Volvo XC60
Volvo XC60

Think Volvo and you automatically think of safety-conscious motoring and the company asserts that the Volvo XC60 is their safest model yet. And, with so many features to keep its occupants safe, I could spend the rest of this report on that subject alone, so here are a few of the highlights.

Let's start with the Volvo XC60's City Safety technology, which is a 'World first'. According to Volvo's surveys, 75 per cent of collisions take place at speeds of up to 19mph and in half of those cases, the driver was distracted and failed to brake. Even at slower speeds, minor prangs can cause whiplash injuries, so Volvo has developed City Safety to prevent or mitigate the impact.

A laser sensor behind the rear-view mirror can detect objects up to 6 metres away from the front bumper and, should the distance decrease to a certain point without any input from the driver, the system automatically brakes, reduces the throttle opening and the brake lights come on. This happens at the last moment, before the collision and it is reckoned that if the approach speed is less than 9mph the bump should be avoided entirely.

There are three other new safety systems that are seen for the first time in the Volvo XC90: PRS, Pre-Prepared Restraints, which again uses laser sensors to detect imminent accidents and adjust the seatbelts and airbags according to the expected severity of the collision. Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) is self-explanatory but has undergone further development to detect roll rate and increase stability. And last but not least is Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) for better control when towing. Incidentally, the test car came with the optional £469, detachable towbar and Load Compensating Suspension, which adds a further £500.

Standard safety features are a bewildering array of initials, some of which will be familiar to Volvo owners, such as SIPS and WHIPS. Of course, there are the usual suspects: ABS with EBD but in the case of the Volvo XC60 these are joined by Fading Brake Support (FBS), Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), Ready Alert Brakes (RAB), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and … you get the idea. Evidently, braking is big on the agenda and the combined systems work very well, indeed.

In fact the Volvo XC60 has recently been awarded top marks in the new EuroNCAP tests for evaluating the degree of whiplash protection offered by passenger cars in rear-end collisions and a full, five stars for Adult Occupant Protection.

On the subject of awards, the Volvo XC60 crossover has been awarded the What Car? SUV of the Year 2009, so it is more than an SUV with high safety standards. Indeed, the Volvo XC60 is not only good-looking inside and out, it's sporty, too.


Published : 01/04/09 Author : Melanie Carter

Volvo XC60 News

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