Volvo ought to be tooting its horn over this one. The XC90, an SUV that has essentially been on sale for over 10 years, just captured a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The TSP+ is a new title, reserved for cars that earn "Good" or "Acceptable" ratings on each IIHS crash test.

This is a difficult feat for a new car - Toyota's new Corolla infamously failed to net a Top Safety Pick+ earlier this year - largely because of the new small overlap front tests, which have left many automakers struggling. But Volvo, somehow, was able to conquer the tests with a car that predates the original iPhone by a few years. The XC90 earning a Top Safety Pick+ is like Betty White taking the gold in the decathlon. With Volvo in the midst of working on the XC90's replacement, we're curious to see just how well a more modern version does in crash testing. Take a look down below for the crash test video and a press release from IIHS.

Show full PR text
Volvo XC90 earns Institute's top safety award

ARLINGTON, Va. - The 2014 Volvo XC90, a midsize luxury SUV, earns the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ award for good performance in each of the Institute's crashworthiness evaluations, including the small overlap front test.

The XC90's structural performance was good in the small overlap front test, and the driver's space was maintained well. Injury measures recorded on the dummy indicate low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity. The dummy's head made good contact with the front airbag, which stayed in position during the crash. Both the side torso airbag and the side curtain airbag deployed.

The Institute added the small overlap test to its lineup of vehicle safety evaluations last year. It replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object like a tree or a utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. A 50th percentile male Hybrid III dummy is belted in the driver seat.

The XC90 is the third Volvo model to earn the TOP SAFETY PICK+ accolade since the Institute began testing for small overlap protection in 2012. Winners of the 2013 award must earn good ratings for occupant protection in 4 of 5 evaluations and no less than acceptable in the fifth test. While many vehicles have had to undergo significant structural changes to earn good ratings in the small overlap test, the XC90 has had the same basic platform since 2003.


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  • 45 Comments
      NightFlight
      • 1 Year Ago
      The current XC90 still is a fantastic vehicle. I really feel as if Volvo should have done a bit more to keep it current though. The interior is seriously dated, they could have spent a bit of money to do a heavy refresh on the interior and kept the sales up.
      pickles
      • 1 Year Ago
      Volvo gets harpooned for having an 'antique' still on the dealer floor but I've felt the XC90 is timeless. It is a tight design that proves that gimmicky looks (calling you out Mercedes) age fast. Add true engineering and development into safety and it makes me think they should pimp this old platform out to Toyota and let them tack some new bodywork on it.
      Justin Shaw
      • 1 Year Ago
      New sales pitch for this vehicle, "Don't fix what ain't broken. "
      neilyadig
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the best SUV's to this day. Can't wait to see the updated model if they ever bring it. Jeremy Clarkson owned 3 of them. In January 2009, in a review of the car printed in The Times, he wrote: "I’ve just bought my third Volvo XC90 in a row and the simple fact is this: it takes six children to school in the morning."
      EvilTollMan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dat Swedish engineering. :)
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Somehow I'm not surprised, since safety has been one of Volvo's biggest careabouts for decades.
      Level4
      • 1 Year Ago
      sure the skin is dated but the engineering behind the face seems to have been years ahead of the competition...
      Mercer
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's because most engineers just take a look at existing test methods, ace the test, and then go home. Only Volvo, or past Saab, relentlessly crash its cars till nothing else can be done.
      Justin
      • 1 Year Ago
      They can't really advertise what a feat this is without pointing out how old this model is...
        Chris O.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Justin
        Maybe. Most normal consumers have no idea how long this model has been out. They could just choose to advertise TSP+ without mentioning the platform age... after all, it's not like TSP+ is an automatic designation for recently introduced models.
          Justin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Chris O.
          Well yeah they can advertise the rating but I was specifically referring to the bragging rights they deserve for scoring this well on an ancient vehicle.
          Chris O.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Chris O.
          True. Then again, marketing engineering that's a decade ahead of the competition isn't too shabby :)
      CarNutMike
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think Volvo has been designing for offset crashes for a long time. Somewhere in the dim parts of my memory, I recall an article discussing that their engineers felt it was a more realistic scenario to design for.
      fx16gts
      • 1 Year Ago
      A very reputable vehicle.
      me_not_you
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder how the final generation of Saabs would have done on this test.
        Chris O.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @me_not_you
        I'm not a Saab-o-phile, but I thought they were sharing a platform with the Impreza. If so, did they substantially improve the underpinnings?
          Danielus
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Chris O.
          I dont think that any saab except the 9-2x has had any underpinnings shared with subaru, but the 9-2x was basically a impreza. GM did have a relationship with subaru back then so it is possible that some technique has shared between the two. But i think that "me_not_you" is talking about the new Saab 9-3 that saab worked on into the final chapters of their life, and this car used saab's phoenix architecture wich is a scalable architecture that saab developed on their own (some parts did come from GM though). http://www.automotorsport.se/bilder/?id=758479 Go to this website and check out how the new saab 9-3 would have looked, designed by Jason Castriota. The other two cars are also done by Castriota but on his sparetime, its a early design of what he thought the new Sonnett would look like and the new Saab 9-1, two cars that saab wanted to do after the 9-3. But sadly Saab left this earth too soon, R.I.P.
          GR
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Chris O.
          The 9-2x was the only Saab as a Subaru. It was basically a WRX hatch in Saab body styling. No other Saabs had Subaru components.
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