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One can find data on the safety of a car at IIHS' homepage and videos of the tests on IIHS' YouTube channel. These have tests going back many years.

Are the tests consistent across the years? I found, for example that a Volvo from 2007 passed all of the tests and scored higher than a Kia from 2017. Does this suggest that the 2007 Volvo is a safer car than the 2017 Kia, or have the standards for testing been raised such that a comparison across 10 years cannot be made?

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Volvos have a reputation for being safe and including things like impact bars before they were a legal requirement.

Volvo did produce an advert when some manufacturers were advertising their compliance with the side / door impact bars by saying we fitted these for your safety years ago...

That being said the tests have evolved over time as legislation and technology has moved on.

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