Are Volvos Really Safe?

The Volvo has been around for a long time, having originated in Sweden in 1927. Since then, they’ve gotten a reputation as a leader in car safety, but is that title deserved? Are Volvos really safe? Let’s look at their history and how many are on the IIHS Top Safety+ Picks list.

A Volvo driving in the mountains
2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge | Volvo

Volvos began centered around safety

The first Volvos were designed with safety in mind and made safety a priority long before it was mandated. One of its first innovations was laminated glass, which doesn’t fall apart when shattered, in 1944. 

In the 1950s, Nils Bohlin, a Volvo engineer, designed the first three-point seatbelt. Volvo used the three-point seatbelt in all cars by 1959. They also shared this patent freely, so that other car manufacturers could improve the safety of their vehicles. 

They are also responsible for designing the first rear-facing child seat in 1964. The design was inspired by images of astronauts lying on their backs during takeoff. They also came up with their own child booster seat in 1978. 

By the 1990s, Volvo was changing safety in the car industry

The 1990s saw the Swedish car company introduce a Side Impact Protection System, which absorbed some of the shock of a collision into a safety cage. This was one of their more well-known safety features, and has been standard on every one of their vehicles since. 

Volvo was the first car manufacturer to introduce side airbags, doing so in 1995. In 1998 they installed a head-protection airbag. That same year they also introduced a Whiplash Protection System, designed to protect front seat occupants in event of a collision. 

Volvo continues to make safety a top priority

A white Volvo XC90 exemplifying Volov safety on a showroom floor.
Volvo XC90 | Wang Gang/VCG via Getty Images

Run-Off Road Protection technology was introduced in 2014 to protect occupants of the XC90 SUV in event of an off road crash. It also incorporated a rollover protection system, blind spot technology and low-speed automatic braking, as well as pedestrian detection.

Volvo’s goal is zero deaths with their Million More plan

Volvo is making more advancements toward safety, including limiting the top speed on all of its new cars to 112 MPH. They’ve introduced a Care Key, which limits the top speed of their vehicles. The Care Key is designed when a young or inexperienced driver will be behind the wheel. 

They are also working on putting driver-facing cameras inside of cars to determine if a driver is impaired or distracted. 

There are 15 Volvos on the 2021 IIHS Top Safety Picks list 

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Not only are they all on the Top Safety Picks list, but they’re all Top Safety+ Picks too. Top Safety+ Picks must get good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, and moderate overlap front tests. They also must have good ratings in the side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. 

Top Safety+ Picks have to get an advanced or superior for their available vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention. Additionally, they must get an acceptable or good headlight rating. 

Volvos are still some of the safest vehicles you can buy

Other car manufacturers have made huge strides in vehicle safety, but Volvo continues to produce consistently safe vehicles. Of course you should always check the safety ratings on the individual vehicle you’re considering, but when safety is your top priority, Volvo is a great choice.