Safety-- old volvo or new subaru?

I drive a 2001 volvo s40. It is getting up there in mileage and I could use a bit more room. But I have two little ones and need a safe car. I’m considering a 2009 subaru forester. It gets great safety ratings, but which is safer? sticking with my volvo or getting the newer forester?

Your Volvo is really out of date as far as safety. You are buying into the Volvo image of safety but the car is simply old and the technology has improved dramatically since '01. The new Subaru is much, MUCH safer.

By the way new Volvo’s aren’t significantly better than other brands as far as safety is concerned anymore. In the '60’s - '70’s they was a difference in safety engineering of Volvo’s but those days are long past.

Completely agree with Uncle Turbo. 8 years is a long time in the race to make cars safer and the Subaru will be much safer then the Volvo.

Along with the others; Subaru, definitely.

Safety ?
Driver training.
Already a proven safe driver ?
Good for you…and us.

Subaru ? why ?
Any new car has all the latest tech for safety. Subaru is nothing special.

Legends die hard! All modern cars are safe, and an old Volvo is considerably less safe that the newer cars. Your Grandfather had reasons to believe that Volvos were safer, but the 60s and 70s are long gone! Your current Volvo won`t match typical new Korean car for safety.

If you want to be safe, take a defensive driving course to keep you OUT OF TROUBLE!

Yeah, modern cars are always including additional safety features such as traction control and curtain airbags. Subaru also likes to hype themselves as being a very safe car, much like Volvo.

I will always remember the large SUV craze of the late 1990’s/early 2000’s where everyone felt the need to buy some huge Suburban or Expedition drive to the grocery store. I guess the price of gas killed off that craze and I am kinda happy. I called them UAV’s or Urban Assault Vehicles as people thought they owned the road in those things…

The large truck-based SUV’s often rode up over smaller cars, posing a risk. Then, there was also the risk of rollover for these larger and higher vehicles, putting people in these large vehicles at risk. So there was an illusion of safety that didn’t really exist. While the Volvo may be solid and built like a tank, it may not include the latest and greatest in safety tech.

The S40 was not particularly safe when new, so the Subaru will be MUCH safer.

Thanks all. I suspected the Forester to be the better decision. It is a matter of deciding if it is worth taking on the new payment. Is the 2001 S40 really an unsafe car? Am I taking a risk with my family by driving it? There isn’t much safety data out there on it since it is such an old car…

The S40 Volvo was about average for safety when sold new. It is a “safe” car now if the brakes work properly and all the air bags inflate. Compared to a new(er) car it is showing its age as airbags and crush zone designs have improved immensely since 2001.

Your family isn’t unsafe in the S40 Volvo, but they aren’t ultra safe either. If you want a safer car trade it in for something much newer. And it doesn’t need to be another Volvo.

Older Volvos were among the safest cars made when they shared the road with other old cars. I doubt they have the airbags of a newer Subaru nor is it a given that the safety devises in an older car will still function as intended. As demoed earlier, older cars in a crash with newer cars, don’t fair as well. I doubt that in the last 12 years there is that much of a distinction, but it is a good reason to prefer newer for safety.

Also, Isn’t “not breaking down” a safety factor ? Aren’t reliable cars considered a little safer by drivers in general then unreliable cars for that very reason. I have always felt safer driving great distances or in areas I would not want a breakdown, in a car that was reliable for me.

Definitely the Subaru. Seriously, 8 years is a pretty big gap wen it comes to safety.

Isn’t it time to resurrect that video of the “ultra-safe” older Volvo being pretty much destroyed upon impact with a newer, very small Renault?

Keep in mind that every car tries to fill a nitch. The Subaru has worked hard presenting itself as one of the safest cars on the market. Their Awd system is part of this strategy and as most Awd drivers will tell you, Awd can play a significant roll in improving driver safety. That alone in a much newer car could be a deciding factor. I assume that the new Subaru also has other features just not found on any older car. Stability and traction control are also standard features on a 2009 Subaru and each works better with Awd. It’s a no brainer for me…
So, unless the Volvo was purchased with the optional turret mounted .50, I wonder how there could be any doubt.

The S40 was not a ‘real’ Volvo, safety-wise, it was based on the same basic chassis as the European Focus and the Mazda 3 of the time. So it was average for a car, and nothing special as a Volvo.

While ‘average’ is not the same as ‘unsafe’, the Subaru would be much better. That was a major reason our teen is driving a Forester.

Lots of car safety info here:

Again ,
Why is any Subaru on the top of your list ?
my concern example ;
In this small town Subaru is not an option…because ?
No dealer or service support unless you drive 140 miles one way !

To keep Subaru at the top of your list , carefully consider your long term ownership. Both minor and major servicing. Is it easy, close, and priced right ? either dealer or independent shop ?
If so, go for the Subaru. but if you lived in an area like mine the choices would be Ford, Chevy, Buick, and Toyota ( yep that’s it, , I don’t like the Dodge or Nissan places and all other brands are a 140 one way drive…or TOW )

Ken, there are Subarus all over the place around here, and there is a dealership. The car is priced right, and my family knows the owner of the dealership and he is giving me a great deal. A new car isn’t really in the budget right now, and the engine of the volvo I drive is doing well, but I have an underlying safety concern. This is why I was torn as to whether the timing is right to be getting a new (rather, new to me) car right now. In the end, though, and partly due to the overwhelming response that the subaru is most definitely a safer choice (despite me driving a volvo that carries with it the ‘legendary’ reputation of being a safe car), I think it is worth it to eek out a couple of hundred bucks a month for peace of mind, knowing that my kiddos are just that much safer.

I suggest that a careful skillful driver is far more important than any difference from one car to another. I might make an exception for someone driving a 1960 or older car

Skillful driving is critical. It’s other drivers on the road I am equally concerned about. I can’t control another driver’s actions, and even the best defensive driving skills can’t always prevent an accident. So for that, I’d like to be in a well-protected vehicle.

I have to agree with olbessie.

All too often, I hear people say things like, “as long as you drive defensively, the type of vehicle that you drive is not that important”.

Yes, careful, defensive driving is very important, but, if a reckless, or distracted, or drunken, or drugged driver t-bones your vehicle or crashes into it head-on, your own driving behavior is not going to help you at all. Instead, the vehicle’s ability to protect its occupants from impact damage can make the difference between minor injuries, major injuries, and death.

Subaru is now rated at the top, or very close to the top, in terms of passenger protection from impact, and this can only help in the event of an accident that is beyond the OP’s control.