Both high-tech EVs received a full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP testing but the Tesla SUV edged ahead of Porsche’s super-saloon with a stronger performance in key categories.
With a 98 per cent score in adult occupant protection (AOP) and 94 per cent in safety assist – the category which assesses safety technology – the Tesla Model X is one of the safest cars tested by Euro NCAP this year. The Porsche Taycan meanwhile achieved 85 per cent in AOP and 83 per cent in Safety Assist.
Devil is in the details
Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research and Euro NCAP board member, commented: “The devil’s in the detail when you compare the Euro NCAP assessments of the Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan. Both are safe cars, but the Tesla Model X is the stand-out.
“Its 94 per cent safety assist score matches the result achieved by the Tesla Model 3. This remains the best result in the category by some margin, although the 83 per cent score achieved by the Porsche Taycan is now the second highest safety assist score this year.
“Tesla has long touted its cars as some of the safest on the market and given the performance of the Tesla Model 3 and Model X in Euro NCAP testing, they might just be right. However, the brand’s tendency to overstate the autonomous capability of its driver support systems remains a concern. These systems are leaders in crash avoidance, but drivers should not be encouraged to over-rely on them and must stay attentive at all times.”
Away from the big-budget EVs there were strong five-star results for models from Audi, Ford, Peugeot, Renault, Škoda and Subaru but disappointing scores for Jeep and Volkswagen.
The Jeep Renegade became the first car in 2019 to receive a three-star rating. It is the latest model from the FCA group to perform poorly after the Jeep Wrangler earned just one star last year and the Fiat Panda and Punto became the first cars in NCAP’s history to get a zero-star rating.
The Volkswagen Sharan scored four stars overall but testing exposed a serious flaw. Despite an overall strong performance it was penalised for its performance in the side pole test. In testing the rear door detached during the impact, presenting a risk of occupant ejection.
“Although the Volkswagen Sharan is an older design, families will still choose it. A structural failure of this magnitude in impact testing is disappointing,” commented Avery.