The Tesla Model Y is the most important electric vehicle to arrive in Australia in 2022. On the streets since August, I recently had the opportunity to live with the Tesla Model Y for a week, providing a great opportunity to understand the car at a deeper level and experience a dual-EV garage.
Tesla’s Model 3 is the highest-selling EV in the country and that’s almost certainly going to be overtaken by the Model Y, with the all-electric mid-size SUV likely to appeal to tens of thousands of Australian families.
Other than Utes, SUVs regularly account for the largest vehicle segment in new vehicle sales. Driven by the utility, Aussies have fallen in love with SUVs that meet the space and storage demands of families.
From the school run in the morning, commutes to the office, weekends away and longer holidays, the Model Y is a seriously compelling option and being an EV can offer more storage and dramatically lower running costs than an ICE equivalent.
During my time with the Model Y, it was my daily driver. I clocked up more than 1,300km and after genuinely experiencing what owning the Model Y is like, here’s what I learned.
The design of the Model Y shares a lot in common with Model 3, however, there are some important differences. The most obvious is the height difference, with the car stretched vertically to achieve an increase in interior space, it also features a deeper frunk and trunk for even more storage.
From different angles, the Model Y can look very different, sometimes like a sleek, aerodynamic jelly bean, while other times looking a little awkward at the front and rear. Overall, I personally think the car looks good, but this is incredibly subjective.
The design of the Model Y is the handiwork of Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s head of design for the past 14 years. This car is certainly aimed at appealing to the largest possible audience, with no aggressive or controversial elements in its design and as a result, it’s all fairly passive in nature.
In design, there’s also efficiency, with a low drag coefficient, just 0.23 Cd, which helps the car achieve some of the best range on the market. The front bar of the Model 3 was controversial and the Model Y will be too, but there is a reason it’s shaped the way it is and that’s not just to collect bugs.
As much as the design of the car you buy is important, once you’re in the driver’s seat, you really forget about the exterior and focus on the features available to you.
Something very different between Model 3 and Model Y is the segmentation of the glass roof. In Model 3, the 2nd cross member is directly behind the front seats, which does block the view of the rear passengers. In the Model Y, Tesla rethought this and positioned it behind the rear seats, offering an enormous glass roof, providing spectacular views of the world above.
As a result of Tesla increasing the height of the vehicle, occupants get a far more spacious interior. You may sit the same distance away from the person next to you, but when you sit in the Model Y, the overall feeling of space is really impressive.
The real test was stepping back into my Model 3 after being in the Model Y and while I have never once felt the Model 3 was small in the 3 years of owning it, the Model y provided a new perspective on this.
Ultimately both of these cars are mid-sized, one is a sedan and one is an SUV. Perhaps the most appropriate comparison is the one from an existing mid-sized SUV. My wife’s Honda CRV offered a great chance to compare the two.
Our CRV even has a sunroof, but simply can’t compare to the openness you feel when inside the Model Y, aided by that massive glass roof that provides almost an inch of extra headspace. Being around 6’2′, I definitely really appreciated this difference.
SUV’s by nature offer higher ground clearance than a sedan and this translates to increased confidence when you enter or exit driveways and for the occasional time, you take this off the tarmac. This certainly isn’t a car that you’ll want to take to extreme 4×4 tracks down the bush, but it will enable you to reach places that are otherwise unavailable to sedan owners.
In terms of hard numbers, the Model Y features a ground clearance of 167mm (6.6″) which is up from the 140mm (5.5″) on the Model 3.
Living in regional Victoria, there are a number of great locations to go visit on the weekend. Since getting into drones, one of my favourite experiences is to travel to waterfalls to film them from above. The roads to these waterfalls are often unsealed roads and the Model Y would be the perfect vehicle to venture to those locations.
Entry and exit to the vehicle
If you regularly get in and out of your car, multiple times per day, then the ease at which you enter and exit the vehicle can really matter. This becomes even more critical if you have limited mobility or are elderly.
