Are Volvos still the safest cars?

Our last 3 cars (including the 2 that we are now driving) have been Volvos. I’ve been happy with them. One has 200,000 miles and is still running well. I’ve been in 2 accidents over the years (totally not my fault of course) and emerged unscathed. My husband wants to switch to Lexus or Audi. I was kind of on board but after the latest crash test where the Volvo was the highest rated and one of only 2 cars that passed, I’m thinking that Volvo still is the industry leader in safety and the other manufacturers only do what they think they have to do.

Also, what do you think of a station wagon vs. a crossover. We’ve had 2 wagons which we like but are going to be empty nesters in a year. Also, our 17-year-old son really doesn’t want to drive a station wagon.

No, Volvo’s are not the safety leaders anymore. If you believe otherwise, that is fine, but it is marketing not actual facts anymore.

you want the best safety you will buy new cars. All new cars are very safe, but they are also tested every year by Consumer Reports, the government, and Insurance Safety Commission. If you want safe wait until some results on the newest models are available.

In general, Volvo’s are safe, but not necessarily the leaders in safety anymore.

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You drive a Volvo into a bridge abutment at 75 miles an hour and the results will NOT be pretty…The brand of car you are driving makes no difference at this speed. Everybody dies…At 45 MPH you can start nit-picking which car MAY give you the best chance…Basing a car purchase on how they fare when driven into walls at 45 MPH is not the way to buy a car…

Safety is 10% what car you have and 90% what kind of driver you are. Worry about the way you drive.

@josephEMeehan ;I agree that all cars are very safe today, and driver error is at least responsible for 85% of accidents. A few years ago I was in Paris, France, and the tour bus operator showed us the abutment where Princess Diana’s Mercedes crashed. This was an S Class and only the bodyguard survived because he was WEARING HIS SEATBELT! The other three did not. The impact speed was near 100 mph, insanely fast for urban Paris, but they were escaping the Papparazi!

Again, agreeing with other posters, I would:

  1. Buy a new car; my wife’s new Mazda 3 has multiple air bags, antilock brakes and traction control. All standard!

  2. Have all the drivers take a Defensive Driving course as well as a Winter Driving Workshop, if you live in a winter area of the US.

  3. Install 4 good winter tires, such as Michelin X-ICE.

Last year one of the posters showed a video of a new small French car crashing head on into an expensive VOLVO that was 8 years old. The driver of the small car would have survived while the Volvo driver would surely have been killed as shown by the damage.

Volvo certainly pioneered safety and good rust protection, but now it is just another Chinese car that will cost you a lot of money in upkeep over its lifetime. Consumer Reports has good reliability histories on nearly all cars sold in North America.

As advice to empty nesters; buy what you NEED, not what your son thinks is chique! Empty nesters still buy stuff that’s bulky, so at least a hatchback should be in your choice. There are a lot of neat cars on the market with hatchbacks, so you don’t need ski racks and some will hold 2 bikes with the rear seats down.

Usually me, posting to debunk the Volvo safety myth. I’ve posted it quite a few times, and I’ll post it again:

and yes, the engine IS in the Volvo

Also, unless your son is buying the vehicle with his own money, tell him he’ll drive what you give him.

@bscar2 ; thanks for re-running the video. Safety engineering has come a long way.

The 2013 Ford Explorer, Honda CR-V, Lexus RX350 AWD, and Volvo XC60 SUVs all have 5 stars overall in the NHTSA crash tests. All area also top safety picks at There are also many more top safety picks from IIHS. Check them out here:

Last, you can check HLDI for real payout information on all cars sold in the USA in sufficient numbers to develop reliable statistics:

This information is based on past performance and only goes through the 2010 model year. Still, it seems unlikely that any of your choices will go backwards. BTW, Volvo fares as well as or better than any other SUVs in these tests and accident statistics. I would say you can’t go wrong with a Volvo XC60 or XC90 from a safety standpoint, and many others have caught up with them.

No, Volvos are not significantly safer than many other cars. Here’s a site that combine the ratings and accounts for vehicle size, then ranks the different vehicles:

@texases, are not the frames the same as other carbodies from I think Ford? The frames have not been different for about 10 years now, since transition in 1999. Since 2010 they are built in china. A LOONG WAY FROM SWEDEN.

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I just want to reiterate what several others have said: Your money is much better spent on defensive driving courses than on expensive, high-mantainence cars with over hyped safety ratings. A lot of accidents, including many that are “the other guys fault”, can be avoided with Smith System defensive driving practices.

The OP wrote:

Also, our 17-year-old son really doesn’t want to drive a station wagon.

There is a very easy answer for that.

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All new cars today are extremely safe, far safer than even the best were 20 years ago. Crash energy absorption not only in the cassis of the vehicle but also in the passice restraint systems (airbags mainly) is far, far better than ever dreamed of.

But not all new drivers are safe. New drivers make mistakes. They lack the experience to foresee the dumb moves of others, to anticipate adjustments that need to me made for upcoming curves, bad roads, poor weather, heavy traffic, and lots of other conditions. Once they get the hang of driving, they also have extreme confidence in the superiority of their car handling abilities.

IMHO a car that can be purchased with the ability to track driving behaviors, so that your teen knows you can find out if he’s misbehaving, might be the best safety feature of all. I haven’t had to do any research into this, as my kids learned before any of this technology was available, but it might be a good idea.

I agree with the others who say your 17 year old son deserves no say in what you buy next. If he doesn’t want to drive whatever car you provide, he can find other arrangements or buy his own car.

I agree with the others who say your 17 year old son deserves no say in what you buy next. If he doesn't want to drive whatever car you provide, he can find other arrangements or buy his own car.

My niece wanted a car for college. She was thinking like a like Miata. Which her parents were NOT going to buy her…She gladly took my wifes 96 Accord for free.

Air bags have done a lot to maximize car safety. A Hyundai with well placed air bags can be much safer then a Volvo without, regardless of the engineering of the rest of the car. Besides, govt. mandates and computer modeling which is now available to all manufacturers has done much to equalize car safety. It’s now pretty much in the hands of the driver when comparing Volvos to most other comparable size cars.

I bought 1998 Volvo V40 I just use it for a while because my other car is in garage for repairs, To my amazement Volvo a wonderful car solid and reliable I am thinking of keeping it rather than my car. Do anyone think Volvo is amazing car?

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Only if you own a shop. It’s amazing how much they’ll spend on it to fix it up

To the OP (who has never replied to any posts); Volvo is still safety oriented but is there any real advantage to a Volvo? Current Volvo is putting things on the car like accident avoidance systems, and blind spot warning systems, that other cars also are providing. Currently Volvo isn’t behind other brands on safety, but not far ahead either.

As far as building long lasting reliable cars, with low maintenance costs Volvo is far behind other brands. Volvo’s need more maintenance, more expensive maintenance, and overall higher repair bills for mechanical and electrical problems than other brands.

Reliable Volvos are part of a nostalgic past. Today, most cars are more reliable, and as far as safety goes, nearly all cars are equal at this stage.

Myths die hard; 25 years ago a Volvo was maybe a better vehicle, but everyone else has caught up.