By Andrew Lambrecht
Unimpressive, overpriced, and bland; this is how almost any other sub $70,000 performance SUV feels after going for a ride in the Tesla Model Y Performance. For the sake of this review, let’s choose another performance SUV in the same price range: the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC43 Coupe. The AMG GLC43 starts at $63,000 but can quickly near the $70,000 mark when certain standard Tesla features are employed. The AMG GLC 43 makes 385 hp and 384 ft-lbs of torque, propelling the vehicle from zero to sixty in 4.7 seconds. The fuel economy is 18 mpg city, and 24 mpg highway and the cargo capacity comes in at just shy of 50 cu. ft. The basic and powertrain warranties are four years / 50,000 miles; however, an additional 10,000-mile interval service warranty is available for purchase on the configurator.
Keeping this in mind, meet the 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance. The Model Y Performance is a breath of fresh air in the highly cluttered performance crossover sector. The Model Y is a crossover that stands out; it’s neat, quirky, and fun. Plus, it suits well for a long-term, practical SUV to own. First off, every Model Y currently for sale has a 4 year / 50,000 basic warranty and an 8 year / 120,000-mile powertrain warranty. As of August 2020, there are two trim levels for the Tesla Model Y: Long Range AWD and AWD Performance. Rumors suggest that the Long Range RWD variant will be available in the coming months for $46,190. The LR AWD starts at $51,190, and the Performance starts at $61,190 (all the above prices include dest.). The standard configuration consists of five seats; however, a seven-seat variant will be available in 2021. Maybe not seating for seven full-size humans, but seating for five full-size humans and two micro-humans is most likely feasible. Additionally, due to the rear-reclining seats and the perfectly flat rear floor, the three adults can comfortably sit side by side in the second row.
The interior of the Tesla Model Y is very similar to the Model 3, aside from some small differences. In the Model Y, wireless charging is available upfront, and USB-C ports replace the USB-A in the second row. Another striking dissimilarity between the 3 and Y are their glass roofs. While the Model 3 has two glass panes with a dividing support beam between the front and rear seats, the Model Y has its support beam behind the second row creating a large, uninterrupted piece of glass to allow the occupants to gaze up and view the sky. Lastly, the Model Y has a power liftgate and a larger frunk yielding 68 cu. ft. of storage space which trumps the 3’s 15 cu. ft. Other than those features, the interior will be very familiar to a Model 3 owner. Even the front seats are identical – aside from the carpeted pedestals they reside on to give the car a higher driving position.
On the topic of ride height, the Tesla Model 3 has a ground clearance height of 5.5,” and the Model Y has 6.6”. The Model Y and 3 with the Performance upgrades have slightly lowered suspension, but nothing too noticeable. However, the overall heights are much different; the Model 3 resides at 57,” and the Model Y stands at 64”. Alternatively stated, the Model Y is 7 inches taller than the Model 3 and just 2 inches shorter than the Model X. Due to the Model Y being lower to the ground than other SUVs, it has less drag. The Model Y achieves .23Cd, which is .01Cd lower than the Toyota Prius. This low coefficient helps the range amount to 316 miles on the Long Range and 290 miles on the Performance.
The Model Y is Tesla’s slowest Performance model coming in with a zero to sixty time of “just” 3.5 seconds. Our test result was 3.7 seconds, most likely due to the battery being only 30% charged.
Typically in BEVs, the acceleration times increase as the battery’s state of charge decreases. The acceleration is very powerful. Impressing passengers in this car is very easy. Along with the G-force from accelerating, the handling was very impressive too. Road holding comes in at .95g on the skidpad, which is quite monumental for a crossover.
All things considered, the Tesla Model Y should make anyone’s shortlist interested in a performance-oriented crossover. The Model Y has better build quality than the Model 3 and the factory black trim paired with the Überturbine wheels set them both apart. The Model Y has given Audi and Mercedes’ crossovers a run for their money. Plus, you won’t have to sign up for an annual maintenance plan! The Model Y Performance defeats the GLC43 AMG Coupe in almost every aspect, including the cost of ownership, acceleration, power, torque, cargo space, and sticker price. Even though the Y Performance is superior to the Mercedes in almost every aspect, people will still buy the GLC43 over the Y due to the lack of knowledge surrounding electrics. If you are possibly in doubt about the Model Y Performance, I will encourage you to take a free 30-minute test drive at your local Tesla center!
2020 Tesla Model Y Performance Specs
Price as tested: $63,190
General warranty: 4 year / 50,000 mile
Battery warranty: 8 year / 120,000 mile
Drivetrain: Dual Motor AWD
Length: 187 in / 192 cm
Width: 76 in / 192 cm
Height: 63.9 / 162 cm
Towing capacity: 3,500 lb / 1,600kg
Cargo space: 68 cu. ft. / 1,919L
Battery capacity: 75kWh Lithium-Ion
Usable battery capacity: 72.5kWh
Max charging rate: 250kW
EPA Range: 291 mi / 468 km
Bhp: 450 hp / 336 kW
0-60 mph: 3.5 Seconds // 3.7 Seconds (tested)