2019 Tesla Model 3 Crashes Like a Dream, IIHS Says

2019 tesla model 3 crashes like a dream iihs says

Tesla scored its first big win with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) this week after the group graced the 2019 Model 3 with its coveted Top Safety Pick+ award. “Vehicles with alternative powertrains have come into their own,” IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby said. “There’s no need to trade away safety for a lower carbon footprint when choosing a vehicle.”

The Audi e-Tron and hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo also qualified. But Tesla’s position as North America’s electric vehicle sales leader is held by a wide margin, making its crash-test results a tad more noteworthy.

According to the IIHS, Tesla’s most affordable model earned good ratings across the board for crashworthiness. Standard frontal crash prevention systems garnered a superior rating, avoiding collisions in both the 12 mph and 25 mph tests, and its only available headlights earn a good rating. It also held up structurally, including in the aftermath of the dreaded driver-side small overlap crash test. The IIHS noted 8 inches of intrusion along the lower door-hinge pillar, which it claimed posed a moderate risk of injury to a driver’s legs. Upon inspecting the vehicle and dummy, the research group recorded no other injuries.

Considering the amount of media attention thrown at the brand’s optional Autopilot system, with some accusing it of being unsafe and dependent upon misleading marketing tactics, we expected the IIHS to weigh in on the Model 3’s semi-autonomous features. But its assessment was not required to earn the unit a Top Safety Pick+ denotation. While crash avoidance systems were tested, performing well, Autopilot was not mentioned once by the outlet. Braking distance, which has also proven to be a contentious issue, went similarly unmentioned.

Honestly, it seems like an oversight. One bad headlight ranking is enough to dump a vehicle off its podium at the IIHS. In fact, Chevrolet’s Bolt received no special awards due to its lackluster headlamp performance. But it was already off pace to be considered for the group’s top honor.

From the IIHS:

The Bolt, a small car, also performed well in the IIHS crashworthiness tests. It earns good ratings in all of them except for the passenger-side small overlap test, in which it rates acceptable.

In that test, the passenger dummy’s movement was less than ideal. After hitting the frontal airbag during the test, the dummy’s head moved toward the gap between the frontal and side airbags, leaving it vulnerable to contact with hard parts of the vehicle interior.

The acceptable passenger-side rating would have been enough for the Bolt to earn a TOP SAFETY PICK award when equipped with optional front crash prevention, but the Bolt’s only available headlights earn a poor rating, primarily because of excessive glare to oncoming drivers.

Other vehicles have also been prohibited from receiving awards due to imperfect headlamps, making us feel like the IIHS should go bananas with its testing requirements (incorporating every aspect possible) or create a separate category for prevention/visibility. We know it’s a lot to ask for in exchange for a smidgen of clarity, but it would go a long way to distinguish physical crash performance from preventative safety.

Curious consumers can still do the research themselves, however. By hitting up the IIHS webpage and examining vehicles individually, web surfers will notice each category is broken down into “good,” “acceptable,” “marginal” or “poor” rankings. In the case of the Model 3, that will still showcase enviable results — with the only dark smudge being an acceptable rating for child seat ease of use.

[Images: IIHS]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 20, 2019

    Very last part of the video: Audi e-Tron has an electric-powered charging door? Boo and thumbs down. (Also opens the wrong way for snow and ice intrusion during charging.)

  • Akear Akear on Sep 20, 2019

    The Mustang and Tesla are probably the best selling American cars in Europe. I mean Europeans actually want to buy them! The US industry is not a lost cause after all.

  • 2ACL What tickles me is that the Bronco looks the business with virtually none of the black plastic cladding many less capable crossovers use.
  • IBx1 For all this time with the hellcat engine, everything they made was pathetic automatic scum save for the Challenger. A manual Durango, Grand Cherokee, Charger, 300C, et al would have been the real last gasp for driving enthusiasts. As it is, the party is long over.
  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.