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Long known for producing some of the safest cars on the road, Volvo further cemented that reputation Thursday when its new flagship SUV received the highest-possible rating on an influential crash test. The company's 2016 XC90 earned Top Safety Pick+ status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which announced the results.

Volvo's counting on the SUV to revive flagging sales in North America, and the vehicle emerged from testing with an unblemished record. Key to the highest rating was how the car's new front-crash prevention system performed. In previous iterations, Volvo's version of this advanced safety equipment functioned only at low speeds. But on the new version, Volvo's City Safety feature, the XC90 avoided collisions in both 12-and-25-mile-per-hour testing.

The vehicle earned the maximum six points from IIHS, which qualified it for a front-crash prevention rating of "superior." Not all vehicles contain such advanced safety features, but last week IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced an unprecedented agreement between 10 manufacturers to soon provide the potential life-saving systems as standard equipment on their cars.

"I'll give kudos to Volvo for a number of things," said Joe Nolan, IIHS senior vice president for vehicle research. "The old XC90 aced all the crash tests as well, but without the forward-collision aspect. So now they're going above and beyond and deserve the accolades."

The XC90 received a "good" rating on the organization's small-front overlap test, which evaluates how vehicles perform when striking an obstacle at 40 miles per hour. IIHS noted how well the vehicle protected the driver in the crash test.

"Intrusion of less than 2 inches at all measured points in the driver's seating space, the dummy's movement was well-controlled and the front and side curtain airbags worked well together to protect the head," the report said. "Measures taken from the dummy showed a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity."

Volvo XC90 Earns IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Crash Test Rating

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