2020 Tesla Model Y Performance Review

The Tesla Model Y was all-new for 2020, a compact crossover/SUV with a quick 0-60 acceleration time, but less exciting performance than the 2020 Model 3.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Sep 14, 2022
Two years after its release, the Tesla Model Y has a more established identity among the Tesla lineup, but the 2020 Model Y was the first year of its release. The reliability of these 2020 models hasn’t turned out to be the greatest, but if it’s performance you’re looking for, the 2020 Tesla Model Y is still one of the most exciting EV SUVs you can buy.
The 2020 Tesla Model Y offered space for a third row of seating and standard all-wheel drive, powered by two of Tesla’s famously efficient electric motors. Drivers with access to Tesla Superchargers can drive long and far without burning an ounce of fuel with a 2020 Model Y.
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2020 Tesla Model Y performance review

The 2020 Tesla Model Y was built on the platform of the Model 3. For the 2020 model year, the Model Y was available in two trims: Long Range or Performance. There was no Model Y Standard Range released until August 2021. In terms of pricing, a used 2020 Tesla Y Performance with no added features fetches a higher price than its original MSRP, usually around $66,000. Even a 2020 Model Y Long Range in good condition starts around $64,000 on the used market.
The Performance trim offers the speediest 3.6-second 0 to 60 mph time available among 2020 Model Ys. To compare that to one all-gas European competitor, a
BMW X3 M
goes from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds, not quite able to match the efficiency of the electric powertrain, but a BMW X4 M can do 0-60 in 3.3 seconds on traditional gasoline power.

Powertrain options and handling

Every 2020 Tesla Model Y was available with standard AWD featuring two electric motors that produce 470 horsepower together. While RWD Model Ys were available at some point, they were an “off-menu” option, and the vast majority of 2020 Model Ys that you find on the used market will be AWD. The 2020 Model Y’s transmission is a 1-speed direct-drive system, since battery-powered vehicles don’t need transmission gears to aid acceleration.
Unfortunately, the 2020 Tesla Model Y loses marks in the handling department due to its higher center of gravity—especially compared to the more enjoyable Model 3 or the performance-focused Model S. Car and Driver commented in their review of the 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance that its handling was “unwieldy,” with a ride quality less refined than its European performance rivals.

Acceleration, 0 to 60, and top speed

There’s no denying that Teslas have some of the best acceleration numbers on the market, but just how fast is a 2020 Model Y?
A 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds after a 0.3-second one-foot rollout. It reaches 130 mph after 17.2 seconds, but not before finishing its quarter mile in 12.7 seconds. The 2020 Model Y Long Range has a governor-limited top speed of 136 mph.
On the other hand, the 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance can reach 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and finishes the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds, just slightly ahead of the Long Range. However, the 2020 Model Y Performance reaches 130 mph later than the Long Range model, taking 17.8 seconds to get there. It also requires a solid 29.5 seconds to reach 150 mph, just before its claimed 155-mph top speed.
Here are the 0-60 times of some of the Tesla Model Y’s top 2020 EV competitors:
  • 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo: 3.0 seconds
  • BMW iX M60: 3.6 seconds
  • Audi RS e-tron GT: 3.1 seconds
This places the Tesla Model Y in a high-caliber crowd, although its price also does that for it automatically.

Fuel economy and range 

The 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range is touted as having a range of 316 miles, just one extra mile above the Performance. However, with the available Performance Upgrade—which adds 21-inch premium wheels and lowered sport suspension to the Performance trim—this range is reduced to 280 miles.
Car and Driver has also noted that range is lost during highway driving. In their test of a Tesla Model Y Long Range, they got a range of only 220 miles.
The 2020 Tesla Model Y is the lowest-range Tesla you can get, but it still beats the ranges of EV crossovers like the 240-mile-range BMW IX3 or the 200-mile Volkswagen ID 3.
In terms of efficiency, the 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range has an EPA city/highway fuel economy rating of 129/112 MPGe, although Car and Driver’s 75-mph highway driving test resulted in a rating of 94 MPGe.
The 2020 Tesla Y Performance has an EPA-tested range of 291 miles and a city/highway economy rating of 116/106 MPGe. Driving on the highway in Car and Driver’s 75-mph test resulted in a fuel economy of 98 MPGe and a range of 230 miles, proving that it performs better than its entry-level sibling at high speeds.

Tech

The 2020 Tesla Model Y’s technology options were extensive, particularly featuring its prominent 15-inch infotainment touchscreen. You can easily stream TV or play video games on it if you’re parked, and you’ll also find all of your car’s information and settings here while you’re driving—even the speedometer!
Safety features are in full supply here as well, to the extent that the Model Y can safely drive itself, provided there is an aware driver present in the driver’s seat. Since it has this capability, the 2020 Model Y is an expert at adaptive cruise control, emergency stops, safely changing lanes, auto-parking, and even making its way through a parking lot to pick you up using the Summon feature.

How to save on Tesla Model Y insurance

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