2024 Tesla Model Y review


Life is tough at the top.

The Tesla Model Y is the best-selling electric car in Australia by a fair margin in 2024, and its nearest rival is its sedan brother.

That’s despite strong competition from Chinese brands like BYD, and a significant update to the Model 3 sedan delivering a more modern interior, more comfortable ride, and better refinement than before.

The Model Y hasn’t been treated to the same update, but it’s not been left alone entirely.

WATCH: Paul’s video review of the Model Y Performance

In March, it picked up a trio of new colour options, and a new wheel design for the base RWD and Long Range. Oh, and the price has been slashed multiple times throughout the year.

Is the Model Y still the king?

How does the Tesla Model Y compare?

View a detailed breakdown of the Tesla Model Y against similarly sized vehicles.

Tesla Model Y cutout image

Tesla

Model Y

How much does the Tesla Model Y cost?

Tesla continues to cut its prices in Australia, to the point where the base Model Y RWD is priced in line with a huge number of hybrid, petrol, and diesel mid-sized SUVs.

Model Variant $RRP
Tesla Model Y RWD $55,900
Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD $69,900
Tesla Model Y Performance AWD $82,900

Prices exclude on-road costs

To see how the Model Y compares with its biggest electric rivals, use our comparison tool.

What is the Tesla Model Y like on the inside?

The Tesla Model Y hasn’t been treated to the same update at the Model 3, which means you still get a proper indicator stalk and drive selector. 

It’s a very minimalist space, with a massive screen in the middle of the dashboard… and very little else in the way of luxuries or add-ons, so it’ll take some getting used to. But the software is all very slick, and once you’re dialled in it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.

The fundamentals are good, too. The driving position is elevated relative to the Model 3, but the seat is every bit as supportive here, and there’s plenty of adjustment in the powered steering column to allow taller drivers to get comfortable.

Everything is saved on a driver profile, and you use the dials on the steering wheel in conjunction with the touchscreen to adjust the wheel and mirrors. Thanks to the Tesla app, the car recognises who’s hopping into the driver’s seat and adjusts to their preferences automatically. 

The view out over the short dashboard is panoramic thanks to the curved windscreen that arches right up over the driver’s head. Combined with the small steering wheel, it helps make the Model Y a fun car to point and shoot in the city. 

I wish Tesla would give you a head-up display, though. The speed readout in the top right-hand corner of the screen is a bit small, and forces you to take your eyes off the road to check something that should just be right in front of you.

It’s a shame, the rest of the touchscreen is excellent. It’s clearly been designed by someone who’s spent plenty of time using an iPad, with similarly slick graphics and quick responses. 

Google Maps looks excellent on the 15-inch touchscreen, and offers live traffic data. It’s also plugged into the Tesla Supercharger network, which means you can plan longer journeys including your charge stops without bothering with A Better Route Planner or similar apps. 

Do you miss CarPlay? Even with the integrated apps in the Tesla system, I do. Having access to your text messages and podcasts through your device rather than the car is still smoother, and Siri is a much better voice assistant than Tesla’s disobedient helper. 

Storage space up front is excellent. There are two wireless phone chargers under the dashboard, and a massive bin between the seats where the transmission would usually sit in an internal-combustion car. 

There’s room for big bottles in the doors, and the cupholders are the right size for the average Australian latte. 

Rear seat space is solid in the Model Y, although it’s not perfect. The door opening isn’t as wide as on a Toyota RAV4, for example, but once you’re back there the legroom and headroom are both solid by mid-sized SUV standards.

The floor is quite high because of the battery pack, which means longer-legged passengers will have an awkward knees-up feeling, but kids and normal-sized adults will be able to get comfortable.

Air vents, USB-C ports, and a fold-down central armrest all feature, and the glass roof and frameless windows make it a light and airy space. That pays dividends on road trips, where carsick-prone kids will benefit. 

ISOFIX points feature on the outboard rear seats, and there’s a trio of top tethers for child seats. Loading a kid into a child seat may be harder in the Model Y than a Subaru Forester, for example, as the doors don’t open to 90 degrees and the opening isn’t as square – which is worth keeping in mind. 

Boot space isn’t an issue here. The main boot beneath the large, powered lift gate is massive… and then you lift the floor, to reveal another massive bin that’s perfect for charge cables (provided you pay extra for them, as Tesla no longer throws them in). 

There’s also room in the front boot for overnight bags or any dirty, wet clothing you want to keep separate from the main cabin. 

Dimensions Tesla Model Y
Length 4750mm
Width 1978mm
Height 1624mm
Wheelbase 2890mm
Total storage space 971L – rear seats upright
2158L – rear seats folded
Tare weight 1979kg
Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) 2518kg

What’s under the bonnet?

Tesla doesn’t quote torque outputs, nor its battery capacities like most brands.

Tech Specs Tesla Model Y Long Range
Power 366kW
Torque N/A
0-100km/h 5.0 seconds
Battery capacity 80kWh
Claimed energy consumption 15.4kWh /100km
Observed energy consumption 16.1kWh /100km
Range (WLTP) 533km
Max DC charge rate 250kW

To see how the Model Y compares with its biggest electric rivals, use our comparison tool.

How does the Tesla Model Y drive?

Even after three years on sale, the Model Y stands out thanks to the polish of all its main controls. 