SUV like the Model Y features a taller suspension setup, a taller body and seats placed on raised mounts which all combine to create a car that’s easier to enter and exit from the vehicle. The Model Y is substantially easier to get into and out of than the lower Model 3.
While I appreciated the higher vehicle, it was as I watched my parents climb in and out of the Model Y that I really understood just how important this is and as great as the Model 3 has been, people like my parents would never consider it, for this issue alone. They may never buy a Tesla, but this is a car that many families will buy as it ticks critical must-have checkboxes for them.
Higher seating position
The higher seating position offered by the Model Y, allows a better view of the road and environment ahead of you, but also allows your body to be positioned more comfortably in the vehicle. As you sit in the Model Y, your thighs are at a 90-degree angle to your lower legs, similar to how you are seated in an office chair.
When I sit in my Model 3, my legs are straighter, and the rear of the seat is angled back more to be comfortable. While I’ve never felt uncomfortable in the great Model 3 seats, after driving the Model Y, it was very clear just how dramatic the change in seating position really is.
I was actually shocked by just how massive the range of adjustability is in regards to the seating position. Tesla has clearly designed the seats to accommodate the preference of many drivers. What I was impressed by was the height adjustment available on the front seats. Already mounted fairly high, you can really dramatically increase the seated position using the electronic controls on the side of the seat.
Despite being tall and despite having a large range of height adjustments available, I still couldn’t make my head hit the roof, showing just how much vertical space there really is in the Model Y.
It was interesting to compare the latest interior from Tesla with my Model 3 from 2019. The interior refresh, combined with the vehicles being products from Shanghai rather than Freemont has seen some important upgrades.
The buttons to open the doors now feature icons, rather than lines to let passengers know how to open the door, a big usability improvement.
The center console now features a dual-wireless charger the driver and passenger can drop even the largest smartphones on and have them charge while you drive. Taking something that was occurring in the 3rd party market and integrating it into the car by default is a great idea and the car experience is better as a result of making this change.
The glossy black finish was an issue for some, but not something that really bothered me. Sure, it was a fingerprint magnet, but easily resolved with a microfiber cloth. An option I do enjoy is the ability to close the top lid over the top of your phone which avoids the temptation to monitor notifications when driving, so I will miss this, but many phones do have driving detection and enter the phone into DND mode.
The new USB port in the glovebox to accommodate the storage for sentry mode enables you to lock the glove box and protect this drive, critical if a tyre shop, valet or even friend does something and wants to wipe the drive, they won’t be able to. Smart.
There are a couple of cosmetic things in the refreshed interior that really don’t move the needle for me in terms of design. The door pockets are now lined with carpet, I assume to reduce noise when you place bottles in there. Functionally the hard surface I have in the Model 3 made more sense to me, in the event you spill your drink.
Finally, the dash trim that extends to the front doors now, really just breaks up the black door, but doesn’t add any function to the vehicle, I could really take this or leave it. In a world where Tesla has a relentless focus on simplification and part reduction, it was strange to see them add complexity simply for the design.
The list of features on any Tesla is impressive, but as many people will consider the Model Y as their first electric vehicle, I think it’s important we take a minute to touch on each one.
Space and storage
Easily one of the biggest reasons you’ll consider a Model Y over a Model 3 is the additional storage available. After exploring the space available in the front and trunk of the Model Y, I was really taken back by just how large the available space really is.
You can read a figure like 2,100 litres of cargo space on the website, but seeing it, is another thing entirely.
Last Christmas, my family packed our Model 3 full of suitcases, backpacks, swimming and beach gear and headed to Lakes Entrance. While it fit everything we needed it to, there were only 3 of us. If we were a family of 4 or more, or just had plans to buy things while on holiday, then the additional storage space offered by the Model Y, would be an absolute dream.
The trunk in the Model 3 is big, but with the extra height in the Model Y, it’s just far deeper and thanks to some updated internals like a heat pump, the Y also offers more than enough space for a couple of backpacks up front.
