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Volvo is well-known for making high-quality cars that are smart and safe. This notion has plenty of merit, as recently, Volvo earned two prestigious awards for its SUVs. Here’s a look at the Volvo XC60 and the XC90, both of which just won a safety award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or the IIHS.

The safety awards that Volvo just won

The IIHS said that the XC60 and the XC90 were both awarded with some of the IIHS’ highest honors. The XC60 won the Top Safety Pick award, while the XC90 won the Top Safety Pick+ award. There are minor differences between these two award categories, but regardless, the Top Safety Pick+ award is still the highest award that the IIHS gives to cars. 

As the IIHS wrote, there are many safety considerations that the IIHS makes when it’s trying to determine how safe a car is. Obviously, the IIHS will put the car through a lot of crash tests to figure out how safe the car is during a crash, but there’s more.

Nowadays, the IIHS also includes safety features in its evaluation, and Volvo, being a luxury automaker, puts plenty of safety features in its cars. 

Another thing that the IIHS looks at is, surprisingly, headlights. Subpar headlights can lead to cars not having enough light when they’re on the road at night, and that can lead to an accident. This was actually one of the minor differences between the XC60 and the XC90. 

A look at how safe the Volvo XC60 and the Volvo XC90 are

The IIHS will only consider a car for one of its safety awards if the car scored well in its crash tests. Since the XC60 and the XC90 both got an award, they also both scored well in their crash tests. Similarly, the IIHS will only give a car an award if it comes with smart safety features that get “advanced” or “superior” ratings. 

Volvo puts the same smart safety suite, called City Safety, in both cars. City Safety gives the XC60 and the XC90 access to smart safety features such as a frontal crash prevention system that also offers a pedestrian detection system, among other things. In this regard, the IIHS said that the XC60 and the XC90 both did really well in preventing a crash from happening. 

That said, the IIHS also mentioned that both Volvos had far more standard smart safety features. While these features weren’t necessarily tested, they also improve the safety of the cars.

For example, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, and lane departure prevention are all standard safety features on both Volvos. 

Why the XC90 is a bit safer than the XC60

While the XC60 and the XC90 largely got similar ratings in every test that the IIHS put them through, the main difference between the two was in their headlights. The IIHS said that both headlights that Volvo offers on the XC90 received an “acceptable” rating, while that’s not the case for the XC60

One of the XC60’s headlight options only received a “marginal” rating, which is a step below the IIHS’ “acceptable” rating. As a result, the IIHS only awarded the XC60 with the Top Safety Pick award, while the XC90 got the Top Safety Pick+ award. 

By winning that award, the IIHS reported that the XC90 is now the first Volvo model from 2020 to win that honor. The IIHS wrote that two other Volvos, the XC40 and the S60, both won the Top Safety Pick award earlier this year. 


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