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Watch the Top EVs Get Crushed In Crash Test Videos

Some of your favorite EVs received Top Safety awards.

Rivian R1S 11HS crash test video
IIHS / Rivian

We’re still waiting for Tesla to release the rest of its Cybertruck crash test video, but in the meantime, you don’t have to wait to see the latest Rivian R1S and other top EVs get crushed in all their glory.

This week, Rivian announced the all-new 2023 R1S electric SUV was awarded the highest “Top Safety Pick+” status from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,) joining its already popular Rivian R1T electric pickup.

Electric vehicles are fun, exciting, and most of them are really fast or have fancy new designs. However, the most important feature is safety, and many of the top EVs rank pretty high in crash tests.

IIHS Vehicle Safety Ratings

IIHS 2023 safety rating criteria.

The IIHS updated its requirements and testing in 2023 with strict side impact changes, requires better headlights, and updated the passenger avoidance at night guidelines. As a result, only 48 vehicles (so far) have received top awards. Under 10 EVs received top scores in 2022, but so far in 2023, we’re off to a good start.

While the IIHS does all sorts of tests, including frontal crash tests, side impact tests, roof strength, head restraints and seatbelts, frontal crash prevention, headlight evaluations, seatbelt warning reminders, and LATCH evaluations, only a few are hand-selected to determine a top score.

To receive a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award, vehicles must receive a “Good” or “Acceptable” rating in several critical tests, as detailed above. These include driver and passenger impact tests, front collisions, headlights, and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention software.

Rivian R1T Electric Truck Crash Test Video

While testing is ongoing, and the IIHS isn’t able to test every make, model, and year, it does its best to keep up with popular vehicles.

So far, the Top Safety Pick+ EV winners include the all-electric Rivian R1T, the 2023 Rivian R1S, Subaru Solterra, Tesla Model Y, and Volkswagen ID.4, to name a few. Then, awards also went to the Lexus NX 450h+ hybrid, Volvo XC90 Recharge, Toyota RAV4 Prime, and the Toyota Tundra Crew Cab hybrid.

In the violent video above, you’ll see the Rivian R1T taking severe damage during the front driving side overlapping test. However, it still scored very high across the board, earning the highest “+” rating.

The IIHS sure likes to make these videos dramatic, with slow-motion capture and everything. Still, it’s fascinating to see the designated crumple zones help transfer the kinetic energy to the strongest area of a vehicle to ensure passenger safety. Yes, specific areas on modern cars are designed to crush easier than other locations to keep you safe.

Tesla Model Y IIHS Safety Test

Tesla’s 4-door Model Y SUV has consistently ranked high in IIHS tests. It received high regard in 2022, and the new 2023 Model Y received a similar Top Safety Pick+ award.

For those wondering, Tesla’s Model 3 sedan usually scores relatively high, too, but currently, the Model Y is the only Tesla with an award for 2023. That said, both American-made EVs received a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA.

Interestingly, the roof-strength test is no longer part of the Top Safety Pick criteria. I’d be interested to see how some of these heavy electric vehicles do in that regard once upside down.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Meets a Brick Wall

The 2021-22 and 2022-2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E consistently ranks near the top, although it doesn’t hit the highest + rating.

Still, the Mach-E received a Top Safety Pick several years running, as long as it’s an upgraded model with better headlights. On base models, the headlight and pedestrian tests are low enough to prevent it from receiving an award. The updated standards for 2023 require every trim level to pass the headlight test to receive an award.

Rivian R1S SUV Loses a Wheel

As we teased at the top of the page, here’s the official Rivian R1S IIHS crash test video. If you look closely, that front driver-side wheel disappeared really fast. It’s a bit frightening.

The R1S SUV received the highest safety award possible from the IIHS. The new Rivian R1S is stylish, blazing fast, luxurious, has plenty of range, and is apparently super safe. Now if only it wasn’t so expensive and sold out.

For those wondering, the regular Ford F-150 received a Top Safety Pick Award, but we don’t have a crash test video, nor does it mention it the award extends to Ford’s Lightning EV.

Tesla Model S Goes Squish!

Unfortunately, the IIHS’s most recent crash test video of Tesla’s Model S is from the 2017 model year. I hoped to see a video of the Model S Plaid or an updated variant. Almost every Tesla Model S scored well but always received a low grade in the headlights department.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 EV Gets Crushed

The 2022-23 Hyundai Ioniq 5 four-door crossover SUV also receives high regard. It was awarded an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ last year and received “Good” scores across the board. Again, it looks like select trim levels have headlights that only score as “Acceptable,” but it still managed to bring home a top safety award before the updated guidelines.

Hyundai and KIA continue to release impressive-looking electric vehicles, and we’re excited to see how the EV9 and other models do in these tests later this year.

Volkswagen ID.4 EV Has Solid Side Airbags

Another popular electric vehicle scoring high on crash tests is the Volkswagen ID.4. While the video above is from the 2021 model, it’s consistently ranked near the top of the pack.

The new 2023 Volkswagen ID.4, made in America and has much to offer, no longer qualifies for the updated Federal EV tax credit. That said, it’s an excellent vehicle that received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award this year.

While it’s true that electric vehicles weigh far more than their gas-powered siblings, which has some safety experts concerned, many come with additional body strength and are plenty safe.

IIHS President David Harkey said earlier this year, “We’re confident that the number of winners will continue to grow throughout the year.” As you can see from the various videos and awards above, many of the top EVs on the road today received high marks, and we’re expecting more throughout 2023 and into 2024.

It’ll be interesting to see how well some of the more affordable electric vehicles coming in 2023 do in these tests. I’m talking about the 2023 Chevy Equinox EV, Jeep Avenger, and others. Find out when we do by signing up for our free daily newsletter.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »