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Watch the 2016 Volvo XC90 Beast the Small Front Overlap Crash Test

Big surprise, it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

The 2016 Volvo XC90 didn't just pass the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety small front overlap crash test. It conclusively dominated the test, reminding us that Volvo is still the alpha dog in the auto safety world. Unsurprisingly, the 2016 Volvo XC90 was named a Top Safety Pick+, after receiving the highest possible, 'Good' rating in every crashworthiness category. It also was also rated 'Superior' for automatic front crash prevention.

It might seem like other automakers have caught up to Volvo's sterling safety reputation in recent years, as even mainstream automakers have invested in significant safety technologies like pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Except plenty of automakers have still been flummoxed by the small front overlap crash test, which simulates hitting objects like telephone poles and lamp posts at 40 mph.

When the 2016 Volvo XC90 contacts the barrier, it simply shifts to the side and maintains momentum, rather than absorbing the full brunt of the energy from the crash. The driver space structure is maintained amazingly well. The dummy's face makes direct contact with airbags, rather than flying into the dashboard or collapsed A-pillar, like we've seen in other vehicles undergoing the test.

The 2016 Volvo XC90 benefits from the brand's new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which is purpose-built for maximum safety and electrification flexibility. The XC90 has tech like self-parking, pedestrian detection, active steering corrections, and traffic-friendly Queue Assist.

But it's not just technology that sets Volvo apart in safety—it's also founded in research. On a recent visit to our Detroit office, Volvo spokesperson Russell Datz reminded us that whenever a car accident happens around Gothenburg, Sweden, Volvo is soon on the scene to conduct crash research. That's not just incidents involving Volvos—which are probably most common, because Sweden—but any car crash at all. And it's been doing this for 40 years.

We loved the 2016 Volvo XC90 when we drove it through Spain. It's comfortable, spacious, competent, and uniquely fashionable inside. Volvo says that demand is exceeding expectations, with 57,000 units sold compared to the 50,000 predicted. The 315-hp T6 model is currently on sale, while the hybrid-driven T8 arrives in showrooms this fall.

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