Tesla’s taking some heat again from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
They’ve once again called their cars the safest around, saying that they have “lowest probability of injury of all cars the safety agency has ever tested.” The NHTSA has pushed back against that claim saying that “a five-star rating is the highest safety rating a vehicle can achieve. NHTSA does not distinguish safety performance beyond that rating, thus there is no ‘safest’ vehicle among those vehicles achieving five-star ratings.” They also point out that the ratings shouldn’t be used to compare cars that have more than a 250 lb weight separation.
But ignoring all that and using Tesla’s logic for a moment, the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Score data (those are the scores used to calculate a star rating) shows an interesting model sitting in fourth place on the list. And even in fifth place.
The NHTSA changed up their crash testing in 2011. In 2013 they started releasing the VSS used to calculate the star rating. The Model 3 sits on top of that chart with a score of 0.38. The Model S is at 0.42. Then the X AWD at 0.43. Right behind that car, though, is a Ford. Not just any Ford, the Mustang GT350R. Yes, specifically the R. We’re not sure why, but it doesn’t look like the non-R was tested. Never fear, lesser Mustang owners, the 2018 Mustang is number five on the list at 0.47. Tied with the 2018 Accord sedan. Then, strangely, the 2015 Subaru Legacy.
So does this mean that Ford can claim the Mustang as the safest pony car ever? No. Because the NHTSA is pretty clear on that fact. Ford can advertise that the Mustang got a five-star rating. It can even point out that the Camaro did not get all five-star ratings. But if you use Tesla’s logic, then we know the “truth”.
A version of this story originally appeared on All Ford Mustangs.