I know I’ve only owned my 2004 Volvo XC90 for a little over two years, but in those two years, there have been two things I’ve never seen with my own eyes: 1) a bull on a road where I was driving, and: 2) bull bars on a Volvo XC90. Bull bars, in the same family as brush guards, push bars, and bumper guards, became a popular add-on to pickup trucks (and SUVs) as just another way to make a vehicle look even more manly than it already was (or wasn’t). The bull bars were a way of saying “My truck works for a living” even if it didn’t. Which makes sense because, most of the bars I’ve seen on trucks are chromed and polished and useless.
Furthermore, most of the trucks with bull bars (that I’ve seen) are street driven, so the only bull the owner has a chance of running into is the bulls**t reason they gave themselves for needed bull bars in the first place.
NOTE: If your truck or SUV was is to herd actual cattle or to protect your vehicle from actual brush or to push actual things, this post isn’t for you. Otherwise, think of bull bars as truck nuts for the front of your truck.
Bull Bars On An XC90 Where There Are no Bulls = BS
Not only do bull bars look stupid on your road-driven vehicle, they may also be diminishing its safety features as well. This is especially true with bulls bars on the XC90. The hood of the first-generation XC90 is designed with over 3 inches of space between it and the top of the engine (actual space varies by engine, but 3 inches is the minimum. So if a pedestrian were to impact the hood in a collision, the hood will absorb some of the force of the car-person impact before coming into contact with the mass of the engine.
“It’s a very basic energy-absorption system. The hood is designed to suck up some of the energy so it lessens the amount of force that’s applied to the human body,” said Volvo spokesman Dan Johnston. So it makes sense that, if you hit a pedestrian with an XC90, you want them to either a) get pushed out of the way or b) get moved to the hood where the impact force can be absorbed and injuries diminished. With safety as a top priority, Volvo designed the front-end of the XC90 to be slightly rounded with no squared-off edges. Squared-off corners can inflict greater damage to pedestrians.
Because the engine of the XC90 is low under the hood, the car has a lower center of gravity (increasing stability and handling), and the SUV has a considerable amount of dead space between engine and hood.
Bull Bars On A Volvo XC90 Make A Very Safe Car Very Unsafe
Bull bars prevent these safety features from being effective upon hitting a pedestrian. When you hit a pedestrian or cyclist with an XC90 with bull bars installed, they’re no longer “pushed” aside in a quick and smooth manner. They can get caught up IN the bull bars and dragged. Or worse, they could get pushed under the car where even more damage can be inflicted.
There is simply no reason to have bull bars on the front of your XC90. The design of the bars allows for arms and legs to get caught, increasing the risk of being dragged by the car. Besides, even if you hit a pedestrian and they don’t get caught up in the bulls bars, the design of the bars could push them down under the XC90 instead of to the side or up onto the hood. To me, bull bars just aren’t worth that risk. And back to my original point – I’m still at a loss as to the actual purpose that bull bars would serve on an XC90 that isn’t used on a cattle ranch.
Also, let’s just say for a moment that you DID hit a pedestrian or cyclist and your bull bars caused them injuries that would have otherwise been potentially avoided had your XC90 not had the bull bars installed. How do you think your insurance company would react to that? I bet you they wouldn’t be happy – especially if they had no idea you had installed an aftermarket product that made your really (REALLY) safe XC90 much less-safe. Maybe your insurance carrier won’t cover you. Or if they do, they raise your premiums – or just drop you as a client.
Say No To Bull Bars On Your XC90. Please.
Altering the face of the XC90, in essence, undoes much of the protection Volvo has worked so hard to give pedestrians in the case of an accidental impact. And there’s a good chance that you bought your Volvo XC90 for safety in the first place, right? So why would you undo any of that? Would you be willing to trade the airbag on your steering wheel for a steering wheel that had no airbag….but looked cool? I doubt it. You Volvo doesn’t just keep you and your passengers safe, it keeps people outside of your SUV safe as well. Let’s all keep it that way. Say no to bull bars on your Volvo XC90.