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SAFETY | 6 out of 10
Standard safety features on the Tesla Roadster include antilock brakes and traction control. Notably, side airbags are unavailable.
The 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 hasn’t been crash-tested by either the NHTSA or the IIHS, nor is it likely to be. Its production volume is low, and production will end within 18 months.
So it’s hard to know how its metal frame and carbon-fiber body panels will hold up. Unfortunately, in the interest of saving weight, the Roadster’s designers decided to omit some now-standard safety gear.
Its safety features, like those of other low-volume vehicles, lie more on the active side than the passive. It does include traction control and tire-pressure monitoring system. Its four-wheel disc brakes include anti-lock braking software, but there’s hardly a new car sold that doesn’t.
The 2011 Roadster has two airbags, one each for the driver and passenger. But due to a low-volume vehicle exemption granted by the NHTSA, the passenger bag doesn’t include sensors in the seat that detects the weight of the seat occupant. That means that deployment strength can’t be adjusted accordingly. Side airbags? Not offered.
Rearward visibility is minimal, with a low seating position, a high tail, and very thick pillars. New for 2011 is an optional reversing camera that sends its image to the 7-inch touchscreen display panel in the dashboard.
You might also consider the Roadster’s Valet Mode to be a safety feature. When invoked, neither parking-lot attendants nor teenagers of any age can enjoy the Tesla’s considerable performance.
There are no third-party crash-test results for the 2011 Tesla Roadster, nor are there likely to be, so use its handling to help steer you away from peril.