Two top-of-the-line Volvos, the 2019 XC90 large SUV and the 2018 S90 full-size sedan, have earned Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — although the S90 qualifies only with certain headlights.
Both vehicles repeated their scores from previous model years, with both receiving the top scores of good (out of good, acceptable, marginal and poor) in five IIHS evaluations: driver-side small overlap front, frontal moderate overlap, side-impact, roof strength, and head restraints and seats. Both vehicles also got the top score, superior (out of superior, advanced, basic and not available), for frontal crash-avoidance systems with automatic emergency braking. However, the S90 and XC90 failed to qualify for IIHS’ highest award, Top Safety Pick Plus, because of subpar scores in the agency’s headlight evaluations and missing results in its new passenger-side small overlap test.
In a twist on what’s typical in many IIHS test results, where the best score applies to top trim levels with optional equipment, the S90 qualifies for Top Safety Pick status only with the standard LED headlights on the base trim level, Momentum. Those lights got an acceptable rating, the minimum required for Top Safety Pick status; fancier adaptive LED headlights that come in Momentum Plus and Inscription trims, meanwhile, scored a marginal rating. All headlight configurations scored acceptable for the XC90, Cars.com’s Best of 2016 winner, in its latest model year.
The S90 and XC90 awards put them both a notch below several competitors that have earned Top Safety Pick Plus status thanks to top scores for their headlights (at least for optional headlight systems) and acceptable or good marks on the passenger-side test. You can compare the competition for the S90 here and for the XC90 here.
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