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2020 Tesla Model Y Review

The 2020 Tesla Model Y ranks near the top of the luxury hybrid and electric SUV class. The Model Y has zippy acceleration, a lengthy battery range, lithe handling, and a spacious cabin with lots of standard equipment.

Pros & Cons

  • Snappy acceleration
  • Long all-electric driving range
  • Athletic handling
  • Roomy, upscale interior
  • Advanced tech and safety features
  • Touch screen can be distracting

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 9.0
Interior: 7.2
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
TBD
Reliability:
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. Its overall score is being calculated without reliability.
TBD

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 Is the Tesla Model Y a Good SUV?   

Yes, the Tesla Model Y is a great electric SUV. The Model Y offers more than 300 miles of driving range on a full charge, and it can recoup an extra hundred miles of range after a 10-minute pit stop at a Supercharger station – an effective cure for range anxiety. The Model Y accelerates swiftly and feels agile around turns, making for a fun driving experience. The interior is stylish, and it has roomy seating for five, plus a large cargo area. As with all Tesla vehicles, the Model Y is packed with technology, including a huge 15-inch touch screen and the Autopilot suite of driver assistance features.

The cabin materials could be a little nicer, and the ride quality is a bit too firm for some tastes, but overall, the Model Y is a standout in the luxury hybrid and electric SUV class.

Should I Buy the Tesla Model Y?

You should definitely consider the Model Y if you’re shopping for an electric vehicle, especially if your heart is set on a Tesla. The Model Y hatchback is more family-friendly than the Model 3 sedan, but it’s not as expensive or as quirky as the Model X SUV. It also handily beats electric SUV competitors like the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron in terms of range and price. The question is: For how long? A number of new luxury electric SUVs are slated to arrive over the next year, such as the Audi Q4, Mercedes-Benz EQC, and Volvo XC40 Recharge. If these options are tempting, maybe wait a bit longer.

Compare the Model Y, I-Pace, and e-tron »

Should I Buy a New or Used Tesla Model Y?

The Model Y is brand-new for the 2020 model year, so you can't buy a used one at this time.

We Did the Research for You: 8 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed eight Tesla Model Y reviews, as well as data points like fuel economy estimates and reliability ratings, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Tesla Model Y Cost?

The 2020 Tesla Model Y has a $52,990 starting price, making it the least expensive luxury electric SUV. Upgrading to the Model Y Performance model raises the price to $60,990. A lower-cost Standard Range model is expected to arrive in 2021.

Tesla Model Y Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Tesla Model Y or Tesla Model 3?

The Model Y is essentially a hatchback version of the Tesla Model 3 sedan. It offers the same basic electric powertrain as the Model 3, as well as the same advanced safety features and large 15-inch touch screen. Both models are also similarly quick and enjoyable to drive, and they provide more than 300 miles of range. They aren’t carbon copies, though. The Model Y has a higher driving position, an extra 5 inches of rear legroom, and a rear hatch that can fit four times as much cargo as the Model 3’s rear trunk. If you have a growing family or frequently need to haul bulky items, stick with the Model Y. On the other hand, the Model 3 is a better option if you have a tighter budget. Its starting MSRP is $37,990, which is about $15,000 less than the Model Y.

Which Is Better: Tesla Model Y or Tesla Model X?

The Tesla Model X tops the Model Y in a few key areas. It’s bigger than the Model Y, which translates to roomier five- and seven-passenger seating, as well as an extra 20 cubic feet of cargo space. The Model X accelerates faster – as if the Model Y was slow – and it can tow a heavier trailer (5,000 pounds versus 3,500). It also offers a longer driving range of up to 351 miles. Both Teslas have eight-year powertrain warranties, but the Model X has unlimited mileage compared to a 120,000-mile limit for the Model Y. Overall though, the biggest mark against the Model X is its sky-high $79,990 starting price. Both are great choices if you want a luxury electric vehicle, but the Model Y offers crossover SUV practicality at a far lower price.

Compare the Model Y, Model 3, and Model X »

Model Y Interior

How Many People Does the Model Y Seat?

The Tesla Model Y is a two-row SUV with five seats. The front seats are cushy and supportive, and there’s ample head- and legroom up front, even for taller occupants. The driving position is comfortable as well, and it’s complemented by clear front and side visibility. Rear visibility is just OK because of the sloping roofline. The Model Y’s back seats aren’t as spacious as those in the front, but there’s still enough room to accommodate two adults in reasonable comfort, at least for short trips around town.

