2024 Tesla Model Y RWD review

Posted on July 11, 2024Comments Off on 2024 Tesla Model Y RWD review

Tesla seems to make headlines every few weeks with adjustments to its pricing, but the latest cut really got people thinking.

WATCH: Paul’s video review of the MY22 Model Y RWD

That’s because the US brand cut the cost of its China-made Model Y electric SUV to a staggeringly low level – $55,900 before on-road costs.

The brand is constantly kicking the pricing ball around, and that surely leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who just took delivery of their base model Model Y – and spent $5000 more to do so.

But – ethics of epic price adjustments aside – is the base 2024 Tesla Model Y RWD the best electric SUV you can get for this kinda money?

How does the Tesla Model Y compare?

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

Tesla

Model Y

How much does the Tesla Model Y cost?

The base Model Y RWD is now $5000 cheaper than it was just a few weeks ago.

Model Variant $RRP
2024 Tesla Model Y RWD $55,900 (-$5000)
2024 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD $69,900 (-$8500)
2024 Tesla Model Y Performance AWD $82,900 (-$8500)

Prices are before on-road costs

To see how the Tesla Model Y lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

What is the Tesla Model Y like on the inside?

You are either going to be okay with everything being on that central screen, or you’re not!

While there might be aftermarket elements you can add to this car – such as a head-up display, or a small digital speedometer you can put in front of the steering wheel – usability might still leave a little bit to be desired depending on what you like when you’re driving.

For me, I would much prefer to have a head-up display or a dashboard binnacle to tell me a bit more information directly in my line of sight, but I do find that I get used to jumping back into a Tesla pretty quickly and the fact the speed readout is relatively close to your line of sight does mean that it’s not that big of a deal.

The screen really does take some getting used to, because there are seemingly thousands of different options and menus for you to dive and delve into, and while you do get used to it – for anyone who hasn’t lived with Tesla – I suggest getting a really thorough run through from someone who knows!

There is still an easy quick selection bar down the bottom with your climate, volume and shortcut buttons for your car menus, and multiple other media controls as well.

Now the screen could definitely put you off, but it’s the most divisive thing about the cabin really. 

At least this model still comes with a gear selector stalk instead of the on-screen gear selector in the updated Model 3 – though that will almost certainly be applied to the updated version of the model Y due next year.

You’ve still got a conventional wiper and indicator stalk as well, but if you want to set up your steering wheel and all your mirrors, you will have to use the steering wheel dials as well as the touchscreen to do so.

What is missing a little bit in the cabin is some level of excitement.

While the wood trim finish on the dashboard and the “open space” concept might still be appealing, the Model 3 does make this SUV feel a little bit older now because it still doesn’t get the nice ambient light touch the cheaper car does.

Speaking of the interior finishing, the trim and the attention to detail is quite good, and I like the fact there’s a fake leather finish on the seats and some Alcantara-ish trimming on the door cards, which adds to the value factor in terms of interior feel.

Add to that you’ve got a double wireless charging bay, a big storage section between the front seats, a pair of cupholders, and a covered centre console bin, as well as large lined bottle holders in the doors. It feels like a pretty thoughtful place.

On top of all that there’s a really strong standard stereo system in this car which has bass and nice clarity to it.

In the back there is a good amount of space for someone my size – I’m 182cm or 6’0” tall – and I can easily slide in behind my own driver’s seat position with room to spare.

The front seats are quite thin in the backrest, which does help in that regard, and also there’s a really good amount of space in the second row for adults and youngsters alike.

There are ISOFIX points in the window seats and top tether points as well for all three back seats.

While some people might find the glass roof without a shade questionable, I didn’t have any issues with it feeling too hot in the back, and it does add an airiness to the cabin.

There are amenities in the back including USB-C ports, directional air events, and all three rear seats have heating like those upfront. But annoyingly, there are no overhead grab handles for any seating position in the car.

