Volvo XC60: Safe as your houseBy Charles E. Buban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Let’s face it, we cannot be a safe driver all the time. There will be moments when our attention will be lured away from the road by our ringing mobile phone or a scantily-clad model on the highway billboard.
And even if we’re focused on the road, what about the other drivers who may not be as attentive as we are?
So this writer was thrilled after being handed the keys to one of the world’s safest and most technologically advanced vehicle—the 2011 Volvo XC60.
Safety being Volvo’s calling card, the XC60 beats competitors by offering one of the most comprehensive suites of active and passive safety features you’ll find on any vehicle.
This is one vehicle that we should all be driving if we want to drastically bring down road accident figures.
The XC60 is the first vehicle in the world to offer a crash avoidance and mitigation system (Volvo calls this the City Safety System) that works to help avoid rear-enders at low speeds, primarily during bumper-to-bumper traffic situations.
The reason behind this technology came from the fact that 75 percent of all collisions take place at speeds under 30 kph. Volvo researchers found that in half of these cases, the driver failed to hit the brakes or did so too late.
Employing infrared laser sensors and a small camera mounted behind the base of the rear-view mirror, the City Safety measures the distance of the vehicle or any obstruction in front. If that distance became too close and if the driver still fails to notice this, the system will initiate the braking action autonomously.
Detects and reacts
This writer was informed that the City Safety is activated once the XC60’s sensors located in the front bumper get within 5.5 meters from the vehicle or any obstruction in front.
The system will work flawlessly—preventing costly crash—as long as the speed difference between the XC60 and the one in front is less than 15 kph. If the difference gets faster than 15 kph but not faster than 30 kph, the City Safety may no longer prevent the contact but at least, reduce the severity of the collision.
City Safety could also react even if the obstruction is stationary, say an unlighted road repair sign.
Just remember to always clean the XC60’s windshield and bumper area as the City Safety’s ability to detect may be hampered by dirt (heavy fog, as well as heavy rain, could also have an effect).
For speeds faster than 30 kph, the XC60 activates another system that warns of potential collisions (brakes is also activated automatically). Called the Volvo’s Collision Warning with Brake Support, this is basically a high speed version of City Safety.
For someone willing to spend as much as P4 million, no amount of automotive safety technology would be convincing enough if the vehicle doesn’t look luxurious.
I know looks are subjective, but the P3.8 million 2011 XC60 (the price of the 2.4-liter D5 turbodiesel variant I drove) got that right styling and is arguably the pick of the bunch in a segment that includes such distinct lookers as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Land Rover LR2 and Mercedes-Benz GLK350.
The XC60 may be similar to the XC90 style-wise, but compared with its bigger cousin, it sports a shorter, rounder proportion, unique nose with a trapezoidal grille and bolder Volvo emblem as well as a unique wrap-over LED tail lights.
Overall, the Volvo XC60 is a sporty looking vehicle with an avant garde styling treatment.
Its 205 horsepower diesel engine features an electronically controlled turbocharger, advanced multi-point injection technology, as well as a powerful engine management system.
What is impressive about this diesel engine is the fact that its considerable torque (420 Nm) works perfectly with the XC60’s all-wheel drive system. Power is transferred to the wheel(s) with traction in an instant and could simply crawl over inclines. With a 23 cm ground clearance, it is high enough to avoid unnecessary scrapes underneath.
On smoother roads, the 2011 XC60 2.4L D5 turbodiesel is relatively quiet and stable. When driven aggressively around corners, a number of safety systems are activated, indicating that one system or another is working to make the trip a lot more stable and safer.
Nothing beats driving a premium SUV that is both safe and stylish.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=17213