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IIHS: Volvo's collision avoidance system most effective

Volvo XC60s equipped with City Safety frontal crash avoidance technology get into 27 percent fewer fender benders than other comparable SUVs, according to the IIHS.

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Volvo

Many cars are equipped with crash avoidance technology, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the Volvo's City Safety is the most effective at reducing low speed crashes.

By examining property damage liability claims, the IIHS determined drivers of Volvo XC60s outfitted with City Safety file 27 percent fewer at-fault driver claims than owners of comparable midsize SUVs without that technology. That means that XC60 owners are less likely to be involved in low-speed crashes in which they are at fault, namely rear-ending the car in front of them in traffic.

City Safety is standard feature on Volvo XC60 SUVs. The system works whenever the vehicle is in motion and will automatically apply the brakes and attempt to bring the vehicle to a full stop if it detects a crash with the vehicle in front of it is imminent. City Safety works at speeds up to 19 mph and is ideal for stop and go traffic.

Nissan and Audi also have similar solutions in development, and Nissan claims its technology will be effective at speeds up to 37 mph. Mercedes' Distronic Plus will also brake to avoid crashing into a vehicle ahead of it, but it only works when adaptive cruise control is turned on. Honda already equips some of its vehicles with Collision Mitigation Brake System, however, the system doesn't engage in scenarios where the difference between vehicle speeds is less than 10 mph.

In its Q&A page on crash avoidance technology, IIHS points out that forward collision systems vary in efficacy because drivers may ignore alarms, drivers disable the system because they find it annoying, or the system only works in conjunction with adaptive cruise control. Volvo's City Safety doesn't alert drivers before it steps in and brakes, and you can't permanently disable the feature.