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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Good," frontal offset; "acceptable," side impact
“underwhelming safety scores”
“extremely rigid cross members for side-impact protection”
Kelley Blue Book
The reviewers have contradictory findings for safety in the 2010 Volvo S40 and V50, with some deeming it underwhelming and others class-leading. There’s no denying that the 2010 Volvo S40 and V50 take advantage of their brand’s tradition for safety, though it must be noted that the test scores aren’t perfect.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the S40 “good” for its frontal offset test, but ranks it as "acceptable" in side impact tests. The S40 achieves five stars for side impact testing for both front and rear seat passengers in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, also scoring four stars for the driver and five for the passenger in frontal crash tests. While there are no official tests conducted for the Volvo V50 yet, the two cars are very similar structurally and are packed with the same safety features and technology.
For 2010, the hazard lights now automatically engage anytime the airbags are deployed. And with standard EBL (Emergency Brake Light) functionality, the new, brighter LED rear lights will flash rapidly in a panic braking situation. Standard active safety features include side impact and side curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, an electronic stability system with traction control, and tire pressure monitoring.
Self-steering bi-xenon headlamps are an option in T5 models. The Haldex all-wheel-drive system can be had only on the T5 AWD for a premium of about $2,000. It engages only when front wheel slip is detected. Available as a stand-alone option is Volvo’s BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), “which lights an indicator just inboard of either of the S40’s and V50’s side mirrors when a car occupies its corresponding blind spot,” according to Cars.com.
Edmunds lists the standard features of the 2010 Volvo S40 and V50 as including “antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and whiplash-reducing front head restraints.” Optional features include integrated rear booster seats (in the V50) and a blind-spot warning system.
The 2010 Volvo S40 and V50 include four grades of steel in the front structure “to create optimal crumple zones” (Car and Driver) and “extremely rigid cross members for side-impact protection” (Kelley Blue Book).
Both the 2010 Volvo S40 and V50 have a long list of standard and optional safety items—active and passive—but their crash-test ratings aren’t particular pleasing.