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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
The 2012 Tesla Model S hasn't yet been crash-tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Given the low production volumes in its first year or so, it may be a while before that happens.
One concern expressed by many is the optional rear-facing sixth and seventh seats, which hold only small children and come with racing-style four-point safety harnesses. Their location in the rear cargo bay--close to the rear bumper, tailgate, and roof--may make rear-impact protection a particular challenge, but we'll have to wait and see.
Outward visibility from the Model S driver's seat is good to the front and sides, but the steeply angled rear window glass offers little more than a slit in the rear-view mirror.
The Model S comes with eight airbags, and the usual suite of expected electronic safety systems, including traction control, anti-lock brakes, and the newly mandatory tire-pressure monitoring system. It does not, however offer adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning or correction, or crash-avoidance braking systems.
The 2012 Tesla Model S has the usual complement of airbags and safety systems, but has not been crash-tested.