Skip to main content

When purchasing a new vehicle, many consumers focus on the look and feel. But shoppers have also become increasingly concerned about safety features that can prevent accidents and keep riders safe in crashes. To help determine which vehicles are the safest, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awards models that meet high standards. And Volvo is a standout in 2021, earning a huge share of the safety pie. 

What is IIHS Top Safety Pick+?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a trusted nonprofit. It seeks to reduce auto accidents through research and testing to help influence car buyers, manufacturers, and policymakers. 

In fact, the IIHS releases an annual list of cars earning a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award. According to the IIHS, a vehicle can qualify for one of these awards if it achieves a “Good” rating in all six IIHS crash tests. That’s no simple feat. In recent years, the IIHS also began requiring that cars have a front crash prevention system with “Advanced” or “Superior” ratings for preventing crashes with other vehicles and pedestrians. 

Finally, Top Safety Pick award winners must get “Good” or “Acceptable” ratings for their headlights. To achieve the “+,” the highest IIHS honor, a vehicle must get “Good” or “Acceptable” headlight ratings on every trim or package. 

2021 Volvo models with IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designations

Volvo brought home a whopping 14 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards in 2021. It won this designation in midsize luxury cars, large luxury cars, small SUVs, and midsize luxury SUVs categories. 

In midsize luxury cars, the 2021 Volvo S60 sedan, S60 Recharge sedan, V60 wagon, V60 Cross Country wagon, and V60 Recharge wagon won Top Safety Pick+. The 2021 Volvo S90 sedan, S90 Recharge sedan, V90 wagon, and V90 Cross Country wagon also received the “+” award.

Additionally, the 2021 Volvo XC40 and XC40 Recharge won Top Safety Pick+ among small SUVs. In the midsize luxury SUV segment, the 2021 Volvo XC60, XC60 Recharge, XC90, and XC90 Recharge received the same honor. 

Volvo’s significant safety honor

Winning 14 awards is significant in itself. But Volvo also earned the most Top Safety Pick+ awards of any manufacturer in a single year since the IIHS created the designation in 2013. The IIHS conceived the regular Top Safety Pick award in 2006. However, the organization saw a need for an even higher designation acknowledging headlight safety across all trims. 

Clearly, Volvo has prioritized safety in its features, headlights, and crash test ratings in recent years, making the brand’s vehicles appealing choices for safety-conscious buyers. Volvo made sweeping safety improvements for the 2021 model year. But for 2020, the brand earned only four Top Safety Pick+ awards and three regular Top Safety Pick awards. That was still impressive; however Volvo has set a new standard. And it will be interesting to see if it continues this trend.  

So if you’re in the market for a safe luxury sedan or SUV, it’s hard to beat a Volvo.  


Does the 2021 Volvo XC60 Deserve to Be the No. 1 Compact Luxury SUV?