Unless you’re new to Earth, you probably know that Volvo is known for safety. Volvo built its reputation on safety. They’re safe cars. It’s a household phrase: Volvo safety.
But are the older Volvos still safe, compared to today’s safety standards?
[Read about Volvo’s safety innovations over the years, like SIPS and 3-point seatbelts.]
It’s nice to think our 1980s Volvo 240, 1990s Volvo 850, or 2000s Volvo XC70 cars are safe as anything on the road. They may not be as safe as new SUVs, but middle-age Volvos have got to be safer than small, new cars. Right? Maybe not.
MVS Contributor j-dawg:
As visually impactful as those videos of car crashes are, I hate seeing them, because my mind wants to pick away and argue, and I know that is stupid. There is no argument. Modern cars are safer. They’re stronger, their crash protection is more effective, and they’re better at avoiding crashes in the first place. Lacking access to test data and background knowledge, the pictures and videos are just graphic representations of something of which I have minimal real understanding. Better to know my ignorance than to make completely unqualified interpretations of complex phenomena – never mind that the tests would seem to confirm that modern cars are safer.
Per 100 million miles, there were 1.91 accident fatalities in the USA in 1991, when the 850 came out in Europe. In 2014 that number was 1.08, and that’s including all the added distractions we have driving today. So as safe as my old Volvo is compared to its peers, it’s based on engineering from more than a quarter-century ago. I am probably safer in my little Ford, 600lb lighter than the V70. It has stability control, side curtain airbags, freakin’ knee airbags, and probably all kinds of other stuff the Volvo doesn’t have that I don’t even know about. It seems to protects passengers better in the crash tests (though I am now interpreting them, as I promised not to do), and it cost just over a third of what the Volvo did new. To drive the point home, the Fiesta isn’t even considered a standout. Safety-wise, it’s a basic car, but it’s more than worthy of comparison to a safe car from the ’90s.
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