I also was rear-ended (Aug 29 2013) in my 2001 V70 - thankfully I was the only occupant. Kids in the third row would have been killed. I was hit by a raised up jeep with a winch on front - common in the Northwest. and a menace to passenger cars. Because of the great anti-whiplash design of the seats, I was fine - no pain or injury (surprisingly). But I want to get the word out that the third row is not safe when you live around trucks and SUVs.
The same thing can happen in minivans if the impact is severe enough. The only way to really avoid car injuries is not to drive, but that's just not possible for most people. Terrible accidents do happen and in may instances are unavoidable. Personally, I've found that car based wagons drive better and in many ways can avoid potential accidents better than minivans. My family has both a wagon and a minivan and nothing beats the mini at hauling lots of stuff and people in comfort, but our wagon sure is better to drive.
We've put our kids in there from the time they were out of a carseat and they've loved it.
We've never worried about safety - Volvos are made well with safety at the forefront.
Our two boys LOVE that third row (their friends too) even now with our oldest son turning 10,
and the car getting old, we don't want to part with our Volvo because of that wonderful 3rd row.
My husband and I don't want to buy into that SUV mentality - we love the lower profile of
stationwagons and that we can throw our surfboards on the top.
We wish Volvo were still making that third seat - even if it faced forward.