First Week Driving the Tesla Model Y

This is part of a series that covers my experience with a Tesla Model Y.

I didn’t video the first drive. We were all excited, I had family in the car, and I know a few of them don’t want to be on video.

However. It was very exciting. To be fair, almost every time I purchase a new car and get to drive it, I’m excited. My wife might be more excited, and as she said, it’s the best car we’ve ever had. And we’ve had a lot.

General Thoughts

The car is smooth. It’s strange to just get in, pull down the right lever and start driving. No starting that car, which feels very futuristic, Minority Report-ish. It’s also strange that when I shift gears, the car doesn’t move. I have regenerative braking on, which holds the car until the accelerator is pressed. So when I pick Reverse in my garage, I need to press the pedal for the car to move.

The acceleration is smooth and instant. I tend to drive more carefully, watching the energy and saving power. I did the same thing when we first got our Prius, actually, throughout the life of the Priuses we’ve had. The feedback makes me try to game the system and get the most efficient ride. I also did this in the BMW, though getting 22.1mpg over 21.5mpg isn’t terribly exciting.

I have hit the pedal hard a few times and my stomach jumps a bit each time. I was in the left lane at a stop light, and needed to make a right turn at the next corner, about 1/8mi ahead. I pressed hard and jumped from 0-40 in a couple seconds and was able to change lanes to the right without cutting off the person next to me. They’d barely entered the intersection when I was already past it.

The large screen is easy to use and not distracting. Watching speed slightly down and to the right isn’t that hard compared to looking straight down. I do wish a HUD or small display was straight forward, but I think I’ll get over that.

The rear window is small. When 5 of us were in the car, all I could see is my son’s face out the rear. Fortunately, I could easily put on the cameras and see behind me by glancing at the screen.

We’ve gone about 400 miles, which is a lot in a week.


I’m learning to use controls more smoothly. The basics of turn signals are easy, and the headlights come on and switch low/hi automatically and quickly. The controls for cruise work well, and I’ve lightly used Autopilot.

I saw someone with hazards on the other day and was wondering how to turn them on. I looked through lots of menus, finally searching in the owner’s manual, which is a digital copy in the Software section. Apparently, there’s a button for this, which I like. I do want some programmable physical buttons for some things.

After that, I wanted to make sure I could turn on wipers. We don’t get much rain in Colorado, but we can get sudden downpours, so I practiced with both the screen and pushing in the left stalk.

One thing I accidentally learned was mute. I wanted to try out the voice controls, and pressed the left button. That mutes audio, which is very handy when there isn’t a knob. My wife’s truck has volume buttons on the radio and steering wheel and quickly muting is a pain. This works well.

I’ve only tried navigation and minor audio changes with voice controls, but I might try more. I am trying to look away from the road less, so it’s good to get used to that.

In a week, I’ve also learned not to pull the door handle and only push the button to open doors. That’s took a few days.

I do use cruise control often. On the country roads, with rolling hills, it’s easy to go too fast or slow, so I set this often and I like how it works. I really appreciate it slowing when the car in front of my slows.

The last control is the lack of control. After a week it’s still weird to get into the car and not have to do anything to start going. It’s also weird to get out without shutting things down.


I constantly feel like I’m an actor in Minority Report, with a future car. The smooth dash, no dials in front, the quiet, it’s very futuristic. As I noted, I game the power a lot, but when you do want or need to move quickly, it moves. The acceleration is still very exciting.

The car turns smoothly, the suspension feels tight, and like a few of the high performance cars I’ve owned, the Model Y responds crisply and rightly to my input. It’s a nice extension of my, which I like. I’ll keep testing Autopilot and trying to understand the limits and benefits. It’s nice, but not great.

So far, quite happy with the vehicle.

There is a video with some thoughts and  impressions on my channel. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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