Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

My 2 month review of a Tesla model Y performance in the UK

I picked up my car about 2 months ago, so I’ve put some actual miles into it now, and can assess what I think of it. Previously I owned a Tesla model S 85D, which I had for about 7 years. That was an ‘autopilot v1’ car, so not as advanced technically. It also had radar (apparently) and ultrasonic parking sensors. Eventually, the software for the main screen started to glitch and bug me, so I upgraded it to a new screen, at my expense. I think it was £2k? it was definitely an upgrade worth doing. Anyway, I got sick of the length of that car, and wanted the latest autopilot tech and better range, so sold my model S privately and bought the model Y performance. I had to wait a year! but it arrived at the end of November.

My very first impressions of the car were pretty good. It felt CHUNKY, in a way that is hard to describe. The Y has laminated double-pane windows, so its quieter inside than my old S, and you can definitely hear the difference. The whole car feels really solid. I don’t think mine has a front or rear cast body, but it does feel like its much more professionally assembled than the old US-made model S (made in Fremont California is 2015).

Something I was kinda dreading was the switch from a 2-screen model S, where the main screen tilts towards you, to the super-spartan and flat-angle screen of the 3/Y. In fact… I got used to it within days. Its actually very very easy to use, and I don’t miss the screen behind the steering wheel one bit. The interior design of the 3/Y is a bit ‘love it or hate it’ but I definitely love it. Looking at all the buttons in other cars just amuses me now.

I opted for red, performance, with full-self driving, which is also known as the ‘give me the priciest options because I’m mad’ choice. What do I think of the value for money? Well… no regrets on the red paint, it looks super awesome, especially when its sunny :D. The performance… is a bit of an overkill luxury. Frankly the sensible choice would have been long range. The performance model is stupidly, stupidly fast (0-60 in 3.5s), and absolutely pointless unless you are a track-racing fan. I am fully aware that I did this purely because I hate buyers remorse, and if I bought a new car and it felt under-powered I’d be sad about it :D.

The full-self-driving stuff is even more of a leap of faith. Right now, it doesn’t get me much, except the car recognizes traffic lights, and stops at them, and then pings to remind you they just turned green. This works perfectly for me. The other stuff is ‘coming soon’, which is Tesla speak for ‘at least 2 years’, but I intend to keep the car at least 5 years so I do actually expect to see the benefits in time.

I will say that the general autopilot performance on this car is WAY better than my model S. I drove about 55 miles recently on a trip back from London where I only steered once, briefly to change from a motorway to an A road. The rest was all 100% computer controlled, in the dark, with high winds and heavy rain. My model S couldn’t have done it that well.

There is one small thing I love about it: the charge-point door will self-close after you unplug (its powered) which is super convenient.

In lots of major ways, its an upgrade on my old Tesla. The range is way better, the energy usage is way lower, it charges tons faster, and it feels like the sound system is just much higher quality. I would hate to go back to my old model S now I have this car. I also have greater access to the supercharger network, because this car has a CCS connector, and newer superchargers only support this newer standard. There are now superchargers absolutely anywhere that I’d want to drive, at the same time that I need them less due to the longer range.

To be honest, my conclusion is that I kinda over-specced the car, but I don’t regret it. The autopilot stuff will likely grow into its valuation. The lack of parking sensors will likely be replaced by better tesla vision stuff soon. I can definitely see me still owning this car in 5 years and being very happy. Actually the ONLY scenario I can imagine where I get rid of the car, is if Tesla offer a smaller car with similar range and performance (or a bit less). I live down a single track lane, and UK parking spots in car parks can be pretty tight with the S or the Y. Offer a Tesla model 2 performance which is a few cm narrower, and maybe 30cm shorter, and I’d be very tempted, especially if it was even more efficient.

I actually got the Y instead of the 3 because I like hatchbacks and hate old fashioned boots/trunks. If the model 3 had been a hatchback I’d likely have got one of those instead, as we don’t have a dog or kids and don’t really need an SUV at all.

TL;DR: The model Y performance is amazing, but the performance bit is likely overkill.

3 thoughts on My 2 month review of a Tesla model Y performance in the UK

  1. 7 and 5 years sound like ridiculously short time horizons for cars. Doubly amusing in light of your recent “everything is good enough” post. Our car is 12 years old and while I don’t intend to ever buy a combustion engine again, I think it easily has another decade of life in it. How many kilometers do you put on your cars?

  2. Well 5 years is probably minimum, it depends what happens with battery tech etc. I kept the S 7 years, which is the longest I’ve owned a car, but I’ve only ever bought a new car if there is a clear improvement on what I already have (or the car dies completely :D).
    I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up keeping the Y for longer.

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