Volvo: The Safe Choice, Again?

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
volvo the safe choice again

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 …

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4 of 11 comments
  • Herb Herb on Mar 01, 2010

    Usually, I neither drive drunk nor blinded, so I can't see the point in having such a device. I'm in "alarm mode", already, when I drive. But I do not doubt that thanks to the usual alliance between useless busy bodies and fearful whiners this feature will become mandatory, sooner or later. Waiting for the "unintended braking" incidents I'm saving money to buy a decent old car.

    • See 1 previous
    • Turbo60640 Turbo60640 on Mar 01, 2010

      I agree, jmo. I am a very cautious driver, but was rear-ended pretty hard at a stoplight by a drunk woman. It was around 4PM on a Tuesday, and I never saw it coming. Thankfully I was not injured.

  • Nicodemus Nicodemus on Mar 01, 2010

    "The Nissan Qashqai (thankfully renamed Rogue in the U.S., although it wasn’t a big improvement) achieved the highest ever Euro NCAP score." Whoa, be careful with big statements like that. Post 2009 ENCAP tests use a different protocol to derive the score. The Qashqai was rated in 2007 and would not neccessarily score as highly if rated by the new protocol.

  • FreedMike Eighty grand...good lord. All for a truck I'm probably going to actually use once or twice as a truck.No thanks.
  • SCE to AUX Physically removing it from the cars they service tells me the company sees radar as some sort of hazard, despite their ability to disable it across the fleet via OTA updates. Creepy.
  • Art Vandelay So if it now actually costs less than the competition, where will the usual haters move the goalposts too now?
  • SCE to AUX Change "dog" to "child", and then tell me what mfr's lawyers will permit deployment of an autonomous vehicle.
  • Ravenuer I'd go with the Camry.