What just happened? The Model 3 has a pretty solid reputation when it comes to safety authorities putting the most affordable Tesla through its paces. The car recently got another pat on the back by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that awarded it the 2019 Top Safety Pick+ award in the midsize luxury category as the Model 3 managed to score a "good" rating in all six of the IIHS crash tests.
Crash and safety tests in laboratory conditions might not be everyone's cup of tea but they do provide a certain peace of mind in real-life situations knowing that the chances of survival in an accident will likely be better in a car that's scored well in such tests, rather than a car that doesn't (or hasn't been tested at all).
After going through a rough patch with Consumer Reports over reliability issues earlier this year, the Tesla Model 3 recently scored a major win for safety at the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The US-based non-profit has been testing cars for the past few decades and it gave the Model 3 its 2019 Top Safety Pick+ award in the midsize luxury car/4-door sedan category.
That's not to say it was the only car in its category, as the latest BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Lexus ES 350 share the accolade, albeit with specific trim levels as opposed to the Model 3 that comes with standard safety equipment on all trims. Secondly, the Model 3 is the only battery electric vehicle apart from Audi's e-tron to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award demonstrating that such cars are generally safe to drive.
"You don’t need to trade away safety if you want to choose an electric vehicle," said David Zuby, Chief Research Officer of IIHS in an interview. "The automakers are doing well, providing state-of-the-art safety technology in their vehicles."
Tesla also published a blog post citing this achievement and credited the car's rigid aluminum and steel passenger cabin, large frontal crumple zone, a high strength all-glass roof that was able to withstand more than 20,000 lbs of crushing force and its Automatic Emergency Braking system, among several other safety and design features.
The IIHS tested the car for multiple scenarios including small overlap frontal crash for driver and passenger, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength, headlights visibility and frontal crash prevention.
Although it's good news for Tesla, it remains to be seen if the company's celebratory blog lands it in legal trouble with the FTC again.