TL;DR - I had high hopes for this car, and I am not disappointed. I look for every excuse to drive it. It's probably overpriced (especially after the many price increases in 2021/22), but for someone who can swing it, it's amazing.
I got a new job recently, so I was able fast track my savings goal and start shopping for a new car. In December 2021 I ordered a blue with white interior Tesla Model Y Performance.
Here's a quick history of cars I've owned:
I spent a long time weighing my options, and I honestly couldn't find any good reasons to go with the alternatives. I'm a software guy, not a car guy, and even though other car manufacturers have great cars, I think Tesla's focus on the software/UX side of the product is better. I also fell in love with the minimal design, both exterior and interior - after researching new EVs and driving my Volt, I realized just how many buttons and switches existed in the car that are extremely rarely used. Teslas get a lot of criticism for hiding functionality behind clunky menus on the touch screen, but I haven't had any issues with navigating the UI for those.
The KIA EV6 took a close second place in my mind - I think KIA's implementation of their lane assist system is great, and I love the car's style (except for the rear "duck face", as I'm calling it). I also LOVE the Rivian R1T and would have bought it in an instant if I had any practical reasons to own a truck. I honestly believe that in 3-5 years Tesla will be playing serious catch-up with a bunch of the "legacy" car brands, but as of right now the other EV offerings still just seem like afterthoughts.
Ordering was extremely easy - just go to the website, choose your options, pay the $250 deposit, then start waiting.
I ordered around Christmas 2021 with an estimated delivery date of Jan 15 - Feb 15, which got pushed back to Feb 15 - March 15, then March 15 - March 30, then finally a final delivery date of March 24. On March 23, Tesla called me to tell me that the delivery truck was delayed by a snow storm, and I will be able to pick it up on March 25.
Unfortunately for me, the delivery center 10 minutes from my house caught on fire between ordering and pick up, so I needed to drive an hour away to pick it up. Upon arriving at the delivery center I found the car plugged into a charger in the parking lot, walked around to inspect the exterior, signed some paperwork, gave the Tesla guy the keys to my trade-in, and the car was mine. The Tesla employee pointed out some extremely minor paint defects and offered to repaint the bumper, which I declined since no sane human would be able to notice them.
Overall, the entire process probably took 20 minutes, which consisted mostly of me sitting in the car playing with settings as the Tesla employee signed and copied some papers. I experienced no major issues with paint, panel gaps, stains, etc.
I took a trip from Denver, CO to Salt Lake City, UT after owning the car for a month. Some final stats from a ~1000 mile round trip drive both ways:
Here are some thoughts and things I learned along the way:
The supercharger network was a big reason for buying a Tesla. I honestly believe that in a few years, third-party chargers for other cars will catch up with Tesla in this area, but for now I don't think non-Tesla chargers can reasonably be used for a cross country trip. I've used some chargepoint chargers with my Volt and Tesla, and setting up the app, figuring out payment methods, hoping the one charging spot is taken, and the slow charging rate is just annoying.
Most superchargers along my route from Denver to Salt Lake were in hotel parking lots. I kind of expected them to be relatively near any kind of food/shopping, so I could plug in and walk around a bit, but in reality I ended up stopping at a Burger King 5 minutes away and eating it in the car. Every supercharger I went to, even the one in downtown Salt Lake City, had at most one other car which was really nice. At least one good thing about being in a hotel parking lot was a clean bathroom was basically guaranteed at every stop.
The built-in map's charging/distance estimates were always spot on, even while driving 85mph for most of the drive, but I got a little annoyed at its tendency to focus on few, long stops instead of many short stops. There was one charger that the map skipped both ways that would have let me charge for 15 minutes twice instead of once for 45 minutes. 100% personal preference. Sometimes the map directions sent me to a parking lot adjacent but not connected to the charger.
Most of the Superchargers along my stop were 150kw ("V2") chargers, but the one in downtown Salt Lake City was a "new" 250kw V3 charger. The amount of power going into the car at that rate is impressive - watching the battery percentage tick up from 10% to 50% in just a few minutes is amazing.
I'm more impressed with AP than I expected, since most of the internet seems to unanimously say that it's trash. Most of the complaints I've heard about the system are solved by literally just paying attention. Phantom breaking seems to occur at the crest of hills or on short bridges, so hovering over the acceleration pedal when you see these lets you give it a tap if the car tries to slow down. Yes, its a little annoying, but isn't something that anyone should hop online and start ranting about.