There’s prodigious power under your right foot when you really want it, and near-perfect traction from the all-wheel drive dual-motor setup, but you wouldn’t know it around town because the accelerator is so smoothly calibrated. 

Lean on it and you get smooth, silent forward progress, lift off and the regenerative braking ramps up smoothly. It doesn’t try to throw you through the windscreen like a Ford Mustang Mach-E when you step off the throttle, and smartly tapers off as you roll to a stop.

You very, very rarely need to use the brake pedal. 

Combined with direct steering (heavier than in most rivals, like a firm handshake), the super polished EV powertrain makes the Model Y fun to drive in town.

You can point and shoot your way around tight streets without taking your hands from the wheel, and there’s endless torque to lean on in the traffic light Grand Prix. With a claimed 100km/h sprint time of just 5.0 seconds, it’ll embarrass hot hatches off the line.

It’s a shame the ride is so firm. Maybe firm is the wrong word, maybe it’s busy, but even after a suite of changes to the suspension it’s constantly moving up and down over pimply stretches of road. It never quite settles, which undermines the sense of refinement. 

Tesla has worked hard to improve ride quality and refinement in the new Model 3 sedan; the same should be a focus in the Model Y SUV.

At higher speeds you also get quite a lot of road noise, and it’s especially noticeable given there’s no noisy internal-combustion engine to drown it out.

It’s not deafening, but it is another knock on refinement that’ll force you to crank the stereo up a few notches.

Pressing the gear selector on the right-hand site of the steering wheel twice activates adaptive cruise control and lane centring, allowing the Model Y to maintain a gap to the car in front and follow the white lines on the road.

As we’ve said before, the Autopilot name is misleading. For one, you need your hands on the wheel at all times… and there’s nothing in the Model Y other cars won’t do in 2024.

The adaptive cruise control system is smooth and smart, although it still is prone to braking for vehicles in adjacent lanes, and the lane-centring system is comparable to what’s on offer in the latest Kia and Hyundai range.

Ticking the $5500 box for Enhanced Autopilot adds auto lane changes and the ability for the car to exit the freeway with the system active – the former is possible in Mercedes-Benz vehicles among others, the latter is a Tesla special.

What do you get?

Model Y RWD and Long Range highlights:

  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Black vegan interior
  • 5 seats
  • 15-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Side and rear-view cameras
  • All-around parking sensors
  • Satellite navigation incl. charge network mapping, live pricing
  • Dual wireless phone chargers
  • 4 x USB-C ports (2 x front, 2 x rear)
  • 128GB portable storage for Sentry camera system
  • 13-speaker sound system
  • 12-way power adjustable front seats 
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated rear seats (all three)
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Tinted glass roof 
  • HEPA air filtration
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Power folding, auto-dimming, heated side mirrors
  • Custom driver profiles
  • Key card entry
  • Smartphone app connectivity
  • Electronic fold-flat rear seat releases

Model Y Performance adds:

  • 21-inch Uberturbine wheels
  • Performance brakes
  • Lowered suspension
  • Aluminium pedals
  • 250km/h Top speed (up from 217km/h)
  • Carbon-fibre spoiler

Enhanced Autopilot ($5100) adds:

  • Navigate on Autopilot
  • Auto Lane Change
  • Autopark
  • Summon
  • Smart Summon

Full Self-Driving Capability ($10,100) adds:

  • Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control
  • Upcoming: Auto steer on city streets

Is the Tesla Model Y safe?

Of more than 30 cars tested over 2022 the Tesla Model Y was the “top performer” by ANCAP, scoring a five-star safety rating but also managing the highest average score (weighted across the four criteria) of all vehicles tested.

It achieved a 97 per cent score for adult occupant protection, 89 per cent for child occupant protection, 82 per cent for vulnerable road users, and 98 per cent for safety assist. Unsurprisingly, it is loaded with standard safety technology.

Standard features include:

  • 7 airbags incl. front-centre airbag
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
    • Forward, Reverse
    • Car, Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
    • Junction assist
    • Backover prevention
  • Blind-spot assist
  • Lane keep assist
  • Reversing, side view cameras
  • Front, rear parking sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Automatic high-beam
  • Intelligent speed limiter

How much does the Tesla Model Y cost to run?

This is where Tesla lags behind almost all its rivals.

Tesla Model Y
Warranty 4 years or 80,000 kilometres
Battery warranty 8 years or 192,000km – AWD models

Tesla does not publish service intervals.

It recommends a brake fluid check every 24 months, cabin air filters every two years, HEPA filter replacement at three years, and an air-conditioning service every four years, in addition to standard wheel balancing and tyre rotation.

CarExpert’s Take on the Tesla Model Y

The Model Y is a benchmark for a reason.

It goes about things in unconventional ways, but behind the ultra-minimalist interior and infuriatingly vague powertrain spec sheet is an excellent electric SUV.

Spacious, comfortable, and fun to drive in its own way, it’s hard to fault when you consider the price. Then again, the price is also one reason we’d be reticent to sign on the dotted line for a Model Y.

Tesla’s price cuts have made this a significantly more affordable option for the majority of Australians, but they’ve also – at risk of being rude – completely rooted resale values, given a brand new RWD is now barely more expensive than gently used base models from three years ago.

Will prices go lower? Who knows, given the secrecy with which Tesla operates. But it’s the only black cloud hanging over what’s otherwise an easy car to recommend.

Click on the images to view the full gallery.

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