The 2012-MY Volvo XC60.

The 2012-MY Volvo XC60.

ARLINGTON, VA - The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) studied a collision avoidance feature on the Volvo XC60, called City Safety, which reduced the total number of low-speed crashes drivers experienced when compared with similar vehicle models. Volvo stated that the system is standard on the S60, XC60, 2012 XC70, and S80.

The study showed that individuals filed 27 percent fewer property damage liability claims for being hit by vehicles that had this technology, compared with vehicles without this type system.

The HLDI said that XC60s in the study had fewer claims, but when owners did seek payment under property damage liability, the average claim cost was $3,058, which is higher than in the control groups (other mid-size luxury SUVs and other Volvos). Paradoxically, this higher payout shows the system is working. Because the system prevents collisions that are typical on busy roads, XC60 owners aren’t getting into as many low-cost collisions.

Because the feature is preventing the kinds of fender-benders drivers get into on busy roads, XC60 owners aren't filing as many low-cost claims (those less than $1,500) as people who drive other midsize luxury SUVs. The frequency of high-severity claims ($7,000 and higher) was about the same for the XC60 as it was for the control vehicles. HLDI said the frequency of high-severity claims, those for $7,000 or more, was roughly the same as it was for the vehicles in the control group.

Volvo’s City Safety system automatically brakes to avoid a front-to-rear crash in low-speed driving conditions. It uses an infrared laser sensor built into the windshield to monitor the area in front of the SUV when traveling at speeds of about 2 to 19 mph. It detects and reacts to other vehicles within 18 feet of the XC60's front bumper during both daytime and nighttime driving. The City Safety system doesn't alert the driver before it engages, it brakes at the last instant if the driver doesn't react in time, according to the HLDI.

HLDI looked at how often claims are filed, also known as claim frequency, and claim costs, also known as claim severity. Researchers examined claim frequency and payouts in three categories of auto insurance coverage, which include property damage liability, bodily injury liability, and collision.

HLDI said it is currently studying other collision-avoidance systems to determine their effectiveness.