The rear trunk space is massive with the rear seats up, but for those rare times you need to purchase something like a large TV, you can pull the electronic releases in the rear to fold the seats down and unlock that full 2,100 litres of cargo space.
The carpeted finish is nice, but I expect many to grab rubberised mats to allow for you to care less and throw things in the boot. Underneath the rear floor is additional space, but again we see extra depth than what’s on offer by the Model 3. This is huge and while some may not like the idea of travelling without a spare tyre, this is what you get by way of compensation, lots more space.
It is important to remember that as a fully electric car, built and designed that way from the ground up, this additional storage is available thanks to the elimination of ICE components like an internal combustion engine compared to the smaller electric motor, as well as the peripheral componentry like a radiator, fuel pump, fuel tank, exhaust and so much more of legacy vehicle propulsion that simply isn’t necessary anymore.
As a very practical test, I need to transport my Next level racing F-GT racing simulator and while it folds, it’s still substantial in size. I was glad to find that something this large, easily fit in the boot of the Model Y, with plenty of space around it.
15″ touch screen
At the heart of your Tesla driving experience is the 15″ touchscreen, mounted to the center of the dash, this provides access to vehicle functions like climate control, entertainment options like Spotify, as well as vehicle configurations and personalisations.
For new Tesla owners this will take some time to get used to. In my experience, after a couple of days, you settle into feeling comfortable taking glances over to your speed or to access vehicle controls.
Sure, the screen can be a fingerprint magnet, but if you keep a microfiber cloth in the glovebox and give it an occasional wipe down, this is a complete non-issue.
What I love about Tesla’s UI is that it’s uniform, well thought out and despite a growing list of configurable options, is still easy to get to the right place in just a couple of taps.
Probably the biggest thing people have a hard time getting their heads around is the speed. Virtually every other car you’ve driven has had the speedo directly in front of you. In a Tesla Model 3/Y this is to the left of the driver. The real saviour here is Autopilot. I have it configured to jump to the current speed zone and enable it wherever I can, meaning I know the car will accelerate up to a max of the current speed limit, reducing your need to micro-monitor your current speed.
When you’re stopped, like at a charger, you’ll be entertained, with access to play games, watch YouTube or Netflix over the built-in 4G connection in the car. There are also entertainment options like Spotify, TuneIn, TIDAL and FM radio to listen to while you are driving, however, these both require the Premium Connectivity option detailed below.
Tesla’s mobile app becomes your digital key, detecting your proximity to the car over Bluetooth, you can simply walk up, open the door handle and get into the car. When you’re done, get out and walk away and the car locks. Since getting Model 3, I’ve stopped carrying keys and a wallet and with the Model Y, you can too.
Most of our lives are moving to the phone, including payments, loyalty cards etc. This means if you buy a Tesla, you have a chance to move beyond keys and wallets to an all-digital life. Obviously, people may have concerns about what happens if your phone goes flat, well the reality is you monitor it and don’t let that happen. It is also possible if your husband or wife has the Tesla app on their phone and you can find your way to an internet connection, send them a message and they can unlock the car remotely for you.
There’s a strong chance that the Model y will be purchased by families. This means you’re likely to have a number of drivers (a couple of adults and at some stage some teenagers learning to drive).
To accommodate different drivers, many cars offer a couple of keys that adjust your seat position based on which key opens and unlocks the car. Not only does Tesla do this, but they take driver profiles to 10.
You can literally have as many as 10 driver profiles easily accommodating for growing families. In regards to the settings stored against the driver profile, Tesla goes much further, including seat and wheel position, climate control, mirror position, creep and steering configuration, distance to car ahead setting and many, many more.
The driver profiles are done so well by Tesla that it really feels like the car knows you and welcomes you when you enter the driver seat.
With a Model 3 and Model Y in the garage, I was keen to see how well the cars did at identifying which car I was entering. There’s good news here, I found that regardless of which of the cars I walked to and opened the driver’s side door of, the car unlocked successfully. If you tie the driver key to a profile, it’ll load your preferences the second you step in.
