In early 2022, I was just a year into Model 3 ownership when we were hit by a driver running a red light. The car did its job, applying extra emergency braking and saving several angles of video evidence. Luckily, after heading to the local ER for an assessment, all the humans ended up being fine – but the car was a total loss.

Rear collision between two cars

With an opportunity to purchase another vehicle, I opted to shop for a Model Y. Interestingly, the Model Y was my original Tesla preference, but when I was first looking, they were at the beginning of their production run and I wasn’t impressed with the build quality on my test drive. That’s why we ended up with a tried-and-true Model 3 instead.

With Model Y delivery dates four to six months out, I was in a bit of a conundrum. Tesla informed me that cars are added to inventory every day for various reasons, including when people don’t pick up their preconfigured vehicle within the allotted three-day window. So, for about a week, I called Tesla to see whether a Model Y had popped into inventory. On one such call, I learned a Model Y Performance was available about three hours away from me in Stockton, California. I had picked up an old BMW from a friend to tide me over, so I was able to head out to Stockton to trade in the Bimmer toward my new Model Y.

I’m happy to report that the Model Y was an excellent upgrade for me and my household – for various reasons.

First, the extra cargo space turns the Model 3 concept into a utilitarian vehicle that can be used in far more situations. Although the Model Y is just about two inches longer than the Model 3, it is 1.6 inches wider, and 1.3 inches higher off the ground. Inside, the Model Y has just about an inch more headroom, but 5 inches more legroom for the rear seats. In terms of cargo, though, the five-seat Model Y has a ton more: 34.3-cubic-feet volume vs. 22.9-cubic-feet. The same is not true of the seven-seat model.

What this means is I can fit a collapsed e-Bike and an intact road bike in the back of my Model Y, seats down, with room for luggage in the larger under-floor compartments and the front trunk (also known as the “frunk“).

A packed trunk, complete with dog

The next upgrade came in the form of ride height and comfort. I guess I’m getting old, because the seating position of sedans has been causing me back pain that they never seemed to in the past. Despite the Model Y using the same seats as the Model 3, they are mounted several inches higher off the floor, creating a more upright seating position. I went from being able to drive just an hour before back pain would kick in, to driving three or more hours without any discomfort – just from being more upright. The downside to the ride height is that you feel more like you’re riding “on” the car instead of “in” the car, but that’s a tradeoff I’m more than happy to make.

Aside from that, I’ve been enjoying the upgraded Ryzen infotainment chip in the Model Y, which spruced up the responsiveness of the touch screen and navigation. The extra power moving from a Long Range Model 3 to a Model Y Performance is noticeable. While the extra cabin volume of the Model Y causes slightly more road noise than the Model 3, I can’t say it’s much of a bother.

I suspect these family-friendly features of the Model Y – space, ride height, ease of use – are what has launched it into the top-selling spot among Tesla vehicles. Make sure to try out both the 3 and the Y if you’re in the market for a new Tesla!