Following the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) decision to award the 2021 Tesla Model 3 with pure vision Autopilot a Top Safety Pick+ rating, Consumer Reports has decided to reinstate its “Top Pick” rating for the entry-level sedan. This was confirmed by the magazine in a post on its official website.
Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center, noted that the magazine is restoring its recommendation for the Model 3 partly due to the IIHS’ updated results. The IIHS has conducted safety tests on the Model 3’s camera-based Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) systems, and the results were positive.
The Tesla Model 3 has regained its status as a Consumer Reports Top Pick after independent tests proved the effectiveness of its new camera-based automatic emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision warning (FCW) systems. 1/4 https://t.co/jxeeRa5tpg
— Consumer Reports (@ConsumerReports) June 29, 2021
“Given the IIHS’ recent evaluations of Tesla’s new camera-based system on its Model 3 and consistent with CR’s integration of IIHS ratings into our recommendations, CR is restoring the car’s Top Pick status,” Fisher said.
David Aylor, manager of active safety testing at the IIHS, noted that the performance of the Model 3 equipped with Tesla’s pure vision safety systems was similar to those exhibited by the vehicle when it still utilized a camera and radar to detect and avoid obstacles and other potential hazards on the road. “The performance seems to be similar for both systems,” Aylor remarked.
It should be noted that the Tesla Model Y with pure vision Autopilot does not have a Top Safety Pick+ designation. However, this is largely due to the fact that the all-electric crossover is yet to be formally tested by the IIHS. Fisher, for his part, suggested that Tesla could have done better. “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,” he said.
The Tesla Model 3 lost Consumer Reports’ “Top Pick” rating in May after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that FCW, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and two AEB functions — crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support — were temporarily delisted as standard features for Model 3s built on and after April 27, 2021. This also resulted in the IIHS temporarily removing the Model 3’s Top Safety Pick+ rating, pending its tests.
Fortunately for Tesla, it appears that its pure vision gambit is paying off. It takes a lot to thoroughly impress the IIHS, after all, but the agency seemed thoroughly satisfied with the safety performance of the Model 3’s pure vision system. With Tesla gathering more real-world data from its fleet, it seems certain that the company could maintain its reputation for safety despite its shift to a camera-only approach.
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