Premium connectivity subscription
Tesla sells a software service known as Premium Connectivity for A$9.99 per month and you can purchase and cancel at any time. This service offers Live Traffic Visualization, meaning you can see red or orange congestion and route around those areas, potentially saving you lots of time, particularly for those moving through cities.
There are also Satelite-view Maps, which add to the default grey maps, providing satellite imagery, much like we experience on Google Maps. Functionally, this doesn’t improve things, but does look better and may help you identify certain buildings or landmarks from above to ensure you’re in the right place.
If you want to stream YouTube, Netflix, Spotify in the car, you’ll need this premium connectivity subscription. Alternatively, you could turn on the hotspot from your phone, then connect to that wifi hotspot from the car. Tesla has made improvements to how this reconnects, but it is still not seamless like it is when you leverage the 4G sim in the car.
Caraoke is not a feature that really appeals to me, but may be important to some people.
Finally, there’s the Web browser, again drawing its data using the 4G connectivity from the built-in sim in the car. Most of us will use our phones to browse the web when stopped, but the large display can be good if you’re trying to review accommodation options, or tourist destinations as a family.
The Model Y offers another excellent audio system made up of 13 speakers, 1 subwoofer, 2 amps. In the software, you can configure an equaliser to set your preference on bass versus treble, while also choosing if you want to enable the immersive sound.
If you’re in the car by yourself, you may wish to position the sound directly for the driver, or alternatively center it in the car so all parties can hear equally. There also may be times (like a baby sleeping in the back), where you want to position the audio to the front row and that’s also a great option.
Something I really appreciate is ‘Joe mode’. This option reduces the sound of alert tones in the vehicle (like the ultrasonic warnings as you go through the drive-thru, or pull into your garage. For parents with their kids, this is a great option.
There are many EV automakers that are promising to deliver free overt-the-air (via WiFi) software updates to your car to improve it over time. That game started with Tesla and while others like Polestar and Porsche have shipped updates, nobody has anything close to the responsiveness to user suggestions (mostly via Twitter) and cadence of releases that Tesla has.
The Tesla Model 3 I own now, is dramatically better than the car I bought 3 years ago, as a result of the software updates. There’s generally a major UI version update (currently V11) each year, while many smaller features roll out regularly. There have been times where I’ve got two releases in a week, while other times a few weeks go by without a version bump. I can’t think of a time where a full month has passed without at least a point release that squashes some more bugs.
I expect this same experience to be repeated for owners of the Model Y as Tesla has shown no sign of slowing down on the software updates. These software updates also deliver undocumented improvements to Autopilot and after a release is often worth a drive to see what’s changed.
There may be some who are buying their first Tesla and thinking about how well their computer updates. Software updates have always worked without issue in my experience and almost exclusively make your car better. There can be small regressions, that are typically identified and resolved quickly.
Autopilot / Enhanced Autopilot / FSD
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood aspects of Tesla vehicles, their driver assist system, included in every new Tesla, is known as Autopilot.
Autopilot can be enabled anywhere where lane lines are present. With a double-tap down on the right stalk, Autopilot will center your car in the lane, while using adaptive cruise control to adapt to the speed of vehicles ahead of you.
This works exceptionally well, with drivers often stepping out of the vehicle after a long drive with a lot more energy, having experienced a reduced mental load as the car handles these basic components of driving. Autopilot also detects speed zones and adjusts the car automatically to the posted limit.
Enhanced Autopilot includes a suite of enhancements including Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, Summon, Smart Summon. These are many of the features included in the Full Self-Driving package, but for many, EAP will be an affordable option that delivers a significant saving from the full FSD upgrade price.
What you don’t get from EAP, is access to future updates that will enable the car to drive on city streets. To learn more about the differences between these options, check out our full post on Tesla’s diver assist and autonomous options.
