There are rumors that the Y will get the air suspension that the S and X have. I certainly would not get the 20” or 21” wheels on this car. I think the whole trend towards larger wheels on cars is misguided.
  • Styling is subjective, but I like it. Again, I would not get white, but I the car looks sleek due to the sloping rear. Not crazy about the grill (or lack thereof), but overall I think it looks good for an SUV.
  • The seats are well padded and comfortable and all 5 seats are heated (although all are controlled through the display only). No cooling or massage, but we don’t need that. The driver’s seat is not as adjustable as the “comfort seats” in my BWM, but it seems okay.
  • The all glass roof is cool (not literally) and does not seem to increase cabin noise. I do have some concern that it may be too hot in the summer, but I see that you can buy a shade to put over if needed, so not a concern.
  • We did not need to charge the car, but likely we would have a level 2 charger installed in our garage (cost of $1500ish). There are Tesla superchargers at the nearby Tesla store, which is less than 5 miles from my home.
I could go on, but this is already a long list. Bottom line is that the rattles and groans in the car would drive me nuts. I have read that Tesla’s production quality is improving, but the Y has only been out for a few months, so I will likely wait for a 2021 model. I love driving the car and for anyone who likes to drive, this is the way to go. There are many other benefits to electric cars, but, for me, this is the largest differentiator. I understand the Model S is more refined (and expensive), but it is just too wide to fit in our garage next to the Palisade.
 

sleepies

Member
Oct 23, 2020
24
3
Orange County, California
More pros than cons. Makes me feel better while waiting for mine to be delivered.

Also, charger installation in your home for $1,500 seems excessive? It might be different in NJ but in Southern CA, I hear it could be $500. My dad installed it himself but his brother had his installed for $500.
 

Ynotelectric

Member
Sep 14, 2020
16
24
Columbus, OH
Quite a fair review I would say. Nicely done based on a 24 hour time with the car.

As for charging, I think it is very difficult to peg an average cost. You can do it, but the standard deviation (for my statistics nerds out there) is pretty large. Personally, I just went the route of NEMA 14-50 in my garage (for $650 in my case) + 14-50 adapter for the mobile charger ($35). It's only been a month, but that is working well for me so far. The incremental charge rate of the wall charger wasn't worth the additional $500 (+ slightly higher electrician cost to do a 60A circuit) in my particular case. But it would for others.
 

JeffreyC

Member
Oct 23, 2020
37
41
Ridgewood, NJ
Good points on the cost of the charger. I neglected to point out that my garage is 50'+ feet from my house, so much of that cost is going to be the cost of running a conduit underground from the house to my garage. However, I did have a 120 volt line installed about five years ago and I wonder whether I can use that line? For those with electrical knowledge I have two questions: 1) I assume I cannot just use the same wires for the 120 line? 2) If I need additional wiring, I wonder whether the electrician can just pull the new wires through the same metal conduit that runs underground?
 

Ynotelectric

Member
Sep 14, 2020
16
24
Columbus, OH
You will need an electrician to look at it and verify, but.....
  1. It would depend on the amps that the current (no pun intended) line was spec'ed for. At a minimum, you will want a 50 Amp circuit (which delivers 80% or 40A) to do the same as I did. To use the wall charger, you ideally would want that to be a 60 Amp circuit. The size of cable necessary is a function of the Amps and the distance. For 50 ft (+whatever is needed inside the house from the panel to the outside wall) for 60A service will be pretty big (4 gage? Check with electrician).
  2. Likely can use the existing conduit which will save money.
What would likely happen is that an electrical would run an 80 Amp capable wire to a sub panel in your garage, and then run both the 240 and 120 off of that.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: srlawren

seniorcitizen

Member
Oct 9, 2020
206
113
Maple Grove
It is a fair review.
I am getting charger installed in MN.
I learned that there is a federal rebate for EV charger installed. They will pay up to $1000 or 30% of the install cost.
In addition to this my local electric cooperative has $1000 in rebates if we purchase charger of their choice.

My garage does have existing outlets but none of them are 240 Volt. So electrician will be using a few unused circuits in the basement electric panel and pull in conduit with 6/2 wire via unfinished section of the basement into the garage.
First quote I got was $2200. This seems high.
Another quote I got was $1500. These quotes don't include cost of the charger.
Waiting for 2 more quotes.

With federal rebates and electric coop rebate the high cost is not bad.
 

drkkalra

Member
Dec 30, 2020
7
2
California
Spot on review except for the ride. Having owned it for 6 months now, I can unequivocally say it’s one of the poorest ride quality of all cars. Yes you heard that right, it ranks at the bottom. To some it’s a no big deal. To me it’s like having a phone with all bells and whistles but that has poor voice quality. Doesn’t make sense to me. It’s one of the basics of car making and Tesla screwed it up big time. I would rather buy a Toyota (have owned Audi A6 and Q5, Porsche Macan S) and will never go back to Tesla. In fact I’m selling it soon.
 

