The Tesla Y Model comes with an off-road assistance mode, making it seem like a great option for those tough terrains, but the ground clearance leaves some drivers questioning whether it’s ideal for off-roading. The Y Model started hitting the roads in March 2020 and is often described as the popular Model 3’s larger counterpart.
The Tesla Model Y has a ground clearance of 6.6 inches, which is 1.1 inches more than the Model 3 sedan. If you want to take the sustainability and luxury of the Tesla Y off the pavement and onto rougher terrain, there are some Tesla-specific suspension kits that increase the ground clearance.
Without proper ground clearance, you can expose the underbelly of your car to unnecessary scrapes and tears. While Tesla’s are still predominantly catered towards the city’s roads, with the Model Y off-road assist feature and an increased ground clearance, more options open up for handling tougher terrain. Read on to find out how to increase the Model Y ground clearance.
How to Increase Your Model Y Ground Clearance
According to Tesla, the “Model Y is capable in rain, snow, mud and off-road.”
You’ll be ready to hit that dirt road without having to worry about bumping and scraping against the ground.
A few options for increasing the ground clearance of the Tesla Y are:
- Install taller/larger tires and rims. This will provide more space between the road and the bottom of the car, providing a slight lift. This will also aid in the tires’ ability to absorb shock, enabling them to be better equipped for rougher terrains. You can even purchase tires that are designed to have a deeper grip and thus bring more stability while driving through rockier roads.
- Install a lifted suspension. A suspension lift creates more space between the frame of the car and wheels, pulling the wheels further down. This modification can also provide the room necessary to install larger tires
While these modifications are relatively simple to install, it’s always best to leave mechanical work to professionals. You can even purchase the materials yourself, choosing which kit will work best for you, and bring it to an auto shop to install for you.
Why Is Ground Clearance Important?
Ground clearance is the amount of free space between the road and the bottom portion of a vehicle. Many people who predominantly drive through cities or highways may not find ground clearance particularly important when choosing a car.
The more ground clearance a vehicle has, the more space the vehicle’s wheels will have to absorb shocks like when driving over rocky roads, muddy creeks, or other objects on the road that the car has to move through.
Some reasons for needing more ground clearance could be:
- Rough weather conditions like snow
- Steep hills or driveways
- Rockier terrain/dirt roads
- Muddy slopes or creeks
- Optimize accessibility
We’ve all been on the occasional road trip to the beach, camping excursion, or taken that quick shortcut through the dirt path to get home quicker. These are the times when a bit more ground clearance comes in handy. More space between the bottom of the car and the road makes for a smoother driving experience over larger rocks, twigs, creeks, and muddy areas.
Even in large cities, there are the occasional gravel roads and parking lots, grassy hills with steep slopes.
However, for all these benefits of more ground clearance, it also means that the vehicles center of gravity is further from the earth. This can make the chances of rolling over higher.
The driving experience of a car with more ground clearance also might not be as aerodynamic or smooth. Larger vehicles like SUV’s and trucks are designed to handle those tougher terrains, often at a slower speed and designed to withstand more wear and tear than your average sedan.
Ground clearance is an important factor to consider depending on where you typically plan to drive your vehicle and what sort of driving experience you prefer.
While the Tesla Y isn’t usually considered an SUV, the average ground clearance of an SUV is between 7 – 8 inches. While the difference in height between sedans like the Model 3 and crossovers or hatchbacks like the Model Y is only a few inches, that little space can make a difference.
Benefits of More Ground Clearance
While ground clearance used to be an important concern mainly for drivers who go off-roading, with crossover models becoming more and more popular over recent decades, even drivers who mainly stick to city highways have discovered they prefer a crossover with more ground clearance.
Some popular benefits of more ground clearance include:
- Increased height means better driver visibility. This is also a fantastic plus in terms of safety without compromising efficiency.
- Easier to climb in and out of the driver’s seat. Hoping upwards into the driver seat can be much easier on the joints and head than ducking down into a car lower to the ground.