Car wash mode
If you’re washing your car, then it’s a great idea to visit the Service menu and activate Car Wash Mode. This will ensure your windows are closed, that your charge port door remains closed, that your automatic wipers are disabled, parking assist chimes are turned off and your frunk and trunk are closed.
If you’re like me and listen to Bluetooth headphones while washing your car, you’ll find it annoying when the audio switches to the car’s speakers, as you open and close the doors to clean inside. Thankfully carwash mode fixes this issue.
It’s features like this that arrive through software updates that really demonstrate Tesla’s capacity to improve the vehicle and ownership experience over time.
A press of the right scroll wheel launches the car’s voice assistant which you can use to control the car. The list of commands you can give the car is extensive, ranging from Apps and Settings, Car Controls, Climate Controls, Navigation, Phone, Media and more.
To get some suggestions, you can head to Tesla’s Voice Commands page,
ISOfix and kids
If you have kids, then you’ll be searching for a car that has ISOfix mounts. Most modern cars offer these, but there are different implementations. The ability to clip in a car seat using ISOfix makes it quick and easy. If you have to move the baby seat in and out regularly (like sharing 1 seat between two cars), then this is a lifesaver.
Unfortunately, the last time we bought car seats, we bought non-ISO car seats and I’ve regretted it ever since. Of course, you can still run the seatbelt through the seat and secure it with the top fixing that runs to connect to the back of the seat.
There are certainly people who have put 3 car seats in the rear row of the Model Y, however that’s fairly rare and not something I think many families have a need for. Typically 1, maybe two and both of those scenarios could easily be accommodated by the Model Y.
Something I was keen to test was the ability to fold down the armrest while a car seat was in place. Thankfully you can absolutely use the armrest with a car seat installed.
With the 40/20/40 split, you have some options when it comes to car seats and storage. When you pull the seat release button in the boot, but the left and center seats fold down (assuming there’s no car seat in the way). You can optionally fold up just the middle seat.
In this arrangement, the left and right seats could be up, while you place a long,
After having used Model Y to take my daughter to childcare for a week, I really did appreciate that it was much easier to get my daughter in and out of her car seat in the Model Y, than my Model 3. This speaks to why many families with small kids choose SUVs. On that front, my wife currently has a Honda CRV and one of its party tricks is a rear door hinge that has 90 degrees of freedom. I’d love to see tesla offer a similar option.
Tesla now ships the Model 3 and Model Y with a powered tailgate, a response to the feedback they received from customers. If you’re loading larger items regularly, having a powered liftgate is a real benefit.
If our cheaper similar-sized SUVs have this feature, then we certainly shouldn’t go backwards in functionality if we spend more money, so this just makes sense to include.
When opening the tailgate in your garage, remember you can press and hold the close button to set the max open height. As you can see in the photo above, the available space to load into is massive and a larger opening really helps to support inserting larger items in the rear of the vehicle.
There is no option to wave your foot under the rear bar to activate like in some other vehicles, just tap the center screen, use the mobile app or press the handle on the boot to open.
Dashcam and Sentry Mode
Having made a significant investment to buy a new car, you’ll want to protect it. Many turn to aftermarket security cameras or dashcams to service this need. Fortunately, Tesla has this built-in, for free and it doesn’t just capture events in one direction, Tesla is able to use the cameras on the vehicle, which a primarily there to power their driver assist and autonomous future, but have found a secondary use as a Dashcam when driving, and Sentry Mode when you’re not.
Sentry Mode monitors for people who may interfere with your vehicle and the internet is full of stories of Tesla owners who’ve had their car damaged, but provided footage of the offender to police and had them charged.
Sentry Mode does consume battery while it’s enabled and smartly Tesla now gives you the option to disable it at Home and/or work.
The system is also sensitive enough to monitor your current battery levels and built-in programming enables it to determine when your remaining battery charge level drops below 10% and disables sentry mode.
The recorded footage is recorded to the drive in your glovebox, it can be reviewed on the screen in your car, or removed and transferred to your PC for further review and sharing. Each camera (front, left, rear, right) is recorded as individual clips.
