Best & Worst Tesla Model Y Years

I have ranked each Tesla Model Y model year so you can avoid picking the worst Tesla Model Y year and pick the best Tesla Model Y year!

In this guide, I’ll analyze all Tesla Model Y model years, highlighting the best Tesla Model Y years to buy and the worst Model Y years to avoid.

Our assessment is rooted in comprehensive research, leveraging data from trusted sources such as NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and Edmunds, providing critical insights into vehicle reliability, safety ratings, and owner satisfaction, helping us draw well-informed conclusions.

Specifically, we’ll delve into the Tesla Model Y’s yearly performance, reliability, safety, common owner-reported problems, recalls, and resale values that define Model Y’s best and worst years.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

Tesla Model Y Generations

The Tesla Model Y, introduced in 2020, quickly became a key player in the electric SUV market, blending the practicality of an SUV with the performance and eco-friendliness Tesla is known for.

This compact SUV features an impressive range, advanced autopilot capabilities, and a spacious interior with an optional third-row seat, making it a versatile choice for families and enthusiasts alike.

Below is a table listing the generation of the Tesla Model Y from its launch to the present day.

1st Generation2020-Present

Significant changes exist between generations, especially in performance enhancements, technological advancements, and interior design updates, which might be the deciding factor for potential buyers.

Tesla Model Y Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When ranking and categorizing the best and worst Tesla Model Y model years, we consider a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

The upcoming graph compiles all the combined ratings from the sources above to present a comprehensive view of the Tesla Model Y’s performance over the years.

Tesla Model Y Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score 1

Following is a table that categorizes all model years of the Tesla Model Y into the best, neutral, and worst years based on the collective insights from these sources.

GenerationBest YearsWorst Years
1st Generation2023

The “Neutral Years” represent a balanced option for buyers, offering Tesla’s innovative electric vehicle technology with moderate reliability and owner satisfaction.

It’s important to note that factors such as NHTSA recalls negatively impact a vehicle’s reliability rating. A higher number of complaints and recalls indicates potential reliability issues.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Tesla Model Y 1st Generation (2020-Present)

Tesla Model Y 1st generation 2020 model
The 2020 Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y, debuting in 2020, quickly cemented its position as a pivotal model in Tesla’s lineup, offering a blend of performance, utility, and electric efficiency in a compact SUV format.

This generation promised spacious interior space, advanced safety features, and an engaging driving experience, all wrapped in Tesla’s minimalist design aesthetic.

The Best Years: 2023, 2024

The 2023 and 2024 Tesla Model Y years represent the best model years of Tesla’s continuous improvements in electric vehicle technology and customer feedback integration.

These models feature enhanced battery technology, offering an extended range exceeding 330 miles per charge for the Long Range variant and improved efficiency across all models.

Tesla also refined the autopilot system, addressing earlier issues with “phantom braking” and enhancing the safety and reliability of its semi-autonomous driving features.

Interior upgrades included a more sophisticated and responsive infotainment system alongside improvements in materials and build quality.

The introduction of new software features, such as over-the-air updates, further enhanced vehicle functionality and user experience.

Despite the advances, these years maintained Tesla’s commitment to performance, with dual-motor all-wheel drive configurations ensuring dynamic handling and acceleration capabilities.

The Worst Years: 2020, 2021, 2022

While groundbreaking, the initial years of the Tesla Model Y—2020, 2021, and 2022—were marred by growing pains typical of new model introductions.

Early adopters reported issues with the autopilot and forward collision systems, notably “phantom braking,” where the vehicle would unexpectedly apply brakes without a clear obstacle.

The 2021 Tesla Model Y mainly saw complaints regarding power steering loss, a significant concern for driver safety and control.

Recalls during this period focused on autopilot failures, unexpected activation of automatic emergency braking, and issues with windshield defrosting capability.

These challenges reflect the iterative process Tesla employs in refining its vehicles, with the company actively addressing these concerns through software updates and hardware revisions.

However, the frequency and nature of these issues render these years less desirable for those seeking the most reliable and refined Tesla Model Y experience.

See NHTSA 2020, 2021, 2022 Tesla Model Y recalls and complaints.

Tesla Model Y Resale Values

See how Tesla Model Y’s average resale values have trended from 2020 to the present.

Tesla Model Y Average List Price 1


Which Tesla Model Y year is the best?

Our exploration of the Tesla Model Y’s model years shows that the 2023 and 2024 models emerge as the best years, offering the latest in Tesla’s electric vehicle technology and reliability.

Conversely, the initial years of 2020 to 2022 present more problems and might be best avoided by potential buyers seeking a trouble-free ownership experience.

What features do you value most in an electric SUV like the Tesla Model Y?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.