Tesla Model Y vs Audi Q4 e-tron: safety and reliability

The Q4 e-tron boasts a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating and the Tesla Model 3’s similarly high score is a positive sign of what to expect from the Model Y

Audi Q4 e-tron twin test

In September 2021, the Q4 e-tron received a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating – just like its sister electric SUVs, the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV. The Audi was awarded a 93% score for adult protection, 89% for child protection and 80% for safety assistance.

What’s also reassuring in the amount of standard safety kit on the Audi: all Q4 e-trons get cruise control, lane-departure warning, rear parking sensors and road-sign recognition. Other gadgets, such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, are part of the £650 Safety Package Plus, while adaptive cruise control is in the £1,425 Assistance Package Advanced. All those features come as standard on the Tesla.

At the time of writing, the Tesla Model Y has not been through Euro NCAP testing, however, the very closely related Tesla Model 3 did receive a five-star score when it was put through the industry body’s battery of tests in 2019, so we expect only good things.

Especially because, like all Teslas, the Model Y comes with the company’s Autopilot system, comprising a suite of cameras and sensors that constantly scan your surroundings and relay images on the touchscreen, while offering advanced cruise control functions, most of which you're able to unlock as post-purchase options. 

The standard adaptive system is effective, but Auto Steer still needs a little work. While it manages to detect traffic cones and even the faintest road markings pretty easily, it also picks out overbanding and other scars on the tarmac that can cause confusion. Plus, upgrading to Enhanced Autopilot sets you back £3,400, while opting for Full Self-Driving Capability adds £6,800 to the price tag.

While the technology on offer in the Tesla is impressive, the company’s reputation for build quality simply isn’t as strong as Audi’s. That being said, the Model Y we drove only had a minor rattle from the rear headrests, which was remedied by lowering them back into place, and overall it felt solid, with no sign of the inconsistent shut lines or mismatched panels that have occasionally been seen on cars from the firm.

In the 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, Tesla finished third in the list of best carmakers, with owners praising practicality, powertrains and acceleration. They also noted that overall build quality could be improved and the reported fault rate was high. Audi finished 23rd of the top 30 carmakers, with its highest rated model in 22nd position out of 75 on the list of best new cars to own. Meanwhile the Tesla Model 3 was ranked 18th.

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