Is Volvo’s safety rating for midsize luxury SUVs better than Audi’s?

Volvo and Audi SUV's were given a top 5 safety rating by the IIHS in recent studies. Luxury SUV auto insurance can cost up to 18% more.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 18, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Formed in Sweden, Volvo has grown to be one of the most impactful car companies in the world
  • Audi comes from Germany, which makes both brands European-based conglomerates
  • Although both companies create automobiles of many types, their luxury, midsize SUV models are some of the most contemporary creations that were achieved when technology met creativity
  • Sometimes, despite the yearning to produce the best possible vehicle in the market, many manufacturers will come short of making a safe vehicle as this characteristic falls behind more flashy features
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a company that works to prevent any of those safety failures

As millions of tax dollars get invested in roads around the nation, a growing trend of family-based vehicles has taken over the market. These include multiple seats that are arranged in three rows and can facilitate as many as half a dozen people.

Midsize SUVs are particularly notorious for their sturdy V6 engines that generate over 200 horse-powers with minimum efforts, all while getting no less than 19 to 20 miles per gallon.

The size comes second to many other automobiles, but it still ranges in numbers over 4,000 pounds per model. Drivers who are switching from economy models, as many people with young children do, might be unfamiliar with the implications of a heavy-frame car.

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The IIHS Safety Ratings


Due to the fact that SUVs might experience safety issues, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ensures that drivers and their families will be well-protected behind the wheel.

The process starts with a car company sending a prototype of the model that is going out to the market, which is then broken in every way possible.

The tests are broken down into three categories:

  • Crashworthiness – composed of tests such as the frontal moderate and small overlap collisions, side and roof assessments, and head restraints capabilities. The grades given range over a poor-marginal-acceptable-good spectrum.
  • Crash prevention – determines how well the car’s automatic brake systems work when there is an imminent danger at hand. Also, prevention includes the headlights’ review. The ratings can be basic, advanced, or superior.
  • Child anchors – demonstrates the ability of the vehicle to host children’s seats. The same grading scale as for crashworthiness is utilized.


Both models achieved five out of five good scores which make their performance as high as can be.

The IIHS noted how the dummy’s position in relation to the door frame, steering wheel, and instrument panel after the crash test indicates that the driver’s survival space was maintained very well.

Also, the airbags were placed precisely where their deployment granted the most protection to the driver during the side test. No contact between the driver’s head or neck and glass occurred which means that injuries expected are minor.

Volvo’s moderate overlap test showed that the dummy hit the roof rail which is not too concerning, although this did not happen with Audi.

Furthermore, Volvo showcased a great assertiveness by issuing a recall to mitigate the issue of detaching belts during the side impact crash.


Crash Prevention & Mitigation

Although it is very important to preserve the drivers who have been in a crash, most drivers do not realize that new technology might be able to prevent many accidents.

As far as crash avoidance abilities, both vehicles scored five out of six points which make their danger detection systems “superior.”

It’s important to note that Volvo required optional equipment to get this far whereas Audi achieved this performance with its basic package.

The portion of the evaluation that caused both models one point was the 25-mph test where they achieved a notable speed reduction, although no collision was necessarily avoided.

Headlights were a lot better with Volvo as XC60 received the highest score while Audi only obtained a “moderate” rating.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

Lastly, the latches were visually reviewed and Audi scored a “good” rating as the latches were perfectly placed without any accessibility problems.

Volvo topped at a “moderate” score as its LATCH was easily confused for other hardware and presented difficulty to maneuver around. Further, at least one of them was too deep in the seat.

Thus, Audi easily won this category while most of the other ones were fairly even.

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2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+


Both models received recognition which is not a common occurrence.

Volvo obtained the Top Safety Pick Plus award as Audi Q5 came short in the headlights area which downgraded it to the Top Safety Pick only.

Nonetheless, the fact that both models had perfect crashworthiness and crash prevention established them as some very prominent midsize SUV vehicles.

After conducting extensive testing on Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5, Audi seems to have a slight edge because the child seat anchors category was a lot better for Q5 and the fact that Volvo received a higher recognition does not make a lot of difference.

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