One of the biggest party tricks of the Model Y though is the amount of storage on offer. In the backseat there are map pockets and a flip down armrest with cupholders, as well as door pockets.

In the boot there is a huge amount of space. Tesla states there is 854 litres of cargo capacity with the rear seats up, including the frunk (under bonnet storage), or a huge 2158L with the rear seats folded.

What that means in reality is the standard boot layout allows enough room for luggage for a family of four for a weekend away, and if you need even more you can lift up the floor section in the back and reveal a well underneath behind the rear axle that allows you even more storage capacity.

If you need even more, you could put your charge cables or some other items in the front trunk of the Model Y, and that seems like a really handy additional space for secure storage. But, remember, if you buy a Model Y, you have to pay extra for your cables!

Also, no spare tyre – if you get a flat, you have to call roadside assistance because there’s not even a tyre repair kit!

Dimensions Tesla Model Y RWD
Length 4750mm
Width 1978mm
Height 1624mm
Wheelbase 2890mm
Boot capacity 854-2158 litres

To see how the Tesla Model Y lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

What’s under the bonnet?

There’s a single electric motor, and a single-speed transmission with rear-wheel drive.

Tesla doesn’t state its power and torque figures, but industry data suggests the Model Y RWD has 220kW of power, and the brand itself offers a 0-100km/h claim of 6.9 seconds.

The Model Y RWD has a 60kWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack, with a claimed WLTP rated range of 455km. That’s a smaller battery pack than other models in the range, but it also gets the LFP chemistry which is reportedly more amenable to constant full charging without as notable depletion.

The maximum DC charging capacity for the base model is 170kW, less than the higher-grade versions (250kW), and it can recharge in a claimed 27 minutes. On AC power it can recharge at 7.4kW on a single-phase electrical source, or up to 11kW on three-phase. 

The rated efficiency of the Tesla Model Y RWD is 14.6kWh per 100km, which seems exceptional on paper. In reality, over my few days of testing, I saw 15.7kWh per 100km on the display – but what shocked me is that the battery range was depleting way faster than that efficiency number suggested!

I used 67 per cent of the battery to do just 140km, meaning a full charge was on track to net just 210km, even with the most assertive regen braking in play.

How does the Tesla Model Y drive?

The Model Y is mostly inoffensive when it comes to the drive experience, although there are some things that certain buyers might find a little bit frustrating at times.

Firstly the steering, which even in its most lenient resistance mode – Comfort – is still very direct, and makes you feel like you sort of need to be on your tippy toes with the steering.

The good thing about it is the response of this car is very good, with nice quick actions to reverse parallel park. It’s also very manoeuvrable at lower speeds. But it does feel a bit like a video game at pace.

It doesn’t have a proper surround-view camera system, nor conventional blind-spot monitoring (with little icons in the mirrors that light up when there’s something in your blind spot – instead it shows a camera image in the middle screen, which is nowhere near as safe, in my opinion) and I think it isn’t quite as urban friendly as a result. 

That centre display also tells you if there are people or cyclists around with illustrated characters near the car if the cameras detect them, and while Alex the photographer and I were out with this car, the system seemingly thought that the individual photographer was 10 cyclists and pedestrians at once all in a cluster.

The previous version of the Model Y was unrelentingly hard in terms of its suspension, and while this one is better, it is still perhaps not as well balanced in terms of ride comfort compared to something like a Kia EV6 or Hyundai Ioniq 5. It does, however, handle itself well in corners, with a low centre of gravity that makes it feel pretty flat in the bends.

Even this base model single-motor version is very powerful, and really does offer a lot of response from a standstill or at a rolling start. It’s smooth and progressive in the way it accelerates, especially if you take it out of Chill mode and put it into Standard.

There is no super-duper fast mode in this version, but that’s no bad thing I don’t think, and it still has a very rapid response to throttle inputs.