I often find that while I’m driving, something will occur outside the vehicle that I’ll want to capture. It could be an amazing sunset, a flooded road, or some pretty average driving from other road users. It’s great to tap the Dashcam button to capture that moment and review it later, even if the quality of the footage isn’t amazing, it often captures memories that would otherwise be lost.
As always with Tesla there are software options around this, including the ability to automatically take a capture if you honk the horn.
Bioweapon Defense Mode
Something previously only available in Tesla’s larger vehicles, the Model Y also picks up a HEPA air filtration system. In the event of poor air quality in your area, you can enable an option called Bioweapon defence mode. This closes vents to the outside air and filters the air in the cabin, removing particulates to keep your family safe.
This is particularly useful if you find yourself ever having to drive through bushfire smoke, which is something we definitely experienced just a couple of years ago.
The Standard Range Tesla Model Y offers a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.9s and for those upgrading from an ICE vehicle, this will feel quite snappy. Obviously being an EV, there are no gear changes, RPM matching nonsense, it’s just smooth, linear acceleration.
If you’re chasing the rapid acceleration that Tesla has become well known for, then you’ll need to opt up to the Performance model, which drops that to an impressive 3.7s. If we compare the M3P and the MYP, for a car that is taller and heavier (1,929 vs 1,844 kg) it is seriously impressive the Model Y Performance has a delta of just 0.4s in its 0-100km/hr time.
The acceleration curve off the line feels like it has been artificially software limited by Tesla. We do have to remember this car uses the LFP batteries which are less power dense, and this has a single electric motor in the rear, compared to the dual motors in the Performance variant.
If you stand on the pedal when the light turns green, the Model Y SR accelerates and doesn’t stop, but it won’t throw your head back in the seat and really impress anyone.
If you’re already moving, let’s say driving at 50km/hr and taking a highway onramp, then stand on the go pedal, you’ll certainly feel the car speed to 110km/hr. If you ever need to overtake, it’ll happily respond to your request and really does have quite snappy acceleration when moving, the issue really is just launching from zero and something I certainly missed with the SR.
The reality is, that most parents doing daily commutes never need this dragstrip performance and if you’re a parent that really wants it (after the kids are dropped off), then you’ll need to stretch the budget for the Performance model.
There is another aspect to the performance of the Model Y that we should discuss. One of the benefits of having to wait a few years after the US to get the MY, is that it now comes with an upgraded AMD Ryzen processor to power the display.
This new hardware enables the user experience to be dramatically faster than my Model 3’s computer which featured an Intel Atom CPU.
Performance was across the board better, many seconds faster to launch games like Beach Buggy Racing 2 as well as entertainment apps like YouTube and Netflix, as well as the most painful launch, the Browser.
While the faster processor is responsible for reducing the potential range by a few km, it’s absolutely worth it, with the interface incredibly snappy and responsive, this feels like a serious and welcome upgrade.
For those new to the Tesla world, this processor is different to the one used by Tesla’s vision system, known as HW3 (short for Hardware V3). This computer hasn’t changed.
Tesla recently announced they were expanding the list of countries that would move to Tesla Vision for vehicles made after June 2022. This means Tesla a no longer going to include radar in vehicles made for Australia after June 2022.
Front-facing radar has been used by many automakers as part of their advanced driver assistance systems or ADAS for short. Radar was responsible for detecting objects in front of your car, like other cars, and slowing you down, so until now, adaptive cruise control has relied on the radar.
Given the review vehicle I had in June, had to be made earlier than June, I expect this Model Y still had radar, so I was unfortunately not able to review this component, but all customer cars shipping next month and beyond will use Vision Only.
Tesla is now able to determine the distance to objects ahead using the input signal from cameras in the windscreen. This video feed is then processed by the HW3 computer and by using computer vision across multiple frames to understand and respond to objects that are slowing or are stationary.
