The Model 3 temporarily lost its CR Top Pick designation in May, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that FCW, lane departure warning (LDW), and two AEB functions—crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support—were not available on Model 3 vehicles built on or after April 27, 2021. The IIHS also removed the Top Safety Pick+ designation for Tesla Vision-equipped Model 3s built before May 1, 2021, at the same time.
We asked Tesla whether any vehicles were delivered without functional FCW or AEB, or what information the automaker gave NHTSA in order for the agency to make those changes to its website, but Tesla did not answer our questions. In May, Tesla’s website stated that “cars with Tesla Vision may be delivered with some features temporarily limited or inactive” but did not provide a comprehensive list of what those features were.
When the IIHS tested a newer Model 3 with Tesla Vision earlier this month, it awarded the vehicle a top Superior rating in a test of whether it could avoid or lessen a collision with another vehicle, and an acceptable Advanced rating in tests of whether it could avoid or lessen the impact of striking a pedestrian.
These results are the same as those the IIHS got when it tested an earlier Model 3 with radar, says David Aylor, manager of active safety testing at the IIHS. “The performance seems to be similar for both systems,” he told CR. The similar Tesla Model Y also uses a camera-based system but does not have a Top Safety Pick+ designation because it has yet to be tested, Aylor says.
“While we are very glad to see the system performs well in preventing crashes, ideally consumers would not have been in a holding pattern, waiting to find out if the car they purchased has vital safety features,” says CR’s Fisher.