2019 marks the first time the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has evaluated Volvo's smallest SUV, the XC40, and it appears Volvo's stereotype as an excessively safe automaker has paid off once again.
The 2019 Volvo XC40 has earned the IIHS' highest accolade, Top Safety Pick+. In order to achieve this designation, a car must undergo a series of crash tests that go above and beyond the tests the federal government uses in its five-star rating system. It must also undergo evaluations of its headlights and crash-avoidance systems, and only vehicles that rate well in each category are given this award.
Volvo's littlest ute picked up the highest rating, Good, in each of the IIHS' crash tests. This includes the passenger-side small overlap front crash test, which was only recently implemented and hopes to ensure automakers provide the same amount of crash coverage for the driver as the passenger. The XC40 also achieved the top Superior rating in an evaluation of its standard crash-avoidance system.
As for the headlights, it's a little more complicated. The XC40 earned the top Good rating for its headlights, but only when equipped with its curve-adaptive LED headlights, which are included in the Advanced Package for each trim. Thanks to excessive glare, the non-adaptive standard LED headlights received a Poor rating, the IIHS' lowest. However, only a single trim's worth of headlights need to pass muster in order to achieve a Top Safety Pick award.
The larger XC60 earned the IIHS' second-best award, Top Safety Pick. It received the same ratings in crash tests and crash-avoidance evaluations as the XC40, but its headlights were only good enough for an Acceptable rating, relegating it to the penultimate honor.
The XC60 and XC40 are, thus far, the only two Volvos to earn these awards in the course of the IIHS' 2019 evaluations. In 2018, though, five separate Volvo models -- S60, V60, XC60, S90 and XC90 -- walked away with Top Safety Pick. Awards from previous years don't roll over, because the Institute is constantly adjusting and updating its requirements to keep automakers on their toes.