Range and Charging
The quoted range figure on the Tesla website for the Model Y Standard Range RWD, is 455km based on the WLTP standard. When I charged the car to 100%, I was pleasantly surprised to see the real-world range estimate be so close to this figure, at 435km. This is an extremely practical range and actually exceeds the 90% range available in my 2019 Model 3, which has a larger battery.
This range was so impressive, that it led to us changing our order from a Performance, to the Standard Range Model Y.
Charging at home
The vast majority of Model Y owners will charge their cars at home, overnight when energy costs are the lowest. This generally costs just a few dollars. While people often wonder how much and how long a full charging cycle takes, the reality is that is a rare circumstance for most owners.
Typically you’ll drive somewhere between 40 and 60kms per day, even if you double that, you’d still be able to replace that overnight using the slowest 230v charger. Those needing faster charging could always install a high-performance wall charger at home which has different speeds which is determined by the use of single-phase or 3-phase power.
These chargers no longer come with the vehicle and are available via the Tesla Store online. The HPWC needs to be installed by a qualified electrician.
Charging on the road
When you do take longer trips, there’s a growing number of Tesla Superchargers available to recharge at. Australia also has a rapidly expanding network of 3rd party chargers, and while these fast chargers do cost more, they can let you add as much as 261 km in 15 minutes.
The actual charging rates you’ll get are based on a number of factors, main what current state of charge you have when you begin your charging session.
I was surprised to see no passenger-side lumbar controls on the Model Y. I know Tesla has had supply shortage challenges, but at this price point, I’d really expect the front row occupants to be well accommodated as both these occupants are likely contributing to paying for the vehicle.
Tesla’s decision to put carpet in the door pockets is definitely one they could have skipped on. As nice as it is to see and touch, it would really take just one incident for that to become pretty messy if a drink spilt.
If they were going to rethink door pockets, I’d dearly love them to accommodate a 13/14 and maybe even 15″ laptop. Many of us use laptops and digital devices in our lives regularly. While travelling to and from the office, some use backpacks, briefcases etc, but personally, I like to just carry the laptop and would love to have it secured while driving. The door pocket seems like a great place for it but would need to be re-shaped to allow for this.
The only other issue I’d point out, maybe even just as a heads-up to new owners, is that if you do happen to have the rear seats down, you do hear more motor noise than when they’re up. This isn’t major, given the times you’d need to fold the seats down would typically fall into the occasional category, rather than often, but is important to know.
Price and Availability
The Tesla Model Y is the most important Electric Vehicle to launch in Australia in 2022 and the standard range model (reviewed) will start shipping to customers next month. Following that, the first of the Model Y Performance models are due to be on our roads from November.
If you haven’t ordered already, you are in for a wait, with a timeline of Feb 2023 – May 2023 now set as the expected delivery dates on new orders.
When you order a Tesla, you’ll do this through the website and select from a fairly simple set of options (see below).
In Victoria, the Model Y Standard Range starts at a Driveaway price of $78,134 (VIC). The model I reviewed, could be yours for A$84,277 driveway, which adds the silver paint, 20″ wheels and white interior.
These prices reflect the fact this is a premium SUV, in high demand and where we are with battery prices.
The Tesla Model Y isn’t cheap, but there are many Australian families that could afford it, particularly if they make it a priority to go EV. If you’re already buying in the $70-$100k range, then it’s a great buy, but what I see regularly see examples of people stretching financially to step up to a Tesla price point, in order to get the features and experience not available from any other brand.
If you do want the extra performance, with the base options, you’ll need to find A$107,779 driveway (VIC). If money is no object and you add every option possible (red paint, white interior, FSD Capability, you’ll pay A$127,418 driveway (VIC). Just remember, you can add software upgrades after delivery for the same price, but avoid taxes like the Luxury Car Tax which is derived from the purchase price.
The options at checkout include:
Select from paint colours including Pearl White Multi-Coat (default), Solid Black (A$1,000 option), Midnight Silver Metallic (A$1,500 option / reviewed), Deep Blue Metallic (A$1,500 option), and the flagship Red Multi-Coat (A$2,900 option).
