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 all-wheel drive, and comes in two flavors: The entry-level Long Range has a total system output of 346 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque, while the range-topping Performance increases these figures to 450hp and 471 lb-ft. Consequently, even the base model is very rapid, and the Performance is explosively quick, needing just 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph. And, the Tesla Model Y can go as far as 330 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 their products on a continuous basis, so the chances are that there will be some improvements to the Model Y as the 2023 model year progresses. However, at the time of writing, it is understood that the 2023 Model Y continues unchanged from its 2022 specifications.
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 among some very serious opponents. The Audi e-tron falls in the same price bracket, isn't as quick but is a lot more premium-feeling in its build and material quality, and 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.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Tesla Model Y: