In-depth Reviews

Volvo XC90 SUV - Reliability & safety

Volvo has always been a car safety pioneer and the new XC90 is well placed to continue that tradition

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

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Owners Rating

3.2 out of 5

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Reliability & safety Rating

4.5 out of 5

Volvo has been working towards zero fatalities in its vehicles by the year 2020 and the new XC90 was a big part of that bold strategy. High-strength materials combine with hi-tech systems to help you avoid having a crash in the first place and protect you and your passengers from serious injury if you do.

Reliability is more of a grey area with the new XC90, as it uses a lot of unproven (but of course thoroughly tested) technology. However, we’d be confident that there won’t be any major problems as long as it’s properly maintained.

Volvo XC90 reliability

The Volvo XC90 didn't appear in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but the closely related Volvo XC60 turned in an impressive result, finishing 30th out of the top 75 models. it was well regarded for reliability and build quality too, with 17.2% of owners experiencing a fault in the first year.

Take a look at the reputation of Volvo as a brand, and the manufacturer performs well for customer satisfaction across the whole of its model range – it finished 10th out of 30 manufacturers. You told us Volvo's are well put together, but 20.5% of owners reported a fault in the first 12 months.


Volvo has really pushed the boat out when it comes to safety measures on the new XC90 and was rewarded with a five-star overall Euro NCAP crash-test score, a staggering 97% adult occupant protection rating and an 87% child protection rating.

The passenger compartment is constructed from high-strength boron steel and airbags deploy along the full length of the interior in the event of an accident, protecting occupants in all three rows of seats.

But the Volvo also aims to stop you having a crash in the first place. It boasts cameras that can detect pedestrians, large animals and cyclists you might have missed and warn you of their presence, as well as an automatic braking system that brings the car to a halt if it detects you’re about to run into the car in front. It also has systems that can alert the driver to slippery roads ahead and can provide early warning of hazard warning lights ahead.

The Volvo Pilot Assist II system uses a combination of active cruise control and lane-departure warning to almost drive the car itself in heavy stop-start traffic. The latest version of this system will control the car at speeds of up to 80mph. All this resulted in a 100% score for safety assistance from Euro NCAP.

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