If you select the standard range Model Y, you’ll get a choice between 19″ Gemini wheels (default) or 20″ Induction wheels, a A$2,900 option.
You can select from two interior options – All black which comes with wood trim on the dash, or a Black and White with white trim on the dash (A$1,500 option). There’s no doubt the white interior is absolutely stunning, helping to add to the feeling of a light and bright interior space.
The white may not be practical if you have little ones, but if you’re diligent and careful, this could be managed. Many who have the white interior simply carry baby wipes in the glove box to wipe down anything that makes its way to the seats, but its likely you’ll need to ban any food consumption, any pencils, crayons etc that could leave a lasting mark.
While the Model Y is offered in both 5 and 7-seat configurations in some markets, Australia only receives the 5-seat option for now.
The Model Y is capable of towing payloads of 1,600kgs. Currently, the towing package is not available to order and Tesla says that will come in early 2023 and will require a service appointment to install.
While that capacity won’t allow you to tow big caravans or boats, it would enable you to tow modest trailers, and jet skis, further adding to the car’s utility. This will be a key differentiator to the Model 3, which has not been offered in Australia with a tow package.
The towing package showed up on the Tesla website this week, priced at A$1,970. Included in the optional package is:
- 1x high-strength steel tow bar with 2″ hitch receiver
- 1x trailer harness
- 1x tow mode software package
This is a A$5,100 option that was only added recently. Previously your only option to upgrade from the included Autopilot, was the A$10,100 Full Self-Driving Capability.
EAP offers many of the features that Tesla fans love, Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, Summon and Smart Summon, but at almost half the price.
Full Self-Driving Capability
What you’re buying with FSD is really a promise for future features as Tesla continues to develop their autonomous capabilities. In the US and Canada, Tesla offers FSD beta, a preview and our best look at what’s coming.
FSD Beta runs on the latest builds of Tesla’s software and allows the car to navigate its way through city streets, including turning corners, roundabouts and much more. This still needs to be monitored by humans and those FSD Beta users need to intervene when the software makes an error, but it’s clear from watching YouTube videos from Beta users, that progress towards the day where the car is capable of driving on its own, is being made.
We don’t have a confirmed date when FSD Beta will arrive in Australia, but it is possible that arrives in late 2022, or early 2023.
There’s probably no better way to explain my feeling about the Model Y SR, than to say we’ve ordered one. With the capacity to select from a decent range of SUVs on the market, it should speak volumes that when deciding to upgrade my wife’s car, we are again selecting a Tesla to accommodate our family needs.
I think the Model Y will fit really well into the garages and lives of many Aussie families, as it will ours. It ticks all of the right boxes in terms of size, space, features, technology, safety and range. My wife does not rate performance as important and so our initial plan to order the MYP was simply about getting a longer range. After having lived with the MY SR with its estimated 435km range available daily (100% charging supported), the extra 60km of range, simply wasn’t justified for the additional cost.
We personally landed on the MY SR in Red, with a white interior (after falling in love with the white seats in this review vehicle), the larger 20″ Induction wheels, which look way better than the 19″ Gemini wheels.
Having driven the Model Y SR review unit that didn’t have the FSD package, I was surprised at just how much I really missed it – a lot. Thankfully Tesla has added the Enhanced Autopilot option now that offers many of the features I missed, so we’ve also added that to our Model Y order and still come out way cheaper than the Performance model. This will be a much better car, even if it lacks the additional motor, faster acceleration and a bit more range.
The Model Y won’t be right for every family and it is still a lot of money, but when you consider what you get, it’s a phenomenal car and anyone who can find their way to afford one, should run at the chance to do so.
Don’t buy Tesla’s Model Y because of the dramatically lower running costs, buy it because it’s a severely better car than any ICE equivalent. It’s smarter, will be updated and get smarter over time, is the easiest thing to drive and has driver assists to make your travel safer and easier than ever before.