Synthetic leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, and heated rear seats are standard. Tesla has announced a seven-seat configuration for the Model Y that will cost an extra $3,000, but this upgrade package won’t be available until 2021.

Model Y and Child Car Seats

The Tesla Model Y has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

Model Y Interior Quality

The Model Y’s interior looks almost identical to the Model 3 sedan. The styling is clean and minimalist almost to the point of feeling spartan, and there are a number of quality finishes and soft touch points. Look beyond the dashboard, though, and you will find some hard and cheap-feeling plastics that undermine the SUV’s luxe branding. If you’re expecting Audi or Volvo quality, you might be disappointed. On the plus side, the cabin filters out most road and wind noise.

Model Y Cargo Space

The Tesla Model Y has a roomy 68 cubic feet of total cargo space with its rear seats folded. That’s quite spacious for an electric vehicle, and it even bests a number of luxury compact SUVs. However, this figure includes the front trunk, or “frunk.” The rear liftgate has a wide opening, making it easy to load and unload bulky items. There are two compartments underneath the cargo floor, perfect for keeping smaller bags and items out of sight. The front trunk has enough space for two backpacks.

Model Y Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Tesla Model Y has a massive 15-inch touch screen mounted prominently in the center of the dashboard. It’s a point of contention among critics. On the one hand, the screen responds quickly to inputs and has crisp graphics. On the other hand, nearly all of the Model Y’s functions are handled by this screen, even frequently used features like the audio controls and air conditioning. There are almost no physical buttons. Making these adjustments requires you to look away from the road or rely on voice commands or steering wheel controls. Notably, there isn’t a gauge cluster either. The speedometer and estimated driving range are displayed in the upper left side of the touch screen. You may want to give this setup a thorough test before you buy, just to make sure you can live with it.

Feature availability is another important point. The Model Y doesn’t support the popular Apple CarPlay or Android Auto apps, but Tesla does offer a number of unique features that other automakers don’t. For instance, Dog Mode allows you to keep the air conditioning on while the vehicle is parked and you’re running errands. It also displays the cabin temperature on the screen in large font, so passersby will know that your dog isn’t overheating. You can play video games or stream TV and movies on the touch screen as well, though only when parked. This can be a handy distraction when charging the car.

Additional standard equipment includes navigation, an internet connection and Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, four USB ports, 14 speakers, HD Radio, wireless device charging, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic glass roof.

Read more about interior »

Model Y Performance

Model Y Engine: 3, 2, 1 … Blastoff!

The Tesla Model Y is equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors, one powering the front wheels and the other powering the rear wheels. Tesla doesn’t advertise its vehicle horsepower ratings anymore, but rest assured there’s plenty of muscle on tap. The Model Y shuttles briskly around town and up to speed, and it provides near-instantaneous passing power on the highway. According to Tesla, the sprint from zero to 60 mph takes just 4.8 seconds for the Long Range model and 3.5 seconds for the Performance model. These bursts of speed are met with almost no sound from the drivetrain, apart from a low hum.

Model Y Range and Charging: Pit Stops Optional

The Tesla Model Y Long Range has an EPA-estimated driving range of 316 miles. The Model Y Performance has a 315-mile driving range, though it drops to 280 miles for models optioned with the Performance Upgrade package. Both ratings beat electric SUV rivals like the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron, which offer 234 and 218 miles, respectively.

You can recharge the Model Y’s battery pack at public charging stations or overnight at home using a 240-volt outlet. Plug-in at one of Tesla's Supercharger stations for the quickest charge. Supercharging can provide about 158 miles of driving range in 15 minutes.

Model Y Ride and Handling: Sporty … For Better or Worse

The Tesla Model Y lands at the sportier end of the luxury SUV spectrum. Its steering is nicely weighted and responsive. The Model Y changes direction quickly and with minimal body roll, and its brakes slow down the SUV smoothly and confidently. The suspension yields a firm but comfortable ride on models outfitted with the standard 19-inch wheels and tires. Bumps and dips in the pavement are felt, but not harshly. The same can’t be said of models with the Performance Upgrade package, which adds 21-inch wheels with low-profile tires. These models tend to shimmy and shake aggressively over rough road surfaces.

