Tesla Model Y Earns IIHS Top Safety Pick + Award Model 3 Updated
The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) announced today that the Tesla Model Y battery-electric crossover utility vehicle has earned the TOP SAFETY PICKPLUS designation based on its full testing. The rating applies only to Model Y vehicles built after April of 2021 according to IIHS*.
This is the second model of the Tesla four-vehicle portfolio to achieve this safety level. The Tesla Model 3 had previously earned this award. The Model S, now nearly out of production for many months, has been tested twice and has twice failed to earn any award level. The Model X, also no longer a Tesla priority for production, has not yet been tested.
Related Story: Tesla Model S At Bottom of IIHS Test Results – Again
In order to qualify for either of the Institute’s two awards, vehicles must earn good ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness evaluations. These include the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. The tested vehicle must also be available with a front crash prevention system that earns advanced or superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations. For the higher-tier TOP SAFETY PICK+, good or acceptable headlights must be standard across all trims.
In IIHS testing, the Model Y met all of the criteria for the “plus.” The Model Y comes standard with a front crash prevention system that earned superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. Its two available headlight systems also earn good and acceptable ratings.
Background Story - Why It Took IIHS So Long To Test The Tesla Model Y
This new award places the Model Y in good company. Other green crossover vehicles its size that have also earned the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award include the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Audi e-tron, and Volkswagen ID.4.
In addition to announcing the Model Y news, IIHS also updated its rating of the Tesla Model 3’s front crash prevention rating system. The system was recently updated using new types of sensing technology. Vehicles built after April 2021 now earn a superior rating, up from the prior rating of advanced.
IIHS safety ratings are widely respected in the automotive industry for multiple reasons. No other U.S.-market testing agency conducts the same rigorous crash test regimen, nor does any other agency in America conduct its crash testing at such high speeds. However, it is the active safety system testing and headlight ratings that really set IIHS apart. In related news, IIHS recently updated its side-impact test, making the test harder to earn a good rating on. IIHS data shows that the older (easier) test was the one the Model Y scored good on. The Mazda CX-5 was the first crossover to earn a score of good on the new test.
IIHS didn’t evaluate the old active safety system the pre-April 2021 Model Y vehicles came with, so it remains officially “unrated.”
Tesla showroom image by John Goreham. Model Y Top Safety Pick Plus Image courtesy of IIHS.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
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