2012 Volvo S60 undergoing IIHS' new frontal crash testEnlarge Photo
Safety sells cars, especially when shoppers are looking for a new family vehicle. No other automaker has done as much to market safety as Volvo, probably since safety has been a primary focus of the Swedish automaker for decades.
Its latest internal review of accident data shows that the risk of being injured in a current-model Volvo
is 50 percent less than in the year 2000. While part of the credit goes to Volvo's vehicle design, much of it also goes to the great advances in safety technology over the past twelve years.
In 2000, safety features like electronic stability control, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, lane departure warning and blind spot detection were found only on the most expensive luxury models, if the features existed at all. Today, these technologies have trickled down to many mainstream models, including those from Volvo.
Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Swedish insurance company Volvia show that automatic braking systems (as used in Volvo’s City Safety
feature) can reduce low-speed frontal collisions by 22 percent.
Another European study revealed that vehicles equipped with adaptive cruise control and collision warning reduce the chance of a frontal collision by as much as 42 percent, a significant improvement by anyone’s standards.
Volvo’s designs are aimed at protecting pedestrians, too. The new V40
is the first to utilize a pedestrian airbag
, and a Pedestrian Detection system with full auto brake seeks to ensure that these external airbags never need to deploy.
The long-term safety goal of any automaker is to reduce or even eliminate the chance of occupant injury, but Volvo even takes this one step further by quantifying it. By 2020, Volvo safety vision states that no occupants of a new Volvo model should suffer serious or fatal injuries as a result of a crash.