- May 13, 2022
- Posted by: AliensFaith
- Category: OBJECTIVE PRESS
I took ownership of a new Tesla Model Y in February 2022 – so I’m writing this review after approximately 3 months of driving the car. I’m a middle-aged man living in Europe, Austria and I’ve driven quite a few cars, mostly but not exclusively from German manufacturers, for more than 20 years. This is my first EV and I thought that it might interest some people to read my take on the Model Y as I think it diverges a lot from the reviews that I’ve read before becoming a Tesla owner.
English isn’t my first language so I kindly ask you to excuse any grammatical mistakes I might have made.
I really can’t complain about the build quality on my Tesla Model Y. There was a small issue with a squeaking sound but that got fixed by a mobile technician right away. I like the looks of the car, both the interior and exterior, and I couldn’t spot any issues with the build quality at all. I have a model that came from China.
The acceleration – it is really, really fun and seems to never get old. I have the Long Range model and keep wondering how badass the performance version must feel like? Or the Model X plaid? …
Unfortunately, the ride comfort leaves much to be desired: It is a very bumpy ride on anything but the most perfect streets. For a car that cost approx. 74k EUR I’d have expected much, much better.
I think this is Tesla’s biggest advantage it has over its competitors – a unified software platform across all models that receives regular OTA updates. The UI/UX is very good and I’m surprised that it is a rare occurrence that I wish there were more physical controls in the car. I also think that the rumoured app store that is supposed to be released in the future will be a big hit. Well done Tesla – at least on this front.
However, while the Touchscreen is easy enough and satisfying to use, unfortunately, functionality-wise some of the car’s core features are of very questionable quality – as I want to detail in the next few paragraphs.
My last Volkswagen (VW) had an auto park feature. While it wasn’t perfect and I rarely used it, it still seemed far superior to auto park in the Model Y. I’m not bad at parking and usually much faster and accurate than the automatic parking systems that I’ve used but it still has a nice “gadgety” feel so sometimes I try to use it. It worked in approx. 50% of the cases I tried it with the VW but only very rarely on the Model Y. Usually the “P” symbol doesn’t even show up. It also never made it into a tight parking spot – which would be the only real use-case for me. Other times it just aborts/gives up in the middle of parking. In its current state it is utterly useless.
Autopilot and I getting scared
Autopilot is in fact very fascinating and much more advanced than the lane-keeping assist systems I’ve used in other cars. It’s fascinating to experience the car driving itself and it does feel futuristic. However, it is definitely not a relaxing experience. Too often it gets way too close to curbs or other cars and I have to take over. The opposite also often happens – Autopilot getting scared. When a person stands (even without moving) close to the road it almost always hits the breaks, the same goes for when the lane curves around parked cars – in that case the Autopilot comes to a complete stop. Phantom breaking, especially on highways, is unfortunately also a thing – it doesn’t happen very often but when it does it is really scary. My partner doesn’t want me to use Autopilot on highways at all anymore because he says that it makes him too nervous and he can’t relax.
Navigate on autopilot seems dangerous
I tried the “navigate on Autopilot” feature a couple of times and it usually does a pretty decent job choosing the right on-ramp or off-ramp; however, when taking a smaller exit from the highway, it acts in an outright dangerous fashion: It starts breaking on the normal highway lane instead of waiting until it is on the deceleration lane – which is something you’re really not supposed to do and get taught not to do in driving school, at least in my country. Also, the way it takes the exit is extremely jerky and on narrow exits it turns way too hard – so hard that I had to take over a couple of times because it seemed that we’d crash into the barriers. I usually disable autopilot now when taking smaller exits.
Stoplight and stop sign detection
This is a feature that’s included with the “FSD” package and is the most useless of them all. It stops for traffic lights – all traffic lights, no matter if they’re green or red. I just don’t get it. It’s the first thing I had to disable because it is nothing but annoying.
No cross traffic warnings and no blind spot assistant
I was really surprised that the Model Y has no cross traffic warnings when reversing and no blind spot assistant. Those were among the best assistant systems I had in my previous cars and I can’t believe they’re just completely missing – basically every other car that I know of that was manufactured in the past 10 or so years has them.
Speed limit misdetection
I’m not sure if this is specific to my city or if this happens everywhere but this is a really annoying bug and destroys the Autopilot experience even on perfectly straight roads: The car reads speed limit signs that are meant for the intersecting street as if they were for the current one. In my city most neighbourhood streets are 30km/h zones while main roads have a 50km/h speed limit. When driving one of the main roads the car keeps reading the slightly angled speed limits that are meant for the intersecting streets and then drops the speed to 30km/h. And I can’t even adjust the speed to a higher setting for some reason – I need to completely disengage the Autopilot. On a typical trip of a few kms in my city this happens at least 2-3 times, sometimes even more often.
I absolutely love summon (not smart summon as that has been crippled into uselessness in the EU by legislators – I mean the simple back/forth summon)! I love it when it works – which is not that often unfortunately. For some unfathomable reason, Summon seems to require an internet connection in the car. Inside underground parking garages that unfortunately isn’t always the case. I already had the situation where summon would work for moving the car into a tight spot but it refused to work moving back out. Why doesn’t it just use the bluetooth connection of the phone? I just don’t get it.
Localization – town signs aren’t recognized (speed limit)
The localization of the car for Austria is poor – or shall I dare say non-existent? Tesla has an official presence in my country since 2017 – five years since writing this review. But it seems like even the slightest localization effort is too much. The first localization issue I’d like to mention concerns town signs. The car just doesn’t recognize them as such. Which is bad, because a town sign also usually signifies a speed limit change. When on Autopilot the car happily soars past the town sign with 100km/h and only afterwards slows down. If caught by police that’d cost any driver their license – on the spot.
Localization – speed reduction after speed sign
Another localization issue seems to be the fact that the car begins slowing down, very gently, only after it has passed speed limit signs. At least in the countries I know this is illegal – the speed that the sign indicates must be matched when passing it, not afterwards.
Localization – road sign misidentification
Another annoying issue is that the car reads the “end of parking zone” signs in my city as “end of speed limit” signs. Every time.
Localization – navigation only knows about a small percentage of chargers
A major annoyance is also the fact that the car just doesn’t know about most of the charging stations in my city. The navigation only lists charging stations from certain vendors – those that are actually a tiny minority. The stations of the majority provider (the city’s own charging stations) aren’t listed at all. The same seems to be true for other towns and cities in Austria. Again, I just don’t get Tesla’s laziness in this regard – all EV mobile phone apps that I’ve tried (also non-local ones) have a complete list. Just Tesla doesn’t.
After about three months I have very mixed feelings about the car. Driving it (manually) is really fun, charging it is easy (when using an alternative app to find a charging station) and I love the looks of it. On the other hand it feels like it isn’t worth it. I’d say my main reason for getting that car were probably the self-driving and other autonomous features because they really fascinated me. But exactly those seem to be so immature, so “beta” quality and so utterly impractical in reality that I can’t say that the car is worth it for me. And I didn’t even elaborate on the barely-functioning rain sensor or the automatic high beams – it seems like almost every feature of the car comes with a caveat. At least for now. However, my hopes aren’t too high that Tesla will really improve anything substantially in the near future. They’ve had 5 years in Austria to add the charging stations. Autopilot has been around for many years now. And for how many years has Tesla promised FSD and Robotaxis? It’s all a bit disappointing.