Which Tesla Model Y Should I Buy?

Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y since its release in 2020 is becoming one of the most popular vehicles in the United States. In the first quarter of 2023 it outsold the Toyota Corolla becoming the first electric vehicle to become the worlds best selling car.

Tesla Model Y is a Dual Motor All Wheel Drive Fully Electric SUV. Spacious design seating expandable to 7 seats. Signature Tesla minimalism interior and expansive glass roof. Base range 279mi and the Supercharger network takes you anywhere. Top it off with the highest IIHS Safety Pick+ Rating.

The Model Y comes in many different options. The base model starts at $47,740 and does qualify for the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit which can bring down the cost to $40,240 after the credit. In this review we will look at the base specifications as well as all of the add-on options to help you decide which configuration is best for you.

Tesla Model Y Specifications

Model Y Exterior

Build on the Model 3 platform the Model Y shares 75% of its parts with the Model 3. It has a similar design and powertrain and from the front end they look almost identical. The Model Y is Tesla’s smaller SUV compared with the Model X. A four door SUV design the front hood features a frunk with storage inside. The trunk is a hatchback design and the roof is one large panoramic piece of glass.

The vehicle has 3 types of keys. The Phone key using the app, the Key card which is a credit card size RFID key, or the key fob. The key fob no longer comes with the vehicle you will need to purchase one separately if you want one they cost $175. The key card does not support auto locking and unlocking so if you want your car to auto lock and unlock without purchasing the key fob you will need to use the Phone key.

The doors will unlock automatically as long as you have the key fob or Phone key within 6 feet of the door.

The door handles sit flush with the rest of the door. When you want to open the door use your thumb to press down at the back of the handle. This will kick the front of the handle out and you can then pull the handle to open the door.

Model Y Door Handle
Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
Model Y Hatchback
Alexander Migl, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The hatchback trunk is a motorized door. When fully open it goes up about 7.5 feet high.

There are multiple ways to open the hatchback. You can press the open button on the app, you can double click the rear trunk button on the keyfob, or you can press the open button on the center console touchscreen.

If the hatchback door is too tall when open for maybe your garage ceiling you can set it to open to a lower height. It has a memory mode that allows you to configure the max height the door opens to. To set the memory you can open the door to the height you want it to stop. Then press and hold the open button for 3 seconds. Then the custom door height will be set. From now on it will stop at that height.

Does it Have Falcon Wing Doors?

No while Elon did tease a falcon wing door in 2015 it did not make it to the final production model. Probably a cost cutting measure. Currently the only model with a falcon wing door is the Model X.

Model Y Interior

The interior of the Tesla Model Y continues the signature minimalism Tesla is known for. There are almost no buttons inside the vehicle. There are buttons on the doors for window control and locks. There are buttons on the steering wheel and there is 1 button for emergency blinkers. Everything else is controlled through the center console touch screen.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

There is no instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. All information such as speed and battery life are on the center console. Everything is controlled through the touch screen. Even things like air vent direction and opening the glove box are controlled by the touch screen.

A Third row can be added to the Tesla Model Y Long Range model for an extra $2,500. The third row adds 2 extra seats in the back so the configuration is 2 in front row, 3 in middle row and 2 in third row.

The third row headroom is a little limited. Third row headroom is 34.6 inches. For an adult this will probably feel a bit cramped especially if you are 6 foot or taller. For kids it should fit them well. The third row slides forward to allow access to the third row.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.


Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

The front trunk or Frunk offers 4.1 cubic feet of storage. At its base the Frunk is 13.8 inches front to back and 27.6 inches left to right. The depth of the Frunk is 13.8 inches.

There is a trunk well underneath the trunk floor. This well is at its base 13.8 inches front to back and 23.6 inches left to right. The depth of the trunk well is 13.8 inches.

The trunk storage is 30.2 cubic feet in the 5 seater model and 12.8 cubic feet in the 7 seater model. The dimensions of the trunk in the 5 seater are 37 inches wide and 42.5 inches deep and about 24 inches tall. The trunk depth of the 7 seater reduces down to 19 inches with the third row seats up. With all of the seats down you get 78 inches deep of trunk space from the front seats to the door latch.

How Long Does It Take To Charge?

