Sedans & Coupes

Does the 2021 S60 Uphold Volvo’s Superior Safety Reputation?

Volvo goes to extreme heights to ensure its vehicles are some of the safest on the market. But does the Swedish automaker’s stellar safety reputation extend to its smallest model, the 2021 Volvo S60?

The S60 is an extremely desirable luxury compact sedan. It displays a sophisticated design, features supple interior surfaces, and comes with a long list of cutting-edge technologies.

However, shoppers want to ensure the 2021 Volvo S60 is a safe vehicle before signing the dotted line, especially because of its diminutive size. That’s why we’re taking an in-depth look at the S60’s safety features and crash-test ratings.

How safe is the 2021 Volvo S60?

A black 2021 Volvo S60 driving on a road, emerging from the shadows
2021 Volvo S60 emerging from the shadows | Photo via Volvo

The third-generation S60 debuted for the 2019 model year. And while it sounds like a good idea to buy a used model to save some money, you might want to reconsider. 

Volvo added blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert as standard features for 2021. These vital safety systems alert drivers of vehicles or objects they otherwise wouldn’t see.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Volvo S60 features a long list of other standard driver-assistance technologies. These include automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, oncoming-collision mitigation, and road departure mitigation. 

Plus, S60 drivers will have more situational awareness due to its rearview camera and traffic sign recognition system.

It’s evident that Volvo’s reputation as the safest automaker in the industry isn’t overstated. The manufacturer makes most of its advanced safety systems available on the S60’s base trim via packages.

Buyers can add the Advanced package ($2,100) to gain adaptive cruise control, a surround-view parking camera, and a head-up display. Best of all, it also comes with Volvo’s Pilot Assist semiautonomous driving system.

Meanwhile, the Premium package ($1,700) adds front parking sensors and a navigation system. Notably, these add-ons are either cheaper or standard equipment on higher trims.

Other available safety features include reverse automatic emergency braking and parallel and perpendicular parking assist.

Did the S60 win any safety awards?

There’s no denying that the 2021 Volvo S60 has an awe-inspiring assortment of driver-assistance technologies. But do these features translate to real-world safety? Thankfully, industry experts can evaluate this, along with a vehicle’s structural integrity, by conducting crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent organization that assesses a wide range of new models every year. The 2021 Volvo S60 excelled in the IIHS’s analysis, earning the organization’s highest designation of being a Top Safety Pick+.

The IIHS gave the S60 top scores in all six of its crashworthiness tests and deemed its front-crash systems to be “superior.” The only blemish on the S60’s safety record was its LATCH system, which the organization graded as “acceptable.”

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also honored the 2021 Volvo S60. The government-backed organization gave the luxury compact sedan a five-star overall safety rating, and it hasn’t issued recalls for the model.

Is Volvo’s compact car the safest model in its class?

RELATED: Fatal Volvo Airbag Incident Leads to 54,000-Vehicle Recall

Few models can even come close to competing with the 2021 Volvo S60’s safety rating in the luxury compact car class.

The 2021 Mercedes C-Class was the only other model to earn the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick + honor. However, it comes with the stipulation that you need to add optional front-crash prevention equipment. Plus, the IIHS stated that the C-Class’ standard headlamps aren’t as safe as those of the S60.
While it’s notable that the S60 is among the most-complained-about Volvo cars, you shouldn’t dismiss it. There’s a lot to like about the 2021 Volvo S60 in addition to its safety acumen. Third-generation S60 models are surprisingly cheap to maintain. Plus, it features a lineup of robust powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid model that generates up to 415 hp.