If you want to test vehicles in winter conditions during what we in the northern hemisphere consider summer months, you need to go to a place like Wanaka, New Zealand, where the chance of snow between June and August is very high. Tesla took its entire lineup of vehicles to the country this summer for testing and also developing the Track Mode for its Model Y crossover.

Thanks to the cars’ over-the-air update capability, changes can be quickly made, implemented and then tested in real-world conditions. And even though Tesla had its entire lineup (except for the Semi) in New Zealand, it sounds like working on the Model Y Track Mode was the main point of focus.

This mode was introduced for the Model Y via the 2022 Holiday Update, which not only allows for more engaging handling, but it also allows owners to tailor and save up to 20 driving profiles that can be used in different scenarios. The holiday update also added Steam support with thousands of games for the refreshed Model S and Model X, it added Apple Music and made plenty of other smaller changes and improvements.

The Model Y became the first taller Tesla to get a track mode – the larger Model X, for instance, doesn’t have it, not even in Plaid guise. This now makes the Model X the only Tesla vehicle that can’t be had with track mode, probably because it is the biggest and heaviest vehicle in the lineup and the people who buy it may not be as interested in spirited driving or taking their vehicle to the track.

The Model Y is considerably lighter than the Model X and much more maneuverable, and testers seemed really confident that Track Mode would really transform how you could drive the vehicle in special conditions or on the track. For instance, you can now set the vehicle up so as to be really tail-happy, which seems like the perfect combination when driving on a closed course covered in snow, like the one they had in Wanaka.

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