I like the Tesla's implementation of AP/TACC. A double press down on the right stalk enables AP (auto speed and steering), and one press on the stalk enables Traffic Aware Cruise Control (auto speed). If you're in AP mode and use " break" out of AP by wiggling the steering wheel with some moderate force, auto-steer turns off while keeping cruise control active. This half-takeover feature makes overriding AP steering really comfortable IMO.
You can also nudge the steering wheel a little bit while auto-steer is active, letting you sway slightly within the lane lines without disengaging AP. This was one of my concerns before driving the car, since I really like dodging pot holes (who doesn't) and constantly resetting autopilot would get annoying quickly. Once you get the feel for the exact force needed to "break" AP, pulling the wheel just enough to get the car to move where you want it is pretty easy.
The 80mph AP speed limit is very frustrating on 80mph speed limit roads. If you're in AP at 80mph and tap the accelerator, the car yells at you for speeding and locks you out of AP until you put the car in park. If you have the Safety Score (FSD beta waitlist or Tesla Insurance), I have a feeling that this will greatly impact your score.
Autopilot is nearly unusable at night due to the absolute failure of the automatic high beams. Your best case while using AP at night is a slightly annoying light show as the highs toggle on and off for every road sign. Worst case (and IME most of the time) is that you end up just flashing cars that are 30 feet in front of you nonstop.
I love the screen. There are so many buttons in "legacy" cars that are so rarely used, I'm actually surprised that so many people hate the minimalist screen-only design. Even the current iteration of the UI (V11), which seems to be universally hated by Tesla enthusiasts, is completely fine. My biggest issue with the software is the Spotify player ( don't even get me started on Tidal's lack of shuffle button). Its laggy, but only sometimes. Sometimes a podcast episode just skips to the end or restarts without any inputs (probably some network disconnection blip). Thankfully, the bluetooth connection works perfectly, and, unlike my last car, doesn't take a whole minute to connect to my phone.
Voice controls are essentially useless for anything but "navigate to
I wish the "home" screen had the map on the driver's side, instead of the road visualization. It seems like a little too much of a head turn to see my map directions while I'm driving.
There are too many "easter eggs" in the software. Games, toys, little secret fun things that are fun to talk about but entirely useless. Maybe Tesla should spend money on something other than devolping games that look like they are from the 2010 era app store.
Voice commands "open butthole" and "close butthole" open and close the charge port, but may open the trunk instead in some cases. “Open bunghole” and “close bunghole” also work and may be a reference to Beavis and Butthead.
I chose blue exterior and white interior, and I'm absolutely in love with it. The white seats make me feel like I'm driving a spaceship, and people have already commented on how cool it looks on the inside (yes, I'm shallow and enjoy the ego boost.) The big issue with the white trim is the reflection of the dashboard on the side mirrors. The reflection of the white dashboard on the side window perfectly blocks the side mirrors. If I didn't rely mostly on the blind spot cameras, I would definitely spend some money on a sticker to cover up this white strip. This photo doesn't really show it as much as I hoped, but heres the idea:
The gear selection and signal stalks have a weird "mushy" feel to them. Sometimes it's hard to tell if I'm pulling the signal stalk all the way or not. When you hit the stalk to signal left or right, it returns to its neutral position even when the blinker stays on. This creates some awkward situations where you have to push the stalk the opposite way to turn off the signal instead of just moving it back to the neutral position. There is no satisfying "click" or any tactile response when the blinker turns itself off, causing me to not notice that it was left on after a turn. The indicator on the main screen that shows left or right blinker status is hard to read. The indication that your blinkers are on is a small green circle with a white arrow inside it, located in the center left or center right of the display. At a glance it's hard to tell whether your left or right signal is on - combined with the fact that there is no physical feedback to the signal stalk and AP's optional automatic signalling/lane changing, it's easy to get confused about which direction you're signalling
The sun visor is uncomfortably long and thin. When I want to move the visor to the side window I literally have to duck my head under it. Maybe I have my seating position way too high, but I don't think so. The cover for the mirror in the visor is some weird piece of cloth with magnets in it. It's probably the most obvious piece of cost saving I've seen in this car.
The huge panoramic glass roof is really cool, but hard to enjoy from the driver's seat. The headliner section between the windshield and the roof is wide enough that the people in the front seats need to really look up to see out of the roof. The passengers in the rear get an amazing experience, though. The glass is heavily tinted, so heat and glare from the sun is not an issue.
This car is extremely fast, but after a month of using it I actually crave something faster. I've been converted into a fast car guy. Not only does it go from 0 to "illegal" at a traffic light before you can comprehend it, the 70-ish to 90-ish range is responsive enough to instantly get past a truck's blind spot if they do something unexpected.