Ask a non gearhead on the street (or pub, restaurant, clubs, etc) “who builds the most reliable cars?” and names like “Toyota”, “Hyundai”, “Ford” and “Honda” will crop up. Ask who builds the safest cars on the road and almost certainly, the name “Volvo” will be said.
The thing is Volvo lost their safety crown a long time ago to those 35 hour a week working, industrial action initiating, part government owned Frenchies. Renault. Renault consistently set new standards in safety and crash tests, lapping up praise from Euro NCAP. Some of this technical know-how has even trickled into Renault’s partner, Nissan. The Nissan Qashqai (thankfully renamed Rogue in the U.S., although it wasn’t a big improvement) achieved the highest ever Euro NCAP score. But now, it seems, Volvo is fighting back to regain the coveted safety title.
Germany’s ADAC, the world’s largest automotive organization, has performed a comparison of different automatic speed and distance control systems, commonly called “ACC” – No, that’s not “ACCessory,” it stands for “Adaptive Cruise Control,” get with the program.
Formerly the realm of luxobarges, the frontal RADAR or laser systems that allow you to text in the thickest of traffic, now become common for the middle class. As a pricey optional ACCessory, of course
ADAC tested usability, added comfort, and avoidance of ACCidents.
The Volvo XC60 bested 6 other models (the other models being, the Audi A4, Volkswagen Passat CC, the Lexus IS, the Ford Mondeo and the Honda Accord). In their laudation, ADAC praise that “the Volvo system scores above all due to the fact that it consistently puts its emphasis on accident avoidance. The driver is informed about a danger by a red flashing warning lamp, which is projected onto the windscreen. At low speeds, below 30 km/h, the additional, integrated laser technology called City Safety also recognizes stationary vehicles and in a potential accident situation, brakes in time to stop the car.”
ADAC even heaped ACClaim on a mysterious feature of Volvo’s system, “with the ACC switched off, the driver is efficiently but not disturbingly warned, if below the safety distance.”
Volvo will ACCelerate their quest for beneficial gadgetry. The new S60, which is being premiered at the Geneva Motor Show, will of course have ACC, along with a “world first:”. Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake (snappy name – PDFAB?). This system will brake automatically for pedestrians and can avoid a collision at speeds up to 35kph (nearly 22mph).
Watch out, Renault, the Swedes are in your rear view mirror, but don’t worry, they won’t crash into you. Now, should that deal with Geely ever get completed …