When charging at home the Mobile Connector is a Level 1 charger and it will add 5 miles of range per hour. The Wall Connector is a Level 2 charge. Depending on the amperage of your circuit at the max 60 amps the Wall Connector will charge the Tesla Model Y at 44 miles of range per hour. Finally at a Supercharger it will add up to 162 miles in 15 minutes.

Safety Rating

The Tesla Model Y has received top marks for Safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Model Y their best rating of Top Safety Pick+ in 2023. They gave it the highest marks in front crash prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it 5 stars in every safety rating category.

In January of 2023 a family in San Francisco drove off a median and plunged 250 feet down a canyon. The car flipped several times in the air during the plunge but amazingly they all survived the crash due to the incredible safety engineering of the Tesla Model Y.

Enhanced Autopilot VS Full Self Driving

One of the compelling reasons to purchase a Tesla is their Autopilot and Self Driving features. Currently no other automaker offers anything that comes close. Tesla’s very soon will be able to drive you from your house to your destination with no input from you, including navigating city streets. They offer two options during your checkout. Enhanced Autopilot for $6,000 and Full Self-Driving Capability for $15,000

Enhanced Autopilot

The Enhanced Autopilot has the following features, Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, Summon and Smart Summon.

Navigate on Autopilot allows the vehicle to automatically take highway on ramps and off ramps. Automatically change lanes, speed up and slow down cruise control including complete stopping and starting. Autosteer and it will go around slow vehicles in your lane.

Auto Lane Change will put the car in the optimal lane for merging and exits on the highway.

Autopark will automatically park the vehicle in a parking lot including automatically parallel parking.

Smart Summon will navigate a parking lot and bring the car up to where you are.

full Self Driving

The Full Self Driving comes with all of the Enhanced Autopilot features but also includes. Traffic Light and Stop Sign navigation. Coming soon full self driving in city streets.

Can I Add Autopilot or Full Self Driving after purchase?

Yes according to this Tesla support article on Autopilot and Self Driving both Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving can be added to the vehicle at a later time through the Tesla App. One benefit of adding it during your purchase however is the ability to bundle the cost into your vehicle financing instead of having to pay all at once.

Should I Buy A Tesla Model Y Now Or Wait?

In my opinion the two components of Tesla’s that will get big improvements over time are the battery technology and the full self driving features. Not only should battery technology continue to come down in price but range should keep increasing. Also while currently in beta the Full Self Driving should eventually be able to take you anywhere you want to go with little or no input from you.

At this point though EV technology has matured enough to make it a good bet even today. Tesla released a study in 2022 that found after 200,000 miles their batteries only lost about 12% of range which isn’t bad. Also all new Tesla’s purchased today are compatible with the Full Self Driving features even as they are not fully available for use today your 2023 or newer Tesla should be able to take full advantage of the self driving features when they become available.

In our opinion Tesla’s will get better over time but there is no compelling reason to wait for future models to buy one.

Did The Tesla Model Y Price Drop?

The price has been coming down over time. The Model Y has seen several price reductions in 2023. The website cargurus.com is reporting that the Tesla Model Y has seen a 35.73% price reduction in 2023.

Can I add a Tow Hitch Later?

Yes a tow hitch can be added later to the Tesla Model Y you do not have to pay Tesla the extra $1,000 they charge for it. According to Uhaul its pretty easy to add one and if you are DIYer you could do it yourself and save some money on your purchase. Uhaul says the aftermarket hitches cost anywhere from $280 to $390.

Which Charging Connector Do I need?

The Tesla Model Y does not come with any charging equipment included. If you plan to charge at home you will need either the Wall Connector or the Mobile Connector. As stated above the Mobile Connector is a pretty slow Level 1 charger but the benefit of it is that it can be plugged into any standard wall outlet.

The Wall Connector is a Level 2 Charger and the fastest option for home charging. It will require an electrician to install a dedicated circuit for charging. While a pain to have to purchase 2 chargers its not a bad idea to pickup both. The Wall Connector can be a dedicated at home charger and the Mobile Connector can be used when traveling.


The Tesla Model Y is the fifth production vehicle they have produced. Built on top of the Model 3 platform its a stable platform that they worked the bugs out of in 2018. When Elon lived at the production plant and went through production hell. If your looking for a great family vehicle then the Model Y 5 or 7 seater are both great options at a significantly lower price than the other SUV they produce the Model X.

Want to see how the Tesla Model Y compares to the Ford Mustang Mach-E click here to see our comparison review of the two vehicles head to head.

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