Volvo’s XC90 has been crowned Britain’s safest car, after an analysis found that there has never been an accident fatality inside one over the 16 years it has been on sale.
According to the Thatcham Research study, not one XC90 driver or passenger has been killed in a road accident since the car’s launch in 2002.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t involved in accidents, but it does reflect superbly upon the Swedish firm’s flagship family SUV. To have that kind of passive safety performance over that length of time is incredible.
The experts who compiled the data partly attribute the XC90’s impeccable safety record to its early adoption of low-level autonomous systems like low-speed emergency braking.
While it seems unlikely that these low-speed crashes, many of which have presumably been avoided, would have put the lives of the two-tonne SUV’s driver and/or passengers in danger, it’s hard to argue that it’s not a positive technology to have on board.
Modern Autonomous Emergency Braking systems can work at high speed as well, hoofing the brakes if needed. Observers are now calling AEB ‘the most significant safety development since the safety belt,’ which was made compulsory in Britain in 1965. Thatcham estimates that 1100 lives could be saved over 10 years if it were made standard.