5 for the 3 Ain't Bad: Tesla Model 3 Gets 5-Star Crash Rating

18_Tesla_Model 3_CL.jpg 2018 Tesla Model 3 | photo by Christian Lantry

The Tesla Model 3 earned top marks in government crash tests, with sterling ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration across every category it tested. That’s for the sedan’s 2018 model year, a designation that aligns with the date of manufacture for Tesla models; the automaker prints that date on window stickers.

Related: How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2018 Tesla Model 3?

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2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
91,158 mi.
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29,851 mi.

The new electric sports sedan, which Tesla began delivering to owners in the second half of 2017, earned the maximum rating of five stars in every category, including a rollover-resistance evaluation and NHTSA’s side-impact pole test. So strong were the results that Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Thursday that once the agency posts final statistics, the “Model 3 has a shot at being [the] safest car ever tested.”

A Tesla spokesperson said the automaker didn’t have anything else to add “at the moment.” Asked for comment, spokespeople for NHTSA did not immediately respond to

2018 Tesla Model 3 | NHTSA image 2018 Tesla Model 3 | NHTSA image 2018 Tesla Model 3 | NHTSA image 2018 Tesla Model 3 | NHTSA image 2018 Tesla Model 3 | NHTSA image 2018 Tesla Model 3 | NHTSA image

NHTSA’s results apply to the rear-wheel-drive Model 3. All-wheel-drive versions have five stars in NHTSA’s side-impact tests, but no published frontal-impact scores as of this writing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, NHTSA’s private-industry counterpart, gave top marks to the 2018 Model 3’s automatic braking technology — a feature documented but not measured by NHTSA — but has no crash-test ratings otherwise. In August, IIHS noted mixed results when it tested several self-driving systems, including the Model 3’s Autopilot. Neither IIHS nor NHTSA has published crash-test scores for the 2017 Model 3.

Some variants of the Model S hatchback and Model X SUV have five-star NHTSA ratings, while others have no published results. The Model S has mixed ratings from IIHS; the Model X isn’t rated.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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