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2016 Volvo XC90 Named IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus

2016 Volvo XC90;

Thanks in part to the addition of front crash prevention technology, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the redesigned-for-2016 Volvo XC90 a Top Safety Pick Plus, its highest crashworthiness rating. The three-row SUV earned scores of good across the board for 2015, enough for a Top Safety Pick designation, but the previous generation didn't offer the Swedish automaker's City Safety auto-braking system. The feature not only comes standard on the 2016 XC90, but the upgraded version now functions at higher speeds than before, earning the system the best possible rating of superior.

Related: 2016 Volvo XC90: First Drive

"In IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph, the XC90 avoided collisions," the agency said in a statement. "The system also includes a forward collision warning component that meets criteria set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration."

Like its predecessor, the 2016 XC90 earned ratings of good in all five IIHS crashworthiness evaluations, including small and moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. IIHS noted that in the stringent small overlap test, driver space held up very well, with less than 2 inches of intrusion at all points measured, while the crash dummy's head movement was well-controlled, and the front and side curtain airbags worked well together to protect the head.

"Measures taken from the dummy showed a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity," IIHS stated.

That improved safety won't come cheap, however. The previous version of the XC90 started at $40,625, including a $925 destination charge; the 2016 model starts at $50,795 with a $995 destination charge. For that extra 10 grand, however, buyers get standard all-wheel drive, a new eight-speed automatic transmission and significantly improved fuel economy from its 316-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, improving to 20/25 mpg city/highway from the 16/23 mpg of the previous all-wheel-drive version's 240-hp, 3.2-liter six-cylinder.