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

Volvo and Buick SUV models received 5 star ratings from the IIHS in recent safety studies. Auto insurance costs are around 18% higher for some luxury SUV's.

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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 3, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Buyers of luxury cars should not assume that a high-end vehicle has excellent safety ratings
  • While Buick and Volvo have midsize luxury SUV models with exceptional safety ratings in many areas, their vehicles fall short in at least one important safety area
  • Because safety ratings for midsize luxury SUVs can play a role in your auto insurance cost, it is important to understand safety ratings and to analyze insurance costs before you make a vehicle purchase

Midsize luxury SUVs are popular vehicles for commuting as well as for family vehicles. Loaded with incredible features and upgraded details, it is easy to feel safe and secure while traveling in one of these vehicles.

Many drivers even assume that a high-end model made from a reputable brand would have excellent safety ratings.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) analyzed 19 vehicles in this class for 2017, and the safety ratings for the various models were across the board.

Of the vehicles that were reviewed in this class for 2017, the Buick Envision, the Volvo XC60, and the Volvo XC90 may be at the top of your list of contenders for your next vehicle purchase.

When you take a few minutes today to learn more about their IIHS safety ratings, you may be able to choose a vehicle to buy that is safer for you and your loved ones to travel in.

In addition, because car insurance premiums are often calculated in part based on safety ratings, you could potentially save money on auto insurance for your new vehicle when you analyze the safety ratings closely.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rate for the coverage you need no matter which vehicle you decide to drive. Enter your zip code above to get started.

Buick and Volvo Safety Test Results for the Midsize Luxury SUV Vehicle Class


Each of the 19 midsize luxury SUVs that were reviewed by the IIHS for 2017 was analyzed in three major categories, and the first two of these categories were divided into multiple sub-categories.

Reviewing each of these different safety ratings gives you detailed information about each vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses. You may notice that most of the safety classifications for the Volvo and Buick models analyzed by the IIHS have one of the following ratings:

  • Good
  • Average
  • Marginal
  • Poor

One category that was reviewed by the IIHS has a rating from “basic” to “superior,” and this is the Front Crash Prevention sub-category in the Crash Avoidance and Mitigation group.


The purpose of the Crashworthiness safety rating from the IIHS is to provide you with information about each vehicle’s unique ability to protect SUV occupants if they are involved in a collision.

This safety category is broken down into sub-categories for Front Small Overlap, Front Moderate Overlap, Head Restraints and Seats, Roof Strength, and Side.

Notably, all three of the Buick and Volvo models received a “good” rating, which is the highest possible safety rating for these sub-categories.


Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

There are two sub-categories in the Crash Avoidance and Mitigation safety category from the IIHS, and these are Headlights and Front Crash Prevention.

Together, these two sub-categories explore the SUV’s ability to either prevent collisions or reduce their severity. 

The two Volvo models reviewed in 2017 had a “superior” rating, and the Buick Envision had a rating of “advanced,” which is one step below the Volvo models’ rating.

In the area of Headlights, the Volvo XC60 had a “good” grade, the Buick Envision rated “average,” and the Volvo XC90 rated “marginal.”

LATCH for the Child Seat Anchors

When you intend to use your SUV to transport small children around, you may be looking for a new SUV that is designed for ease-of-use with car seat latches and anchors. The LATCH safety category from the IIHS explores this matter carefully.

The Volvo XC90 had a rating of “average” in this category, and the other two vehicles from Volvo and Buick only rated “marginal.”

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


Altogether, 19 of the midsize luxury SUVs that were reviewed by the IIHS in 2017, and all but six of them were recognized with a special award because of their higher safety ratings in most categories.

Both the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards require vehicles to have high ratings in Crashworthiness and Front Crash Prevention.

The Top Safety Pick+ award also has the additional requirement of having a high rating in the Headlights category. The Top Safety Pick award was given to the Volvo XC90, and the highest honor of Top Safety Pick+ was given to the Volvo XC60 and the Buick Envision for 2017.

The IIHS Safety Test Results

All three of the Buick and Volvo luxury SUV models reviewed by the IIHS in 2017 had rather dismal ratings in the Latch safety category, and the Envision and XC90 also had lower ratings in the Headlights category.

While their overall safety ratings were rather high in comparison to many of the other 19 vehicles in this class that was reviewed, they are lacking in some critical safety areas.

Selecting a safe and reliable SUV to purchase may be a top concern, but you also need to think about the cost of ownership.

Auto insurance premiums are a major factor in the overall vehicle cost analysis, and safety ratings could affect the cost of your new SUV’s insurance premium.

Because the safety ratings between these and other SUVs vary in several areas, you may benefit by comparing at least three or four insurance quotes for each model that you are seriously thinking about buying. Enter your zip code below to begin comparing today.

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