Model Y Towing Capacity

The Tesla Model Y can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.

Read more about performance »

Model Y Reliability

Is the Tesla Model Y Reliable?

J.D. Power does not currently evaluate Tesla's electric vehicles for reliability.

Tesla Model Y Warranty

Tesla covers the Model Y with a four-year, 50,000-mile basic warranty and an eight-year, 120,000-mile warranty for the battery and drive unit.

Read more about reliability »

Model Y Safety

Model Y Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Model Y. This is fairly common for luxury vehicles.

Model Y Safety Features

The Tesla Model Y comes standard with Autopilot, which is a suite of driver assistance features that includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and a surround-view parking camera system. When in Autopilot mode, the Model Y can steer, accelerate, and brake within its lane.

Full self-driving capability is an $8,000 option. Once given regulatory approval, this feature will allow the Model Y to drive autonomously. Its current capabilities are limited to automated lane changing, automated self-parking, and automated return from a parking spot (or "Summon").

Read more about safety »

Model Y Dimensions and Weight

The Model Y is 15.6 feet long, and it has a curb weight of 4,416 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Tesla Model Y Built?

Tesla builds the 2020 Model Y in California.

Which Tesla Model Y Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Tesla Model Y comes in two trim levels: Long Range and Performance. The company says a Standard Range model will arrive in early 2021. For now, we think the Long Range model is the best pick for most shoppers. It is $8,000 cheaper than the Performance model, yet the only major difference is a quicker zero-to-60 time (3.5 seconds versus 4.8) and a slightly higher top speed of 145 mph, which is still well beyond legal speed limits.

Tesla Model Y Long Range

The Model Y Long Range has a $52,990 starting price. It comes equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack, two electric motors, and all-wheel drive. This setup provides an EPA-estimated driving range of 316 miles.

Standard features include a 15-inch touch screen, a navigation system, Bluetooth, four USB ports, HD Radio, 14 speakers, a Wi-Fi hot spot, keyless entry, automatic climate control, black synthetic leather upholstery, heated and 12-way power-adjustable front seats, heated rear seats, heated side mirrors, a panoramic glass roof, a power liftgate, and 19-inch wheels. Many safety features are also included as part of the standard Autopilot system, such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view parking camera system with proximity sensors.

Options include 20-inch wheels ($2,000), white upholstery and interior accents ($1,000), and a Class II tow hitch receiver ($1,000). An upgraded package of driver assistance features is available for $8,000, and it adds auto lane change, auto park, and Summon abilities.

Tesla Model Y Performance

The Model Y Performance has a starting MSRP of $60,990. It has a larger rear electric motor than the Long Range model, which enables quicker acceleration and a higher top speed with a negligible 1-mile drop in EPA-estimated range.

All standard and available features carry over unchanged, with the exception of a Performance Upgrade package. This package adds 21-inch wheels, red brake calipers, a lowered suspension, and an increased top speed of 155 mph. However, driving range decreases to just 280 miles, and the ride quality suffers because of the larger wheels. We suggest skipping this package.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Tesla dealer.

See 2020 Tesla Model Y specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Tesla Model Y is arguably the brand’s most important vehicle yet. The Model Y aims at the center of the market: a practical and affordable crossover SUV with lots of advanced features and a long electric driving range. And it hits the bulls-eye on most accounts. A slew of competitors are on the way, but for now, the Model Y is the most compelling entry in the luxury hybrid and electric SUV class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Price aside, the 2020 Model Y dazzles with intense electric thrust, over-the-air vehicle updates, and a tech-rich driving experience. For Tesla fans who crave the brand’s upscale Model X SUV but cringe at its lofty price tag, the Model Y is a tempting alternative." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Both the groundbreaking Model S and popular Model 3 have stolen sales from more traditional luxury brands and garnered plenty of fans. The Model Y has the hardware and tech to do just the same, even as more direct alternatives appear. BMW and Volvo are readying small electric SUVs, for example, and Ford is building up hype for its new Mustang Mach-E. How will they all stack up? We're eager to test them when they come available. For the time being, the Model Y looks to be another winner." -- Edmunds
  • "I managed to get my hands on one of the first Model Y crossovers in Michigan: It’s cool. It’s nimble. It’s a tall Model 3 with a hatchback." -- Detroit News    
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