The Worlds Most Safest on road Vehicle Volvo XC90: Structural Design Detail

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Volvo XC90 is the epitome of pure Scandinavian luxury. It has also won many awards in its segment. It has been built on Worldwide Car Body Platform. This means that it is built with all global requirements of safety and environmental norms internal and external no matter where you may want to take it. Its globally acknowledge fact that Volvo design and manufacturing technology is the safest of all leading automakers around the world.

The Volvo XC90 vehicle structure is divided into two parts

  1. The Deformable or Crash structure- it is the structure which is built to absorb energy during an event of accident or miss-happening.
  2. The safety structure- this is structure responsible of securing the occupants in the vehicle. This is defined with many strengthening beams and panels. It will avoid deformation and endure the energy during crash or accident.


First is the aluminium bumper beam. It’s a wide bumper beam with a high section to spread the force over a large area reducing the developed deformation stress.

front volvo xc90 front1

Then we have the crash box which connects the bumper beam to the main structure. The connection is perpendicular. This crash box actually crushes from the designed initiation point. Function: Energy Absorption! The design of crash box is such that it bends inward and transferring force to side members.

volvo xc90 simulation

The side members bend inward in a concave manner, forming a boomerang to repel force which increases the crushing time.


The internal safety cage has different color member, these are for re-enforcing of panels members in the cage body. The dark sections are hot formed steel; it is heated at about 900 degree c before stamping. Also called boron steel.

cage volvo xc90

The side from A-Pillar section to c pillar section the beam posses a cross section of boron steel at every 2.5 feet. This ensure there is no weak point in the vehicle during side impact or roll over as there cannot be any crash beams along the sides. Volvo uses the maximum boron steel of its entire competitor. This use of boron steel in the side pillars is unique to this generation of xc90.

The main component in the side impact is the B pillar. It’s very critical as the occupants are very close to it. We cannot afford to have very high displacement of B pillar during a side impact event. The variable section design and cross sectional thickness gives the B pillar a pendulum effect where lower side moves in and upper side moves out securing the occupants.

The forces from the B pillar are spread to the roof structure (cross member) and transferred to the other side through the seat cross-members.

Also read: Audi A8 : Facts to know about Technology, Interiors Comforts and Exteriors Design


The rear has a third row of occupants and becomes important to secure during an event of rear collision. The working of the rear safety structure is similar to the front.

LATTO JAKKOBSSON – The Senior Technical Leader Safety, Volvo cars.

She shares Volvo vision “to build world’s safest cars and by 2020 there should not be any deaths due to an accident by Volvo. We focus on both occupants and pedestrian on roads. ”

Volvo XC90
Roll Over Testing

The city driving safety package includes:

  • Full collision warning and auto breaking functionality in case of driver’s negligence or sudden obstacle.
  • The run off road situation: when wheels leave contact off the ground it detects it to be off road run off. Calculation is done on the detecting off road of vehicle position and lift side, so that accordingly the seat belt pretension work to secure the occupant in the upright position avoiding any sudden damaging force to the spine.
  • Lane keeping aid: audio warning signal on detection of driving out of the lane according to the lane marking on the road.
  • Rear collision warning if somebody is trying to impact from behind. It prepares the cabin for impact. Blinking the indication lights rapidly, securing the occupants by tightening the seat belts.

The vehicle systems are simulated for all global real accidental situations. Built to almost every situation and anticipation backed up by intelligent computer system.

“This model can be used by every auto maker to benchmark safety standards.”