Your super-fast Tesla SUV has finally arrived. Are you ready?
- Brutal performance
- Spacious seating and boot
- Great ride comfort for a sportier car
- It looks terrible
- No form of tyre repair solution (call a towie!)
- Speedometer placement is daft
2023 Tesla Model Y Performance review
Tesla fans rejoice – the fast one is finally here.
If you’re not a Tesla fan, what has arrived is a near-on 400kW high-performance version of the brand’s excellent Model Y medium SUV. It’s aptly-named the 2023 Tesla Model Y Performance, and on paper it looks to be quite the car.
There’s an all-electric and realistic WLTP driving range of 514km, an approximate power and torque figures of 393kW/690Nm, a boot with nearly 1000-litres of storage with five-adults on-board, and a 0-100km/h time of 3.7 seconds.
All of that for $110,000 drive-away. To celebrate its arrival in Australia, Tesla loaned us a car for a couple of days to evaluate and enjoy.
Is this Tesla’s best car to date?
How much does the Tesla Model Y Performance cost in Australia?
The 2023 Tesla model Y Performance is priced from $98,415 before on-roads and costs. It’s the second and flagship model Y in the range and costs $29,115 more than the entry-level car at $69,300 before on-roads.
Pearl white paint comes for free –hence why you see millions of White Teslas – with a selection of four other colours costing extra. Whilst a solid black, metallic dark silver and metallic dark blue add $1950 to the car’s drive-away price, our test car’s prestige red paint costs $3120.
It makes our 2023 Tesla Model Y performance test car worth about $110,000 drive-away in NSW. For the extra spend over an entry-level 2023 Tesla Model Y rear-wheel drive, you get an extra motor on the front axle to create all-wheel drive, stacks more power, around 60km more range, 21-inch ‘Uberdesign’ wheels, a performance brake and suspension package, plus a carbon rear spoiler.
A comparable, fast and fully-electric 2023 Kia EV6 GT starts from $99,000 before on-roads, or around the same $110,000 drive-away.
|Key details||2023 Tesla Model Y Performance|
|Price||$98,415 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Red multi-coat|
|Options||Prestige paint – $3120|
|Price as tested||$101,535 plus on-road costs|
|Drive-away price||$110,000 (NSW)|
|Rivals||Kia EV6 GT | Jaguar I-Pace | Hyundai Ioniq 6|
How much space does the Tesla Model Y have inside?
I personally love Telsa’s minimal take on interior design. The single and simple air vent treatment – that doesn’t blow air in your face uncomfortably like most other cars – is a great example of smart design.
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It looks awesome and functions equally so. Although I’d still prefer a few tactile buttons for some air-conditioning controls, and I can see how they’ve become redundant given you set the climate control on your phone before getting in the car.
However, if you do wish to change the temperature from inside the car, things are one tap away. The screen is also large enough to make interacting with it easy when driving, as the ‘buttons’ or areas to tap on the screen are large and oversized to promote usability.
It just means you don’t have to overly focus on applying pin-point accuracy when prodding the screen with your fingertips when you’re driving, thus making it easy to use. The seats are comfortable, albeit a little flat for what is a performance car. They need more bolstering to be performance seats to be honest, as at the moment they’re not good when you try to enjoy what you paid for.
But, they choc your back nicely, are heated, have adjustable lumbar support, and are easy to get in-and-out of. Given the tall roof line and large front window, you get excellent visibility forward and aft.
Overall the first row feels great, looks high end, and has plenty of space for people of all shapes and sizes. The second row continues the theme of generosity, and I reckon three adults could fit in the back without being too squashed.
The centre seat is quite wide – evident by the wide fold-down armrest – and rear of the centre console cleverly notched to increase legroom for whoever drew the shortest straw (and is sitting in the middle).
Such smart and considered design for a still-young brand. I’m around six-feet tall, and behind my own driving position I found there to be ample space. My knees were clear of the seatbacks, feet able to stretch out in front, and overall comfort levels high.
