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?

2 Answers 2


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.


The tests aren't supposed to change, but the "Structure and Safety Cage" part of the rating might be more subject to the opinions of the crash testers.

I believe the Euro NCAP tests have gotten harder to score high on over the years.

Take a look at the 1995 Ford Windstar. They gave it a good rating for Structure and Safety cage, and it has 9 cm of center footwell intrusion. The 2003 Windstar actually got worse with 18 cm of center footwell intrusion, and they gave it an Acceptable rating. So the newer model of this vehicle is actually worse, and they rated it correctly. Neither of them should have a good rating in my opinion when you consider the very weak small overlap crash structure.

Ford widened the front end crash structure, probably to help with smaller overlap crashes, but they didn't strengthen the crash structure to compensate for the wider but weaker front end and this is the result.

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