The New Volvo XC90 Crash Lands Like A Helicopter

Yes, you read that right. If, for whatever reason, a Volvo XC90 leaves the Earth and comes crashing back down, perhaps Dukes of Hazard style, Volvo has designed a way for it to take the impact just like the UH-60 “Black Hawk”helicopter.


Well, when I say “just like the UH-60 ‘Black Hawk helicopter,” I mean sort of like the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The XC90 doesn’t exactly create lift under it’s own power (excluding hitting a massive jump) like the helicopter does.

The “Black Hawk” in particular is extremely effective at “hard landings,” with the aircraft’s landing gear being designed to adsorb extreme impacts under not-ideal, falling-out-of-the-sky situations. The pilot and passengers’ seats are also specially designed to minimize the impact force on the individual’s spine and organs.

As you can clearly see in this clip from Fifth Gear, if the Volvo XC90 somehow finds itself off road in the “flying through the air” sort of meaning, it’s designed to take the majority of the vertical forces upon impact with the ground and dissipate them through the wheels, body, and seats to avoid injuring the passengers, and jellifying things like organs, brains, and spines.

We actually covered some of this test earlier, but as demonstrated in the clip, the Volvo uses it’s gyrometer and accelerometer, among other sensors, to detect that it’s in a ditch even before the two-ton SUV even makes lift-off. The car then braces the occupants for impact by tightening the seat belts automatically, aligning the person in the seat for the optimum impact position.

When the Volvo collides back down, the wheels are designed to crush under a certain amount of force, helping to minimize the energy going into the cabin, sort of like a vertical crumple zone.

Illustration for article titled The New Volvo XC90 Crash Lands Like A Helicopter
Illustration for article titled The New Volvo XC90 Crash Lands Like A Helicopter

As the vehicle rocks around, various airbags erupt in sync to keep as many body parts where they should be during the commotion.

The Volvo’s seats are also specially designed to reduce the vertical impact force of crashing back down, minimizing injuries to the spine and reducing the reactionary movement of the organs and brain, just like that fancy helicopter tech.


Hitting a ditch and launching into the air in a giant metal box going over 50 mph never looked so comfy; but seriously, be safe out there.

Volvo’s announced goal to prevent any deaths from accidents occurring in their vehicles is seeming less and less ridiculous when you see just how serious they are about keeping you, your loved-ones and your passengers safe.


What’ll they think of next?



Contact the author at


Sean Hodgins

I love seeing the rims break. Ever since the “small frontal overlap” test so much work has been put into rim designs that absorb impacts by breaking. Its cool if you ask me. Brittle aluminum snapping in a controlled way.