Tesla Model Y Long Distance 14 month User Review Update

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We have had the Tesla Model Y LD for 14 months now and here are my user experience comments.

Body Design Appearance and Usefulness – In the bright red color with black upholstery we both liked the looks of this car from the start and still do. Looks are a personal thing. To me the car has a sort of clean future look to it both inside and out. I like clean uncluttered style vehicles.

The size, design, and usefulness of this car to me is one of the two outstanding advantages of this car. It is easy to drive in urban and suburban type situations and has lots of room inside. It has tight fast steering and good acceleration to dash in and out of traffic. Very good noise cancelling puts you in a moving bubble when trying to get to Costco, the YMCA, dinner out, or the beach. While listening to soft music to calm your nerves.

The second outstanding advantage of this car over others I have experience with is exceptionally smooth acceleration, single speed transmission, it slows down so brakes are usually not needed. This along with very smooth and just right steering makes for a really great driving experience around town. Plus country driving on smoother roads using auto driving aids going to places 50, 75, 100 miles away. But this good country driving is clouded when you add in mountains. I drive frequently from our house at 800 foot above sea level to 6,000 foot above sea level to hike and volunteer at a local State Park. This car uses a lot of energy going up hill. The range estimator in the car is not accurate going up and down hills. Going from 800 above sea level to 6,000 sends the car range estimator from 262 to 150 miles till empty in a space of 35 miles. Going downhill is much better of course, but my own experience is that the regenerative power made by going from 6,000 to 800 feet above sea level means you don’t loose range miles. If you change that mountain drive from one that does not lend itself to using cruise control to a freeway the range experience is much better. Recently I have gone from below sea level to about 5,000 foot mostly in cruise and then down from 5,000 to 800 and my Tesla uses a lot less power than driving manually on back roads.

Update 4-25-2022 – I used the Tesla last weekend to go up to the local mountains and on the way up went from dash estimated range of 290 to 231. So a decline in range of 59 miles when actual miles are 35. This time I used the freeway for the major incline and set the cruise control at 70. The last time I went from 262 to 150 miles I went back roads with no cruise control. My experience is that on the freeway going up hill with the cruise control on the mileage is much better.

We have had one very minor repair in 14 months. The water from the windshield wipers stopped working. Tesla came to our house and fixed it for free. One of the hoses came loose.

Things that stand out that I don’t like still.

  • No sun shield under sun roof.
  • Sun roof does not open.
  • No spare tire.
  • Range and trip planning computer in the car is much too optimistic. If you use our cars range computer without adding common sense you will get stuck out of power. Inexcusable in 2022. My 1980 Lincoln Town Car had a very accurate range computer 40 years ago. My 2022 Acura gas car has a very accurate range computer. In fairness I would say the Tesla has a much more difficult job than a gas car. But with electric cars chargers that work well are not common like gas stations and it adds a BIG worry that you don’t have with gas or diesel or hybrid gas cars.
  • No AM radio.
  • No Apple Car play.
  • Adaptive cruise does not handle traffic signals or non freeway roads nearly as well as my 2022 Acura MDX. To the point where I only use cruise on freeways. The older style adaptive cruise on the same year Acura is much easier to use on non freeway type roads.
  • Full self driving is slightly better than when we first got the car. A year ago the Tesla FSD when using would constantly bug you even if you had both hands on the steering wheel. Now it senses when both hands are on the wheel and you are paying attention to the road. The system is still confused by when the road has an exit and widens, but it is getting better. That said it cost us $10,000 and at this point I would have to say not a good value. The Tesla FSD is however much better than the lane keeping feature on the 2022 Acura MDX. That feature on the Acura came in a tech package I bought with the car at significantly less than $10,000.
  • Controls and system to operate the heating and air conditioning difficult to use compared to the 2022 MDX. The MDX has very simple to use physical controls and adds the very useful feature of sending cooled or heated air to the front row seats. The Tesla does heat the seats, but where we live AC is more needed.
  • Controls to operate sound system difficult to use and wireless charging, for me, pretty useless. Again the MDX has this stuff down pat. The Acura wireless charge plate is very easy to use and works every time. The Tesla charging plate almost never works. The sound system works some of the time. Usually I can get my Apple phone to work with it. Usually Siri works with it. But the MDX has very good interaction with my phone.
  • No warning of cross traffic when backing out of a parking place. Again the Acura does an excellent job of this.
  • Much much cheaper looking interior compared to the similar priced Acura MDX. The Tesla is not awful, but not special for the price paid. The seats, floors, storage area floor, third row of seats, and very high end interior of the MDX a much nicer place to spend time in.
  • Too much automation. My Jeep Wrangler 4 door (2013) had everything you needed and nothing you did not, except a poorly working auto dim rear view mirror. The use of a smartphone for keys is too complex. Much simpler to have a key fob in your pocket that does the same job. The Jeeps air conditioning was full manual. The controls were super simple and worked really well. I did not have to look to adjust them. It was perfect. The best auto heat and air conditioning systems I have had were super easy to adjust and worked well. The Tesla is hard to use no matter what you do. The sound system is very hard to use and has no AM radio. I listen to the AM radio for news. I almost never used FM radio in my other cars. Now both the Tesla and the new Acura have no AM????? Why do you need an electric motor and button to open and close the doors or raise or lower the hatch. Not needed.
  • Overall the ride is fairly good but too stiff for poor roads or longer distances. The handling and grip is good for around town driving, but poor for travel unless you are on smooth roads, and those hardly exist any more in the USA.

Things in general I like about the car after 14 months and 13,000 miles.

  • Drive system as mentioned before. Very smooth and effective with very good acceleration and stopping. One speed transmission is vastly better than the 10 speed transmission in the 2022 Acura MDX. Tesla main drive is much much much better than what used to be an excellent drive system in the Acura. The Acura now stops and starts at stops which is extremely!!!!!! annoying. It now has too many gears and is in specific gears such a short time that the driving power is choppy and irregular compared with velvety smooth Tesla power. This was not the case in my last 2008 MDX which we drove for 105,000 miles. It had basically the same motor as the new MDX with a 5 speed transmission. It worked brilliantly and got the exact same gas mileage as the new one. The old car was faster too. And handled way better.
  • Size. The Tesla model Y is just the right size for an SUV. I normally don’t like SUVs (Except for Wrangler 4 doors) but I do like the size, usefulness, and overall design of the model Y. In my opinion this is a sedan with a slightly raised roof, seating position, and hatch. For me as a person who is over 70 and has some knee issues the added height and seating position is a benefit.
  • Very quiet interior. Of course my previous daily driver was a Jeep Wrangler 4 door. The glass on the sides seems very effective at deadening the noise from something like a big diesel motor at a stoplight on the right or left.
  • Very good outside view to see things like edges of the car.
  • Auto dimming rear view mirror actually works well. Most auto rear mirror systems are not effective.
  • Fun to drive.
  • Remarkably fast.
  • Dash map system works very well and voice command system is very effective.

Overall our Tesla model Y is a very enjoyable vehicle for around town except for the no sun shade for the sun roof. With the range the way it is (about 260 real World miles on an electric charge) to me it is better to use a gas or diesel car or truck to travel. Or possibly an even better option is a gas or diesel hybrid. In my opinion when the Tesla model Y gets batteries that are rated a 400 miles EPA then things would change in favor of using the Tesla for both urban and travel, oh, and add a spare tire.

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