The Bodyguard
Auto Express|October 09, 2019
Volvo is a safety pioneer, but now it offers added security for the rich and famous with its range of armoured SUVs
Tristan Shale-Hester

WEEK in, week out, our reviews team endeavors to bring you the most comprehensive assessments of the latest cars and model variants. However, one factor our reviews don’t tend to consider is how well a car protects its occupants from an assailant armed with an assault rifle and hand grenades.

For the small number of buyers around the world who need to take these considerations into account, though, the Volvo XC90 Armoured would score very well indeed.

Arguably Volvo is most famous for making safe cars, and the XC90 is certainly no exception. In fact, figures released last year suggest that no fatalities have ever been recorded in an XC90 in the UK, while the US-based International Driving Authority describes the Swedish SUV as the safest car in the world.

It’s perhaps for this reason that Volvo has been approached multiple times over the years by businesses wanting to work with the Swedish firm to produce armored cars. Two years ago it eventually agreed to the requests and decided to enter the armored vehicle market.

Now we’ve finally been able to see exactly what Volvo has been working on. In conjunction with German armored car specialists Trasco Bremen, the manufacturer has built a protected XC90, known as the XC90 Armoured, as well as a light-armored version of the XC90 and smaller XC60. We visited the Volvo Studio in Stockholm, Sweden, to get the inside story on both the light and heavy-armored versions of the XC90.

Heavy

The XC90 Armoured was designed with one brief in mind – protection. For that reason, the car has been built to meet VR8 (vehicle resistance level eight) certification, which requires it to be able to preserve the lives of all occupants against attacks from a variety of weapons.

To that end, the XC90 Armoured can resist being shot at with a 7.62x51mm armour-piercing NATO-standard ammunition round, for example. The car can also withstand two DM51 hand-grenades – standard issue for the German military – being set off underneath it, as well as resisting the blast from a 12.5kg roadside bomb detonating four meters away.

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