- Smoother driving experience. Fewer scrapes and bumps along the road make for a more relaxed driving experience.
A few inches more of ground clearance can make a vehicle more accessible, better equipped for steep hills and driveways, and more equipped to handle rougher terrain than your average city road or highway.
While the Tesla Y has less ground clearance than your average SUV, it’s definitely targeted at those who are loyal to the Tesla brand and want a taller and more spacious option than the Model 3.
The Tesla Y meets the needs of crossover drivers, whose preference for the feel of an SUV with the efficiency of a sedan has made this type of vehicle increasingly popular.
Crossovers provide that perfect balance between the benefits of a sedan and an SUV. They have the interior space and efficiency that make them such versatile options for many different types of drivers.
Model Y Also Comes with Off-Road Assist
As a crossover, the Model Y was built with light off-roading as a valuable option for drivers. Drivers who require more legroom are often traveling with kids or larger groups and plan to go on more adventurous excursions that the Model 3 wasn’t as equipped to handle.
Therefore, along with an increased amount of ground clearance, the Model Y also comes with the Off-Road Assist feature. This accommodation is meant to make the car more suitable for those off-roading moments.
Here is what the off-road assist feature does:
- Allows the wheels to spin
- Optimizes traction by balancing the torque between the motors
- Balances the vehicles traction when one side loses while the other side retains traction
- The accelerator pedal provides increased gradual torque (useful for low-speed crawling over larger rocky terrain)
All of these settings are designed to make those off-roading moments gentler on the car and provide a smoother driving experience.
This new feature is particularly useful for those gravelly dirt roads that many drivers naturally encounter during road trips. We all know about those occasional handy shortcuts through dirt roads—the Model Y off-road assist makes these paths way more enjoyable and less rough on the car.
Model Y Brings Efficiency and Function Together
Tesla drivers value the sleek style of the brand without sacrificing their need for sustainability. One thing about larger SUV’s that people often use for rougher terrain is that they aren’t always the best for the environment.
They often require more gas and get fewer miles per gallon than smaller and shorter coups. The sustainability of traditional SUV’s also doesn’t compare to electric vehicles like the ones Tesla has made a name for.
There are plenty of videos circulating online of Tesla Y drivers taking their vehicles for a spin through the dirt, mud, and rocks to show that it can handle those off-road environments. These examples are making a huge difference in the way people perceive the capabilities of electric vehicles.
While Tesla’s have often been targeted towards city drivers who can find easy access to a charging station and smooth roads, the Tesla Y model shows that the brand intends to create a car for every type of driver.
Should I Take the Tesla Y Off-Roading?
While a suspension lift and other modifications that spark your fancy can make the Tesla Y more off-roading ready, the car is not ultimately designed to take to extremely harsh terrain.
You don’t want the car to get banged up too badly as the motors and battery can become easily exposed on the underside of the car.
For the occasional shortcut through a dirt path, steep driveway, or lightly rocky terrain to the campsite, you shouldn’t have any problems. But make sure not to push the car too much. The Tesla Y is versatile and can handle rougher terrain than the Model 3, but by no means is it a hardcore off-roading vehicle.
If you’re eagerly waiting for a seriously decked out off-roading option from Tesla, you’ll most likely have to wait until the Cybertruck is released. This vehicle looks as futuristic as it can get and is apparently designed to handle those extremely tough terrains and meet the needs of traditional truck drivers while maintaining that luxury feels that Tesla is known for.
Unless you’ve made some serious modifications to your Tesla Y, experts don’t recommend getting it beat up too badly on extremely rough off-roading excursions.
The Tesla Y ground clearance and the enhanced off-road assist feature bring us miles closer to space where sustainability, style, and function no longer have to be at odds with each other. Each new Tesla model offers more and more versatility to meet drivers’ needs while also prioritizing sustainability.
Before the Tesla Y, drivers often had to choose between a spacious SUV/crossover with less efficiency or smaller coups with better gas mileage. However, the Tesla Y finally gives drivers a sustainable option that can also handle those family camping trips, mountainous terrains, dirt roads, and more.