Aside from rear air vents, there are also a pair of USB-C charging ports in the back and a fold-down armrest with two cup holders. Boot space is super-sized too, with 911L of storage offered above and below the boot floor.
It’s an impressive space, with huge storage pits located on either side of the main area and a big tub located under the boot floor. Young families will love it, those who ride bikes equally so, but the lack of even a tyre repair kit does bother me.
If you get a flat tyre, call a tow truck.
|2023 Tesla Model Y Performance|
|Boot volume||971L seats up|
Does the Tesla Model Y have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?
The Tesla Model Y does not have Apple Car Play or Android Auto, rather its own native system with your favourite applications that you sign into using your own credentials.
Consider it a bit like a PC. The 15-inch screen is powered by excellent hardware and is smooth and fluidic to operate. The software’s visual interface looks minimal too – just like the car’s interior – and is quite interactive too.
Tapping the battery icon will turn it into a your remaining range figure, as one such example. The 14-speaker premium stereo is exceptional and one of the better ones I’ve had the pleasure of auditioning.
I threw lots of music at it; and it excelled at all, albeit requiring some tweaking via the equaliser when flicking between contrasting styles of music. It renders audio unquestionably, but still provides amazing clarity and a wide soundscape from the sound-bar like speaker on the dashboard.
The immersive sound setting will suit some ears; but I preferred everything off and with some mids dialled in. Nick Jost’s bass licks from Baroness’s Gold and Grey literally pop out of the mix and twang brightly in your face, whereas Kevin Parker’s masterful pans truly stretch across the dash in his debut master piece Innerspeaker.
I could listen to it all day, especially if you try something more huge and immersive like the 2009 remaster of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. The stereo is detailed, accurate and sounds huge – just sensational.
Is the Tesla Model Y Performance a safe car?
The Tesla Model Y scored five-stars under ANCAP’s 2022 testing regime.
It performed exceptionally well in terms of adult occupant protection (97 per cent) and safety assist systems (98 per cent) and great terms of child occupant protection (89 per cent).
If you care about safety, the 2023 Tesla Model Y is one of the safest medium SUVs on the market.
|2023 Tesla Model Y Performance|
|ANCAP rating||Five stars (tested 2022)|
|Safety report||Link to ANCAP report|
What safety technology does the Tesla Model Y Performancehave?
The car features traffic-aware cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and usual features found on high-end European cars.
It’ll do smart things like apply steering intervention to keep you away from traffic around you if you veer of course. All of the Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) are well calibrated and don’t interfere with the art of driving however.
If you want more help, you can add ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ for an extra $5100. This system introduces features like summoning the car (from a car park) and auto lane change assist.
For $10,100 more you can add ‘full self-driving capability’ that goes one further moving its basic auto pilot system to an enhanced version with systems like traffic light and stop sign control.
However do not get confused, ‘full self-driving capability’ does not mean this car drives itself – Australia still requires you to pay attention and hold the wheel when using Tesla’s advanced driving assist systems.
How much does the Tesla Model Y Performance cost to maintain?
Tesla doesn’t offer a service schedule, however does recommend 12-month tyre rotation, plus a brake fluid and cabin filter change every two.
Officially it also recommends a A/C desiccant bag replacement every 4 years, HEPA filter replacement every 3 years, to clean and lubricate brake calipers every year or 12,500 miles (20,000 km) if used in adverse conditions.
A tyre rotation in Sydney from an official Tesla repair centre costs around $65 if you live in-and-around a Tesla outlet in a metro city – as they come to you to conduct the work.
Insurance is expensive at $3000 a year, or $262 a month, for a male driver aged 35-years old with a clear driving record. Other comparable and internal combustion performance cars cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 less.
|At a glance||2023 Tesla Model Y Performance|
|Warranty||Four years, 80,000 km|
|Service intervals||12-month tyre rotations
2-year cabin filter replacement
3-year HEPA filter replacement
4-year A/C system service
Is the Tesla model Y Performance energy efficient?
On test we saw around 20kWh/100km initially, with figures settling around 18kWh/100km after more time. Both results are still above Tesla’s official claim of 15.3kWh/100km.
