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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
‘Good,’ frontal offset; ‘good,’ side impact, ‘good,’ rear impact; 'good,' roof strength; 'good,' small overlap frontal
Top Safety Pick+
Not yet rated
suggests a break with a little coffee cup icon if it thinks you are tired
a $695 Blind Spot Information System activates warning lights on inside windshield pillars when vehicles in a driver's blind spot are detected—although I found that a quick over-the-shoulder glance also should be used
Volvo's reputation for safety is the stuff of legends. Not only has the brand brought to life many of the more sensible safety items found in every car today–a la three-point seatbelts–but in recent years, it's also developed technologies that are designed actively reduce the number of injuries inside and outside of the car, should an accident be unavoidable.
Standard features on the 2014 S80 are plentiful: rain-sensor wipers and headlight washers are now included in all Volvo S80s, and the Personal Car Communicator, a special keyfob system that can report the security status of your vehicle remotely—including the capability to detect an intruder in your vehicle—has been made standard. And there's a new Tunnel Detection feature for the headlamps.
Volvo's City Safety system, which helps brake (even to a stop at lower speeds) to avoid a collision with vehicles ahead, comes standard. And with an available Technology Package, you can step up to a suite of radar- and camera-related active-safety features including Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, Adaptive Cruise Control, Distance Alert, and a Lane Departure Warning system. This year that package also includes a Road Sign Information system as well. Separately, there's a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) that places warning lights mounted on the front pillars, to alert the driver if there's another vehicle in the blind spot.
The S80 hasn't been redesigned in many years. Yet we've given it a particularly high score because of all those features, Volvo's longstanding reputation, and its repeat status as an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+, and its strong results in the small-overlap test. It's quite simply one of the safest cars on the market, and if some NHTSA ratings came about, we'd be inclined to move it higher.
Active-safety gear and great crash scores keep the S80 on top of the protection scale.