Crash Test, Redux

SUV hits barrier at 40 mph, SUV shrugs.

byBen Keeshin|
Volvo News photo


The Volvo XC90 remains unimpressed by your 160-ton barrier of steel and concrete.

Might as well be box of Wasa crackers, ja? Volvo’s all-new SUV seems to say as it shrugs off a sharply cornered monolith with the mass of a blue whale.

The results are in from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the tricky “small offset” test that has so troubled cars like the Nissan Quest and Toyota Corolla barely hindered Volvo’s zaftig wagon-on-stilts, which sauntered through the challenge with a relish Swedes usually reserve for Kalles Kaviar.

Indeed, the small offset, introduced in 2012, has bedeviled models that had for years sailed through the IIHS gauntlet like mackerel through a Malmo fisherman’s net.

While other cars crumpled on contact in the 40-mph collision, absorbing the full fury of the barricade, the Volvo’s structure is so strong—made of 40% hot-formed boron steel—that it glanced off the corner and maintained momentum. Like an outsize automotive Cinderella tripping down the stairs of the Insurance Institute Palace, the XC90 leaves behind only one 20-inch alloy slipper.

Volvo has vowed that by the year 2020, there will be zero deaths involving its cars. The XC90 is a stylish and robust indication that they’re well on the way. Immovable object? Meet irresistible force.

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