by Martin Pretorius
The electric compact SUV market segment has grown a lot since the Tesla Model Y first appeared in 2020. New opponents from legacy manufacturers are nipping at its heels, armed with similar performance, practicality, and driving range, and the Model Y's reasonably affordable initial price tag has grown massively over the past two years. None of that diminishes the Model Y's abilities, however, and it is still a desirable car with its own merits. The 2023 Tesla Model Y features dual motors and rear-wheel drive, though upper-tier models are all-wheel drive equipped. It comes in three flavors: The entry-level car has a range of up to 260 miles, while the Long Range will go for up to 330 miles. The Model Y Performance comes with 450 horsepower and 471 lb-ft, and a 3.5-second sprint to 60 mph. And the Performance can still go as far as 303 miles on a charge, so it's still up among the best in this regard. But, with fresher competition in the form of the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID.4, is rapid as all hell still enough?
Tesla updates its products on a continual basis, so the chances are that there will be some improvements to the Model Y as the model year progresses. A new base model is introduced for 2023, and pricing ranges from $43,990 to $52,490 before destination fees and any option.
Pricing for Tesla Model Y starts off at $43,990 for the base model; this increases to $48,490 for the Model Y Long Range. The Model Y Performance costs $52,490. These prices exclude a destination charge of $1,390 and the $250 order fee.
Federal tax credits should apply to new Teslas. With these and other incentives, the Tesla Model Y price can potentially cost less in your region.
See trim levels and configurations:
All Tesla passenger cars have their batteries mounted low down, below the passenger compartment floor, which places the vehicles' center of gravity as close to the ground as possible. This brings an immediate benefit to handling prowess because it leads to greater directional stability and flatter cornering. As a result, the suspension can be tuned for comfort rather than control, because the engineers don't need to battle a lot of weight higher up in the car's structure anymore, which in turn allows for a smooth ride quality.
Despite this comfort-tuned suspension, the Tesla Model Y corners with a level of precision and enthusiasm that belies its considerable weight. Responses to steering input are accurate and quick-witted, although the steering wheel doesn't relay much in the way of road feel. But this isn't meant to be a sports car, and its EV competitors don't really excel in this department, either. Performance is, predictably, storming. The base Long Range model can do the 0-60 mph sprint in a claimed 4.8 seconds, while the range-topping Performance model slashes that dash to only 3.5 seconds.
The typical EV power delivery is also present: with no need to wait for a transmission to gear down, putting your foot down on the accelerator pedal translates into an immediate kick in the small of your back. There is one downside to the EV powertrain, though: because it is so quiet, other sources of noise become much more apparent, such as various trim rattles due to variable build quality, and tire- and wind noise on the highway.
With up to 330 miles of range on a single charge (depending on the trim), the Tesla's reputation still precedes it. And, specified correctly, you can do all your off-the-line sprinting with three rows of seats. Seen in the context of its market segment, the Tesla Model Y is a viable competitor and a good SUV. However, its pricing puts the Model Y at an advantage against some very serious opponents. The Audi e-tron costs over $20k more, isn't as quick but is a lot more premium-feeling in its build and material quality. The Ford Mustang Mach-E GT costs similar money and is almost as quick. The Tesla Model Y's case isn't helped by its lack of basic modern functionality such as smartphone mirroring capabilities, which tends to matter a lot to buyers of executive class SUVs. It's good in its own right and would have been an eye-opener back in 2020, but there are more complete opponents out there now.
This depends on how much you value ultimate performance and whether you're willing to pay for it. The Long Range offers all the performance anyone could need for $4,000 less than the Performance. Our recommendation would be the Long Range model with the Full Self-Driving Capability tech included, simply because of the excellent range. If you need a daily commuter, however, the base model will do just fine.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Tesla Model Y: