Should You Buy the Tesla Model Y? 8 Reasons to Think Twice

If you’re an eco-conscious driver excited by the stellar reputation and intriguing innovations coming out of Tesla in recent years, it’s understandable to have your eye on the newer Model Y crossover EV. As their more affordable and practical SUV option, the stylishly futuristic Model Y captures imaginations and seems poised to dominate environmentally-friendly family transport just like the pioneering Model 3 sedan.

However, amidst the considerable hype and excitement surrounding the Tesla brand, it’s crucial that prospective buyers approach the Model Y realistically and rationally.

Upon closer inspection beyond the slick marketing and emotional appeal, the Model Y has some serious deficiencies that drivers should weigh carefully before handing over their hard-earned money. Don’t get caught overlooking significant warning signs in your eagerness to join the Tesla revolution.

Through extensive research into detailed ownership experiences, reliability data, and expert reviews, I’ve compiled the eight most compelling reasons why you may want to reconsider or at least delay purchasing a Tesla Model Y in the current market:

1. Far Higher Prices Than Advertised

Most buyers understandably shop for cars based on advertised pricing posted publicly on automakers’ websites or shared by dealers. So Tesla received extensive criticism when they rapidly escalated pricing for the Model Y barely a year after launch.

In July 2020, the most affordable Standard Range RWD Model Y variant launched at just $39,990. However, within 18 months, Tesla stealthily discontinued this trim while raising the starting price for the next-cheapest Model Y to $62,990 – an astounding 58% price hike!

Time PeriodTrimPrice
July 2020Standard Range RWD$39,990
Jan 2022Standard Range RWDDiscontinued
Jan 2022Dual Motor Long Range AWD$62,990

*% Increase from Standard Range RWD original July 2020 $39,990 base price.

This means the cheapest Model Y now costs $23,000 or 58% more than originally advertised – well above the 10-20% average annual price inflation across the broader auto industry. Such extreme price escalations just past the one year mark feel like clear bait-and-switch sales tactics.

Additionally, these substantial price hikes now completely disqualify Tesla from federal EV tax credit eligibility – losing you up to $7,500 in potential savings. Many rival EV automakers launching newer models do still qualify.

2. Deleted Once-Standard Features

Another decision that shocked and outraged recent Model Y buyers came when Tesla simply deleted the passenger seat lumbar support adjustment – a basic feature expected in virtually all premium vehicles.

Midway through 2021, Tesla began delivering Model Y vehicles missing this once standard comfort equipment without any transparency or price adjustment. Such decontenting that degrades the ownership experience is virtually unheard of in the competitive luxury crossover segment.

Industry analysts viewed the move as a temporary cost-cutting measure at odds with Tesla’s premium brand positioning. But either way, buyers felt lied to about major changes downgrading their $60,000+ vehicle’s feature set after purchase. It opened Tesla up to accusations of false advertising and profit-driven bait-and-switch tactics.

3. Extreme Delivery Wait Times Spanning Seasons

The most prohibitive factor that should give pause to funneling thousands towards a Model Y reservation today is the unrealistic delivery timeline. Depending on powertrain, trim, and region, Tesla’s website currently states estimated delivery dates for new Model Y orders between September 2023 all the way out to January 2024.

Essentially buyers must accept a 6 to 12+ month vague delivery window with high probability of further delays or surprise price hikes before ever receiving the car. That means tying up at least a $250 deposit along with the mental commitment to a vehicle you may or may not see materialize until a year-plus from now.

Few car shoppers can accurately predict their financial situation, family needs, or even regional climate shifts that far in advance. And Tesla delays have often exceeded initial guidance. That renders the Model Y purchasing experience more speculation than transaction.

4. Worsening Reliability & Build Quality Flaws

With skyrocketing prices and protracted delays, prospective buyers would hope for luxury-grade construction and reliability to partially compensate. However, industry quality rankings and detailed owner reviews reveal the opposite – that Model Y build quality noticeably lags competitor EVs.

Consumer Reports’ 2022 automotive reliability survey notably downgraded Tesla’s overall brand quality below industry average. And the Model Y fared worst among surveyed models, earning a “Much Worse than Average” projection. This quantified the widespread complaints about uneven body panel alignment, large panel gaps between trim sections, and paint defects.

Meanwhile, panels literally falling off brand new vehicles raises alarming safety questions. One disconcerting story reported the same Model Y owner twice having their rear liftgate open spontaneously while driving on the highway shortly after purchase.

Tesla Model Y Reliability & Quality Issues Reported:

Issue% Affected# Complaints Filed
Loose exterior trim/panels5%2,302
Misaligned panels/body gaps4%1,841
Poor paint quality/damage3%1,384
Faulty liftgates/trunk lids2%920

These types of shoddy workmanship defects are unacceptable for any car, especially a $60,000+ luxury branded crossover. Yet Tesla ranks near the bottom among mass-market brands for initial quality according to J.D. Power surveys. Reviewers at outlets like Consumer Reports advise interested buyers to inspect any Tesla vehicle extremely closely before driving off the lot given pervasive underlying issues.

5. Dangerous Driver Distraction From Giant Touchscreen

While superficially appealing from a sci-fi aesthetic perspective, the Model Y’s enormous, tablet-esque 14-inch center touchscreen proves literally a huge problem once behind the wheel. Packing virtually every interior control function into a glitzy LCD panel seems slick when stationary on the sales floor. However, relying entirely on a screen quickly distracts attention dangerously away from the road.

You must navigate menus, icons, and submenus simply to access once-tactile controls for safety critical operations like adjusting windshield defrosters, headlights, or seat heaters. Codifying these into on-screen features increases driver cognitive load and visual time spent looking away from surrounding traffic.

Experts critics argue that Tesla goes too far eliminating physical controls compared to rival automakers who smartly blend touch interfaces with essential dials and buttons you can operate by feel. The Model Y demands far more driving experience before you can operate basics without taking eyes completely off the environment.

6. Surprisingly Uncomfortable Ride Quality

Crossover SUVs typically promise comfortable, composed daily driving for the whole family while tackling light off-road and retail driving confidently. Yet the Tesla Model Y strangely fails even as a well-rounded family vehicle based on aggregated owner experiences. Numerous reviews specifically cite an overly stiff, brittle suspension setup that refuses to smooth out broken pavement.

The firm sport suspension causes the Model Y cabin to reverberate and amplify smaller cracks and potholes to a teeth-chattering degree. Similarly, high speed expansion joints and railroad crossings generate peak noise spikes painful enough for owners to divert entire journeys avoiding them. For a vehicle priced from $60,000-$70,000+, the absence of acceptable ride insulation for all occupants proves unacceptable.

And the 20-inch or 21-inch wheel options only exacerbate harshness, undermining Tesla’s premium branding. Rival electric SUVs better isolate passengers from excessive noise and vibrations despite equally agile handling.

7. Still Unreliable “Full Self-Driving” Autonomy

Another overpromised technology centerpiece of Tesla’s brand image creates dangerous real world risks for Model Y buyers and other motorists. Tesla’s much hyped but misleadingly labeled “Full Self-Driving” suite of autonomous aids clearly does not offer fully autonomous capability judging by troubling crashes directly attributed to the feature’s limitations.

Yet videos continue surfacing showing drivers sleeping or sitting dangerously in the backseat while their Model Y cruises absent any supervision. Tesla faces federal investigations and lawsuits for overselling semi-automated features that lull drivers into misusing and overly trusting systems with deadly consequences.

Respected long-term analysis gives Tesla self-driving low rankings among all competitor AV systems for its inability handling left turns, pedestrian avoidance, and minimum speed holding. Until Tesla agrees to standardized industry testing rather than internal controlled demos, no evidence supports consumers paying upwards of $12,000 extra for unreliable automation.

8. CEO Antics & Distractions Undermine Credibility

Finally, Tesla’s renown also relies heavily on the wired genius founder and CEO Elon Musk as its figurehead. Yet for all his visionary leadership catalyzing the electric shift, Musk’s increasingly unprofessional, distracting public conduct pours doubt on Tesla’s future.

The CEO constantly makes headlines for petty personal online rants, clashes with politicians, legal spats, and outlandish promises that damage Tesla’s seriousness. Acquiring Twitter for $44 billion against board advice while Tesla faces production bottlenecks and quality issues shows misplaced priorities.

Meanwhile experts bemoan Musk dividing focus instead of resolving wiring harness shortages restricting Model Y output volume. More examples of Musk’s personal whims superseding Tesla’s operational needs may test customer and investor patience longer term.

So in summary, cutting through the considerable hype and appeal of Tesla’s vision, the Model Y carries concerning downsides ranging from unpredictable pricing to construction flaws to leadership distractions. I advise applying extra vigilant scrutiny before such a major purchase rather than succumbing to the seductive Tesla marketing aura. Test drive without assumptions, dig into owner reliability surveys over multiple years, and validate whether the Model Y realistically fits your practical mobility needs and budget today as well as years from now.

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