ChrisOtt

Member
Oct 13, 2019
114
64
Ottawa
Test drove the Y overnight last week. I have a SQ5 currently, I’d compare the ride in the Y to the BMW X1 that we just turned back in last year - a bit too rough but the performance makes up for some of it.
 

Chiefsfan

Member
Nov 12, 2020
36
4
Chesterfield, Mo
Spot on review except for the ride. Having owned it for 6 months now, I can unequivocally say it’s one of the poorest ride quality of all cars. Yes you heard that right, it ranks at the bottom. To some it’s a no big deal. To me it’s like having a phone with all bells and whistles but that has poor voice quality. Doesn’t make sense to me. It’s one of the basics of car making and Tesla screwed it up big time. I would rather buy a Toyota (have owned Audi A6 and Q5, Porsche Macan S) and will never go back to Tesla. In fact I’m selling it soon.
Not a glowing endorsement
 

dn325ci

Member
Feb 26, 2021
36
33
Ohio
Spot on review except for the ride. Having owned it for 6 months now, I can unequivocally say it’s one of the poorest ride quality of all cars. Yes you heard that right, it ranks at the bottom. To some it’s a no big deal. To me it’s like having a phone with all bells and whistles but that has poor voice quality. Doesn’t make sense to me. It’s one of the basics of car making and Tesla screwed it up big time. I would rather buy a Toyota (have owned Audi A6 and Q5, Porsche Macan S) and will never go back to Tesla. In fact I’m selling it soon.
It's amazing to me the wide views on this issue, I suppose coming from varied experience. I'm coming into the Model Y Performance from a Mercedes AMG E63, and without question the E63 (over $100K sticker) is a harsher ride. My wife agrees wholeheartedly. We've had a long run with BMW M and Mercedes AMG, and both sporting lines from the Germans are harsher riding in our experience and only very recently with expensive adaptive systems are they starting to improve this. To this day a standard E63 will rattle your teeth. We are finding the MYP ride firm, but an improvement!
 

casey1202

Member
Mar 13, 2021
39
14
Dallas, TX
It's amazing to me the wide views on this issue, I suppose coming from varied experience. I'm coming into the Model Y Performance from a Mercedes AMG E63, and without question the E63 (over $100K sticker) is a harsher ride. My wife agrees wholeheartedly. We've had a long run with BMW M and Mercedes AMG, and both sporting lines from the Germans are harsher riding in our experience and only very recently with expensive adaptive systems are they starting to improve this. To this day a standard E63 will rattle your teeth. We are finding the MYP ride firm, but an improvement!
I totally agree with you here. I’ve been surprised by how harsh some of the reviews and opinions of the ride quality are. I’m coming from over ten years in three different BMW X3s (not M) and I find the ride in the MY LR very comparable and perhaps even a little better. Personally, I wouldn’t want to go with the larger wheels on the LR or the MY P because I value comfort over a sporty feel in an SUV. But all in all, I think the LR on 19” wheels has a very nice ride.
 

iansherwood74

Member
Jan 22, 2021
13
6
Winter Garden, Florida
More pros than cons. Makes me feel better while waiting for mine to be delivered.

Also, charger installation in your home for $1,500 seems excessive? It might be different in NJ but in Southern CA, I hear it could be $500. My dad installed it himself but his brother had his installed for $500.
I paid $500 for the charger and $700 to install in FL from a licensed and insured business. I got 3 quotes and that was average cost to install. Very expensive installation charge IMO but I love having it here now.
 

DanDi58

Member
Jun 22, 2020
754
558
Dayton NJ
I totally agree with you here. I’ve been surprised by how harsh some of the reviews and opinions of the ride quality are. I’m coming from over ten years in three different BMW X3s (not M) and I find the ride in the MY LR very comparable and perhaps even a little better. Personally, I wouldn’t want to go with the larger wheels on the LR or the MY P because I value comfort over a sporty feel in an SUV. But all in all, I think the LR on 19” wheels has a very nice ride.
Agree. Just got back from a 500 mile road trip and the ride - on lousy Upstate NY and NJ roads - was wonderful.
 
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Reactions: casey1202

dolfs

Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2021
38
33
Mountain View, CA, USA
Agree. Just got back from a 500 mile road trip and the ride - on lousy Upstate NY and NJ roads - was wonderful.
I come from a BMW M3 and more recently a 535i with Sport Package. Both are aggressive in their suspension (router ride), and I found my new MY LR AWD very similar on its 20" wheels. On purpose I did not lower air pressure to Elon's suggested 38 psi because I first wanted to experience it under "delivery" conditions. Within the week of having it I made a round-trip from the SF Bay area to Anaheim and back on a single day (800 mi). The car performed well. I did experience some really rough roads where much softer suspension would have been nice, but overall the stiffer ride gives better handling characteristics.
 

IA_TESSIE

Member
Sep 1, 2020
54
67
IOWA
The rattle in the back seats is the seat belts, at least in my experience. I usually buckle them in the back seat, if I know I am having no riders for a while. 🤷‍♂️
 

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