– Ben Martens

Tesla Model Y – One Month Review

Welcome to another Tesla Tuesday!

“How do you like your new car?” A lot of people have asked me that question and as a thousand thoughts rush through my head, I try to come up with something quick that won’t overwhelm them. There’s the obvious “It’s nice not paying $5.60/gallon for gas,” but it doesn’t seem nice to rub their face in it, so I usually talk about how nice to not worry about it dripping oil or needing service beyond tire rotations and brake checks.

But here on the blog, let’s dive in a bit deeper and share more thoughts after about a month of ownership. Let’s start with the pros:

  • Cars lose a huge amount of their value as soon as you drive them off the lot, but Kelly Blue Book says that my car is currently worth $4000 more than I paid after taxes, and that’s just the trade-in value. So even if all the naysayers are right, I can change my mind and make money on the experiment.
  • We have the car set to a schedule so it automatically wakes up before we leave the house and warms or cools the interior to our preset temperature. It’s convenient, but it also helps save battery since it can do this while plugged in at home.
  • Traffic Aware Cruise Control and Autopilot are awesome! We’ve never had a car with fancy cruise control before, so just being able to have the car speed up and slow down based on traffic in front of us is a treat. But then Autopilot takes it to another level by handling the steering for us too.
  • There’s no key for a Tesla. It’s paired to your phone so you just walk up, get in, and drive away. And when I walk up, it knows it is me and loads my profile which includes standard things like seat and mirror positions, but it also logs into my personal Spotify account, adjusts steering and throttle responsiveness the way I like it, applies my climate control preferences (including vent positions), and the list goes on and on.
  • The storage space is amazing! There’s a “frunk” in the front where we keep emergency supplies and stuff that isn’t accessed as often. The rear trunk has the space you’d normally expect from a small SUV but then you can lift up the floor and get lot more space. Elijah can fit down there with the lid closed!
  • The car has a permanent 4G cell connection. I’ve written before about how that allows me to collect a lot of live data through the API, but it also means nice features in the car. As you’d expect, the giant screen has live traffic in it, but it also streams music from Spotify or Slacker Radio. If you’re parked, you can watch Disney+, Netflix, YouTube, etc if you subscribe to those services. Some of those things require a $10/month Tesla fee to cover the extra bandwidth, but we were paying close to that much for Sirius XM in the last car and this is so much nicer that for now we’re going to pay it.

There are some things that feel different but aren’t pros or cons:

  • One pedal driving takes a while to get used to. When you lift off the accelerator, the car immediately starts to slow down through regenerative braking to recapture energy. If I let all the way off the accelerator, it slows down faster than I would normally decelerate, and it will come all the way to a stop. So that means on most trips, I never touch the brake. It was REALLY weird on the test drive and initially when we got the car. I wouldn’t say it’s second nature yet, but it’s getting there.
  • The entire roof is a window. Unfortunately, as a driver, I almost never notice this. It’s cool for Elijah though. One day we were driving to school, and I spotted a bald eagle flying at us. He couldn’t see it out the windshield, but he clearly saw it through the roof as we crossed paths.

And finally, there are some things in the “con” column:

  • A common complaint among Tesla owners is that Spotify locks up sometimes. I’ve experienced that too. The quick fix is to switch to another music option and then come back to Spotify and it works fine. It’s annoying when it happens.
  • I wish I could use the giant battery in my car to power my house or charge another car. Ford is making a big deal about how their F150 Lightning’s can do this and while it’s a feature that would hardly ever be used, I’d pay to have it just like I paid money to have a generator wired into my house.
  • Wiper controls are done via the screen so they aren’t as convenient as having them near the steering wheel. If you’re using cruise control or Autopilot, the wipers must be on Auto so the computer can make sure that the windshield cameras are clear. Most of the time that works ok, but sometimes it seems like the wipers go too fast. I prefer when they are going to slow because there is a “single wipe” button on the turn signal stalk.
  • There isn’t much visibility out the rear window. It’s enough, but it’s by far the least amount I’ve had on any vehicle I’ve owned.

Maybe I should have started the post with the cons so it ends in a happier state, but honestly, none of those “cons” were surprises to me. I found them all in my research before we ordered and none of them were showstoppers.

My overall review is “Two thumbs up. 5 stars. Would recommend.” I love this car! And as the gas prices continue to rise, it makes the price we paid even easier to stomach. When gas was $3.50/gallon, I calculated that we’d at least break even compared to buying another Escape. At $5.60/gallon that just makes it even more likely that this is going to save me money eventually, but I’ll keep you posted on that as we rack up some miles.