The S60 provides a structurally stable safety cage and is particularly good at protecting its occupants in a side impact, deploying airbags to protect their heads and bodies. In the frontal impact, testers found scope for improvements to reduce chest injuries. The fascia where occupants’ knees might strike could also cause injuries. Protection for children is well thought out, but that for pedestrians needs more work.
The car’s safety cage protected its occupants effectively. The seat belts were load limited and worked well. The driver’s head was cushioned by the airbag and did not strike the steering wheel. Because no passenger frontal airbag is fitted as standard, the belt loading for the passenger had to be higher than for the driver to prevent the passenger’s head striking the fascia. But too little protection left the drivers’ knees and thighs exposed to the risk of injury. A three-point centre rear belt was fitted and this provides more protection than a lap-only belt can.
The car was fitted with a side impact thorax airbag and a head- protecting side airbag curtain. These worked well to protect the driver. The curtain also acts to protect passengers sat in the outer rear seats.
The restraints were Volvo branded and rear-facing, each including a support between the back of the restraint and the footwell. The label explaining how to fit them could have been clearer, and instructions given for routing the belt were misleading. What’s more, testers found that they could remove the additional tether which, according to safety regulations, should not be possible. However, despite these criticisms, both of the restraints protected their occupants effectively.
The front of the S60 is very stiff and unforgiving in the areas that might strike a pedestrian, prompting Euro NCAP to warn Volvo that it needs to pay much more attention to this area of its design. Protection offered in the zone where a child’s head would most likely hit was reasonable.