Model Y And Off-Road Travel Explained – Read This First

Model Y And Off-Road Travel Explained - Read This First

Tesla is certainly known far and wide for its innovative approach to electric vehicles. Their advancements in the industry are pushing the boundaries for how consumers view electric cars. While Tesla offers plenty of options and styles, does their Modely Y do well offroad?

The Model Y does well in off-road environments. With Tesla’s new “off-road assist,” the vehicle performs better than any other offering from the electric car giant. But, since this is the first car to include the feature, there are some hiccups.

Before you make a purchase of the Model Y as a dedicated outdoor vehicle, there are some things you should know about. While the car comes packed with all kinds of gizmos and software additions, it certainly isn’t the right vehicle for outdoor travel. It can, in a pinch, perform, but don’t expect perfection. To learn more about the Model Y and off-road travel, read on!

Does Model Y Do Well Off-Road?

Taking a quick glance at the Model Y, you might not think this crossover-style car is ready for outdoor use. Much like other Tesla cars, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Model Y. This just happens to be the first vehicle Tesla has introduced with a dedicated “Off-Road Assist” mode.

Currently, only the Model Y features off-road assist, although Tesla’s new CyberTruck will certainly sport the feature. But what does this feature do when you turn it on? Tesla says that the off-road assist will help keep the wheels spinning and balance torque. It does this with both the rear and front motors to optimize traction.

The idea is to make the Model T home in all kinds of environments like:

  • Deepwater
  • Icy roads
  • Challenging slopes and grades
  • Muddy and wet

Off-Road assist is designed to optimize driving in difficult environments. The feature improves traction on rough and even soft surfaces. In these situations, most vehicles will lose traction on one side of the car or the other. With Tesla’s off-road assist, the accelerator pedal provides gradual torque. This helps the car crawl at low speeds.

Does the Model Y Do Well in Snow?

With all these features packed into the Model Y, you may be wondering how it does in snowy situations. Well, with the off-road assist, the Model Y can handle plenty of snow without any issue. If you are in a colder environment, you can rely on the vehicle to get you where you need to go and sustainably.

Is the Model Y the perfect snowy weather vehicle? Certainly not, but it can handle icy and snowy situations with ease if need be. This is because of the way the wheel motors intelligently distribute torque, which is essential on icy roads. Without the intelligent torque control, your tires would spin out and you’d be stuck in the snow. This is an issue with other Tesla vehicles and certainly an issue that Tesla owners gripe about.

The Model Y is Tesla’s first attempt at making a vehicle that can handle these types of environments, so there is a bit of a learning curve. Users have tested the Model Y in plenty of situations, including snow. One Model Y owner put his vehicle through the wringer in eight inches of snow.

Here are a few things they found out:

  • The Model Y did well. No stalling or stopping.
  • Ground clearance was an issue. The vehicle is a bit too low to the ground.
  • The front of the Model Y acted as a plow, slowing down the vehicle.
  • The automatic wipers can be an issue in snowy and muddy terrain.

Should You Take Your Model Y Off-Road?

While you can take your Model Y off-road, it’s not necessarily the perfect vehicle for the job. With this crossover, Tesla seems to be attempting to make a good all-around vehicle. One that can handle a myriad of situations well, but maybe not perfectly. Tesla certainly made some advancements with the “off-road assist,” but there is still some room for improvement.

That being said, it does fairly well in certain situations. You might not want to take your Model Y rock climbing, but if you need to go off-road to reach your weekend get-a-way, you shouldn’t worry. Even in particularly tough and slippery terrain, the off-road assist does wonders keeping traction on wheels, which is the name of the game for off-road.

The electric crossover can do a lot, and you shouldn’t feel bad taking the wheels into some difficult terrain. Should you search this out? Probably not. Keep in mind that this is a feature that is built into the software of the vehicle. That is to say, the vehicle itself isn’t necessarily built for off-road use.

Tesla parts can get pricey. Since part of what makes the car so light is the molded aluminum panels, replacing them can get expensive. These are the parts that are most likely to crack, dent, or bend in off-road situations. So if you’ve got the dough, maybe a dedicated off-road trip is warranted. If not, keep the off-road time sparse.

What Can You Do to Make the Model Y Better Off-Road?

While the Model Y can take to the streets and the dirt, you can take some steps to better improve your performance outdoors. Many Model Y owners have already done this, and with great results. Since the base vehicle only sports the off-road assist feature, you need to match that with additional parts, accessories, and modifications.

Adding certain parts to your vehicle can help the car perform better in off-road environments. Since this is not anything new — many non-off road cars have been modified in this way — you can easily find the parts you need to modify your Model Y.

These include:

  • All-season tires
  • Lift kits
  • Hardier rims

The above parts are just a few simple modifications you can make to your Model Y to help the vehicle perform off-road. Since these are the areas that see the most wear when off-roading, replacing them is a no-brainer.

Will the Off-Road Assist Get Better with Software Updates?

Tesla’s vehicles are jam-packed with all kinds of technological bells and whistles. Their off-road assist is just another one of these software advances. Since it only really affects the motors and the way the car delivers torque, it could, in theory, get better with time.

Since the company is all about improving their cars with software updates, you can probably bet that the off-road assist will also improve. The upcoming CyberTruck is set to introduce a truly usable utility vehicle to Tesla’s lineup. With it might come improvements to other vehicles, like the Model Y.

But nothing is set in stone, and Tesla has kept certain software secrets close to their chest. Where the off-road feature goes from here is unknown. But, if Tesla’s track record is any indication of where we are going, you can probably get on some improvements in the future.

Wrapping Up

The Model Y is a great addition to the Tesla lineup. This electric crossover is designed to be the perfect all-around car. It is as comfortable in the streets as it is in the mud. Tesla has added an “off-road assist” feature that allows the car to perform in tough situations. Add a few easy modifications to your Model Y, and you can handle almost any terrain and weather!


The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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