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Tesla Model 3 regains Consumer Reports, IIHS awards with camera-based safety

CR and IIHS initially stripped the electric car of the awards following a change to Tesla's safety systems, but following tests they have been restored.

Tesla Model 3
And the awards are back.

In the closest the car industry gets to a soap opera, the Tesla Model 3 has been the focus of safety-related drama for the past month after the automaker said radar will no longer be included in the EV. Instead, Tesla announced in May the car would move to a camera-based system. In turn, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Consumer Reports dinged the car, dropping their "Top Safety Pick Plus" and "Top Pick" designations, respectively.

The Model 3's award cabinet is now restocked, because the IIHS and CR liked what they saw from the camera-based system. The safety body confirmed with Roadshow on Wednesday the Model 3 is once again a Top Safety Pick Plus after wrapping up tests with Tesla's new system. CR reported the results and reinstated its Top Pick designation, too. Despite the changes, CR never pulled its "Recommended" rating, however.

The new system operates automatic emergency braking and forward-collision alert systems, which at first left both CR and the IIHS uneasy. It was unclear if certain cars would not feature the active safety systems as Tesla said in its own announcement some would be disabled at first. Though, to be clear, Tesla's announcement only mentioned lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning and the controversial Summon feature were likely affected. Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment, so we have zero clue what actually went on here.

CR's Senior Director of the Auto Test Center, Jake Fisher, said the publication is glad to see the independent tests, and that the safety gear still works well. "Ideally consumers would not have been in a holding pattern, waiting to find out if the car they purchased has vital safety features," he added.

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