On top of that there’s a very user-friendly and easy to manage regenerative braking system, which never feels like it is too abrasive in terms of the one-pedal drive experience. It also has among the best usability of any EV at low speeds when it comes to simply using the accelerator to slow you down rather than having to get on the brakes.

There are three regen modes: Creep – which will slowly move forward; Roll – which rolls when pedals released; and Hold – most assertive in its action. I had it in Hold most of the time.

Now, the next bit could just be user error because Tesla controls are a little bit different to get used to, but I had some issues with the semi-autonomous systems in this car.

The “Traffic Aware Cruise Control” (adaptive cruise control) was what I reverted to, because the Auto Steer (Beta) system was prone to slow down for no reason in tunnels … just like the Model 3 I tested a couple of months ago.

On the freeway, the road noise suppression in this car was a highlight. There’s barely any noticeable road noise even on rougher surfaces compared to some of the rivals out there. 

It almost feels like it has an echo chamber quality to it in the cabin – you can really hear yourself and others talk, which is a nice thing that some other affordable EVs don’t prioritise.

What do you get?

On test here is the entry-level Model Y RWD.

Tesla Model Y RWD highlights:

  • 19-inch ‘Gemini’ wheels (now in all black)
  • Tinted glass roof
  • Power-folding, auto-dimming and heated side mirrors
  • Floor mats
  • Leatherette interior upholstery
  • 12-way power adjustable front seats
  • 15-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • 13-speaker audio system
  • Wireless charger for two smartphones
  • 4 x USB-C ports
  • 1 x USB-A port in glovebox
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • HEPA filtration system
  • Tesla app connectivity

Options include:

  • 20-inch induction wheels: $2400 (RWD, Long Range)
  • White and black interior: $1500
  • Enhanced Autopilot: $5100
    • Navigate on Autopilot
    • Auto Lane Change
    • Autopark
    • Summon
    • Smart Summon
  • Full Self-Driving ($10,100) will add (if/when approved for use on Australian roads):
    • Traffic light and stop sign control
    • Auto steer on city streets

To see how the Tesla Model Y lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

Is the Tesla Model Y safe?

The Tesla Model Y wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating with 2022 datestamp.

It scored 97 per cent for adult occupant protection, 89 per cent for child occupant protection, 82 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 98 per cent for safety assist.

Standard safety features include:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
    • Forward, Reverse
    • Car detection
    • Pedestrian detection
    • Cyclist detection 
    • Junction assist
  • Blind-spot assist
  • Lane keep assist
  • Reverse, side view cameras
  • Front, rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Automatic high-beam
  • Intelligent speed limiter

There are seven airbags fitted – dual front, front centre, front side, and curtain airbags. Some other cars in this class offer side airbags for rear occupants, and/or a driver’s knee airbag.

There is no typical ‘surround view’ camera system for this car, but it does have the capability to monitor its surroundings using ‘Sentry Mode’ which can operate when parked in public or at home.

How much does the Tesla Model Y cost to run?

Buy a Model Y and you only get a four-year/80,000km warranty in Australia.

The Model Y RWD’s battery is backed by an eight-year or 160,000km warranty, whichever comes first. The Model Y Long Range and Performance batteries are covered for eight years or 192,000km.

During the warranty period, Tesla Australia guarantees the battery will retain a minimum of 70 per cent capacity.

Servicing? There are no set intervals, but if you need something checked in your Tesla, you can call the service hotline and they’ll send someone to you. 

The brand recommends you keep an eye on your tyre wear (as you would), and change cabin filters every two years, while a brake fluid test should be done every four years.

The other big consideration for buyers is that being a Tesla customer gets you access to more Supercharger stations across the country. That means it could make a far better companion for a single-car family.

CarExpert’s Take on the Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y RWD is a spectacular EV for someone who is after a practical and pragmatic electric SUV for their family.

It’s clear this is one of most well-rounded and appealing EVs on the market, even if it’s not the most exciting EV to sit in.

Click the images for the full gallery

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