The XC60 gets a perfect score for safety for all the reasons you'd expect, and one or two new ones you may be unfamiliar with.
First things first: the XC60 earns top crash-test scores from both major reporting agencies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards it five stars overall--it's one of the few vehicles to get that rating since the NHTSA changed its rating system in the 2011 model year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has equally good news for Volvo, as it gives the XC60 its Top Safety Pick award.
The XC60 sports some safety technology that aim to reduce pedestrian injuries in accidents. It's called City Safety, and it's been a Volvo exclusive in the 2011 and 2012 model years. City Safety can identify an object or person in the road ahead, and bring the vehicle to a complete stop at speeds of up to 9 mph, and engage the brakes to help reduce the severity of a crash at somewhat higher speeds.
City Safety wraps together the sensors used in various other high-tech safety aids in the XC60, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Alert Control, Distance Alert, and the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS). And that's in addition to a well-rounded package of the safety features expected in this class, like electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, side and side-curtain airbags. Of course, there's more to it here; the stability control, for instance, includes a special mode for towing stability (up to 3,300 pounds).