Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 has been awarded the highest mark – the five star rating – by consumer car safety organisation Euro NCAP in their latest survey.

Since its introduction in 2002, the Volvo XC90 has received the highest number of international awards in the shortest period of time than any other Volvo model. Several of these have been safety awards, but the crash test carried out by Euro NCAP enabled the Volvo XC90 to physically prove its merits in an independent safety survey.

This was also done earlier this year when the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested the XC90 and gave it its best marks and the title "Best Pick".

Frontal and side impacts

The test method of Euro NCAP evaluates the vehicle crash performance in a frontal impact and a side impact, pedestrian protection and a new test for head protection in which the vehicle is propelled sideways into a pole.

The protection provided by the latter was "very impressive, and meets all Euro NCAP performance requirements", according to the safety organisation. The overall conclusion from Euro NCAP was very positive:

"The XC90 has an immensely strong body shell that provides a safe, well balanced occupant protection compartment for frontal and lateral (side) impact. Deformation and intrusion levels were minimal and the risk of chest injury from seat belt loads was low. The child restraints worked very well meeting all the performance requirements and all of the different size ISOFIX seats available can be accommodated. Pedestrian protection for this size of car was average."

According to the Euro NCAP test method there is minimal deformation of the footwell and door aperture, minor displacement of the pedals in the frontal impact and there is a small risk of injury to driver and passenger knees.

In the side impact, the dummy readings were among the lowest recorded by Euro NCAP. The SIPS bag, airbag and Inflatable Curtain worked well in protecting the driver both in the side impact and the pole test.

In terms of pedestrian protection, the XC90 scored two stars (highest ever score for an SUV) thanks to the smooth, gentle design structure of the car.

Beyond Euro NCAP – addressing specific SUV safety

When conceiving and designing the Volvo XC90, special attention was paid to the SUV-associated issues of compatibility and roll-over.

To help ensure compatibility with other passenger cars on the road, the XC90’s front suspension subframe has an additional, lower cross member which is positioned at the correct height to activate the collision protection system of other cars.

Roll-over prevention through roll stability control and roll-over protection are vital parts of the XC90's active and passive safety systems. The vehicle has accordingly been widely acclaimed for its innovative safety solutions such as Rollover Protection System (ROPS), an active stability-enhancing system, and the Inflatable Curtain (IC) that protects all occupants in the vehicle including those on the third seat row.

Together with features such as the anti-whiplash WHIPS system and belt pretensioners for all seven seats, the Volvo XC90 offers an unmatched level of occupant safety.

Volvo has also reinforced parts of the roof structure in the XC90 with extremely tough Boron steel, which is four or five times stronger than normal steel.

Volvo takes an holistic approach to safety to ensure all the active and passive safety systems achieve the highest level of protection possible. Much of this, however, is not taken into consideration through the current evaluation methods used by Euro NCAP.

Published : 29/06/03 Author : Melanie Carter

Volvo XC90 News

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