For all the bad press Tesla’s move to a cameras-only got when it was announced, it actually seems the automaker was right - Pure Vision is better than what the manufacturer used before, and now this change has allowed the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to award the Tesla Model Y its highest safety distinction.

Only Model Ys built after April 2021 get the Top Safety Pick Plus award, while vehicles built before are still recommended, but they just lose the plus. The IIHS points out that

Following a conversion to a camera only system, the standard front crash prevention system earns superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. The two available headlight systems earn good and acceptable ratings. 

Separately, the standard front crash prevention system on 2021-22 Tesla Model 3 vehicles built after April 2021 also earns a superior rating in both crash avoidance tests, following a software update. Vehicles built earlier earn an advanced rating in the vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluation.

Tesla Model Y IIHS Crash Test

The Model Y got Good ratings in all categories tested, except for Headlights where it got both a Good rating for the lights fitted to the Performance and Acceptable for those equipping the Long Range model. It was also rated Acceptable for its LATCH child seat anchor ease of use, but still got the top Superior rating for frontal crash prevention.

The IIHS also released a video showcasing the Model Y’s performance in the difficult front small overlap crash test. The video shows how it just slides off the barrier, leaving the passenger cell intact and it performed just as well in all the other simulated crashes.

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