That means our official range was more around 430-odd KM instead of the 516km. It’s worth noting that we only spent a day and a half with the car and didn’t get to the chance to test it over a longer period of time like we usually do.
That was because this vehicle loan was for a product launch. We plan to get 2023 Tesla Model Y Performance in for more thorough effiencicy testing soon.
|Energy Efficiency||Energy Stats|
|Energy cons. (claimed)||15.3kWh/100km|
|Energy cons. (on test)||18kWh/100km|
|Driving range claim (WLTP)||79kWh|
|Charge time (11kW)||5hr 45min|
|Charge time (50kW)||1h 16min|
|Charge time (210kW max rate)||18m (0-80%)|
What is the Tesa Model Y Performance like to drive?
Does anyone need a 400kW medium SUV?
Not really, but I can see why you’d want one. The performance is simply electric, with acceleration that’ll literally make your gut feel funny. Although it’s fast, what’s more amazing is how capable the car is in shitty weather too.
It rained whilst we were out-and-about in the Southern Highlands district of NSW attacking its great roads, and the dampness on these poor condition surfaces amazingly did not impede on fun or forward progress.
The e-motors have amazing resolution over grip, yaw, and those other funny words to describe the vehicle’s movement and inertia. As a result, when you bury the throttle in the wet – and out of a corner – it simply hooks-up and goes faster than any internal combustion car I’ve driven.
It’s clinical; but so precise and sharp, and arguably R-rated fun on a back road. This is a $110,000 performance car however, and I can’t deny the fact I miss the emotional aspect of a mad soundtrack – one of an engine banging through gears and maybe talking back with some burbles.
But, if you like an engaging drive, the Model Y Performance certainly delivers thrills. Some 0-100km/h testing saw a best result of 4.4 seconds, which is some 0.7 off the official claim of 3.7. Braking distances were OK at around 37.5M, but a performance car should stop a bit better.
When you’re not enjoying the performance, it’s still a comfortable car to commute in. Tesla offers two different suspension tunes globally for its Model Y Performance, and here in Australia we received the more supple-and-soft European one. Whoever made that call is spot on, as the car is probably just-about as stiff as you’d want a daily driver to be.
It does get slightly busy and feel firm on those mottled sections of poorly repaired road, but it never feels cumbersome or tiresome. It strikes the right balance and I’m glad we got the softer suspension tune.
The steering is quick, short lock-to-lock and darty, so do take some time to get used to it. It makes the car feel hyper agile and quick to react at low speeds, but don’t expect the same result as things get faster.
There’s no denying the mass of the vehicle, and there’s no clever engineering that can work around physics. It can feel big and bulky at times depending on where you’re driving it, and that’s because it actually does weigh two-tonne.
Other things that stand out when driving include its good visibility, excellent stereo and ‘ease of use’ via things like smartphone entry and that big centre screen.
It’s easy to become accustomed to the way it works.
|Key details||2023 Tesla Model Y Performance|
|Engine||Dual electric motor|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Spare tyre type||None|
|Tow rating||1600kg braked
Should I buy a Tesa Model Y Performance?
If you’re shopping for a swiss-army knife around $100,000 – or a car that does school runs and fun jaunts all-in-one – then drive one of these before buying your next car.
It’ll wipe the floor with most-other metal for the money and provide zero-compromise to your kids who love the big boot, or friends who frequent the back seat. If your brief is that simple, then I think you’ve found your car.
However, it does come across soul-less without the evocative soundtrack of an engine; but that’s something you’ll need to decide on yourself. It’s quite unreal at the amount of ability you get for your money here, and Tesla have clearly spent time on the chassis and suspension to get it right for markets where the roads are not perfect.
It was also a little thirsty on this launch drive too, so we want to get one in for longer testing to see if that’s the case in reality. I reckon 500km~ is just-enough range to make one palatable for those who live on the fringes of metro cities to drive too, so I’m sure the extra 60km further this Performance model goes over the entry-level will convince some buyers.
If you need any excuse to justify one however, just quote those approximate power figures to your naughty side – 393kW/690Nm.