Volvo's City Safety system

Volvo features a video that lets you “test yourself against City Safety.”

A new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Data Loss Institute (HDLI) praises Volvo’s low-speed collision-avoidance system, “City Safety,” saying there is fresh evidence it is helping owners of the S60 and XC60 models to avert fender benders and minor injuries on congested roads.

The status report, “More good news about crash avoidance,” says that City Safety works via a light detection and ranging sensor built into the windshield that can detect a stopped or slower-moving vehicle ahead. If a crash appears about to happen, the system pre-charges the brakes and if the driver does nothing to stop the car, the system independently and forcefully applies the brakes at the last instant before impact. It operates at speeds up to 19 MPH, and unlike some other forward collision avoidance systems, it does not notify the driver before it goes into action.

As Trevor Dorchies writes for, the IIHS report states: “Something we’ve known for a while now. Swedish automaker Volvo makes safe cars.”

The report notes that Volvo owners are very happy with City Safety; a 2012 IIHS survey of people owning 2010-2012 models found that 86% would want the system on their next vehicle.

Most automakers, the report says, offer forward collision warning (FCW) on some of their models. Among 2013 models, 29% offer such systems as options. Of those, 12% have autonomous braking. The report says: “Some autonomous braking systems can prevent some crashes while other systems can only lessen the impact.”

According to the report, those models that have FCW systems as standard include: the Acura ZDX, BMW 760i, Honda Crosstour 4-wheel drive, Hyundai Equus, and Toyota Land Cruiser. In addition, Mercedes’ forward collision avoidance system is standard on the G-Class, and Volvo’s City Safety is standard on the S60, S80, XC60 and XC70. Subaru’s Eyesight system is optional on the Legacy and Outback.

The report quotes the study’s director:

‘Consistent with prior results, this study shows that forward collision systems are working. That is good news because an increasing number of vehicles have these features,’ says Matthew Moore, HLDI vice president and director of the study. ‘These features are preventing common, everyday crashes caused by inattentive drivers or drivers who don’t react quickly enough to emergency situations.’

Moore also said the data about Volvo’s system show: “[…] that you are far less likely to be in a crash in a Volvo with City Safety than in a vehicle without it.”

You can see animated videos about forward crash avoidance systems and available features by make and model at

In addition, Dorchies writes:

Sister publication Motor Trend recently visited the IIHS headquarters in Ruckersville, Virginia, to see a 2013 Volvo XC60 go through the crash test paces firsthand. While there, the IIHS ran the XC60 through (or into) the small overlap front test, and you can see it for yourself below.

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