According to independent laboratory, Thatcham Research, Volvo’s XC90 is the safest car it has ever tested.
Since it first went on sale in the UK in 2002, Volvo has sold more than 50,000 vehicles – yet not a single person has been killed while driving it or as a passenger.
The carmaker is long renowned for its safety credentials and researchers attribute the XC90’s spotless safety record to the model’s early adoption of hazard safety detection technology.
Later models were also equipped with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), which automatically applies the car’s brakes when a hazard is detected.
Matthew Avery, research director at Thatcham Research, said: “All second-generation Volvo XC90s have had AEB as standard, so every one of them has had collision avoidance systems out of the factory.
“None of the XC90s previously had AEB or similar.
“There was a blind spot monitoring system and that was standard for a long time, but they never had the collision avoidance systems we’re talking about, so most of the delivery of the safety of that vehicle, the fact that no one’s been killed in it, is because of good structure.
“It’s the sort of testing that we do for Euro NCAP, it’s crash testing.
Euro NCAP testing
“It’s about good structure, programming the energy in the collision and good restraints, such as good seatbelts, pre-tensioners and load limiters.
“It’s also about good airbags.
“Mass is always a really important driver in terms of safety – a bigger car is a safer car, that’s physics, but you do have collisions where you’re driving one of those against a 44-tonne truck, and then you need all the passive safety you can get, so the real delivery in that is not the collision avoidance systems, but it’s because it’s got really good passive safety.
“That’s why vehicle manufacturers can’t back off from passive safety.
“This shows you have to have very good passive safety because you can build the active safety on top of that, the ability of the vehicle to prevent the collision in the first place.”