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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

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.2 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Reliability & safety Rating

4.5 out of 5

Volvo had a goal of 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.

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Reliability is more of a grey area with the new XC90, as it uses a lot of recently introduced (but of course thoroughly tested) technology. A disappointing result from the closely-related XC60 in our 2022 Driver Power survey suggests reliability could be sub-par, as both cars share much of the same technology and B5 petrol engine.

Volvo XC90 reliability

The Volvo XC90 didn't appear in our 2022 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey but the closely related XC60 did, coming in 69th out of the top 75 cars. Worryingly, 36% of XC60 owners reported a problem with their car in the first year of ownership.

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 eighth out of 29 manufacturers in 2022, but again reliability was middle of the road. A slightly lower 28% of Volvo owners reported an issue with their car in the first year of ownership.

Safety

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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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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