This large Volvo is very safe and gave a good all round performance, especially in side impact where the driver's head is well protected by a drop-down curtain airbag. Euro NCAP has previously tested the rear-facing child restraint system that is among the safest performing overall. It does rely on a floor stay for stability and this did not perform as well as it has before. Pedestrian protection is average for this size of car, giving some cushioning for head impacts but is very aggressive for pedestrians' legs and earned no points at all.
The cabin remained stable but the occupants were exposed to reasonably high chest loads.The knee impact area was generally clear of harmful structures, except for under the steering column. These were stiff items covered by a plastic structure designed to be energy-absorbing. The performance of this structure was not clear so some points were lost in this area. The right lower leg also lost points because the loads on the driver's shin were a little high.
The SIPS system worked well. The seat-mounted torso airbag expanded to protect the chest and abdomen. The pole test showed that the drop-down head protection air bag provided a cushion between the head and the pole. This ensures the driver would survive an accident that would otherwise prove fatal.
Euro NCAP has previously tested Volvo's child restraint system in 1998. In this test the stay on one of the restraints slipped forward piercing and tearing the carpet. Volvo tells us that a new rear-facing seat system for children from 0–3 years will be introduced from February 2000. This will mount directly onto the seat using the ISOFIX system. It is expected that this will make the seat easier to fit and to use.
The front of this car is very stiff and uncompromising for pedestrians. and is an area that needs attention from Volvo. There is reasonable protection offered in the area where a child's head might hit the bonnet, though.