- Family safety appeal backed by maximum Euro NCAP rating
- Pedestrians get good deal on the protection front
- Driver aids throw new light on safe driving too
One word that is readily associated with Volvo cars is safety.
As any parent will tell you that is a key consideration when transporting your offspring between school, town and home. It’s a key consideration that Volvo has always played to.
I remember Volvo’s classic advert from the late 1980s that involved a crash test dummy coming to life and driving a Volvo 340 through the window of a second floor showroom to crash onto the car park below, then simply step out with not a scratch on him.
EuroNCAP five star rating
So it’s no surprise to find that the V60 comes with a lot of safety kit fitted as standard. There are a lot of airbags including side ones plus curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, plus front seats work come with whiplash protection while there are two Isofix fixing points in the rear seats. Interestingly, Volvo doesn’t fit knee or side pelvis airbags though.
However, this level of passive protection ensured that the independent safety assessor, Euro NCAP, to award the car a five out of five star rating for crash protection. For adult and child protection the scores were 94 and 82 percent respectively, and even pedestrian safety was given the thumbs up with a score of 64 percent.
Plenty of effective proactive safety systems
The greatest advancements since Volvo’s well known TV ad has been in the area of proactive safety systems. Naturally, there is anti-lock brakes and stability control, but added to these is Emergency Brake Assist (helps prime the brakes ready to apply maximum braking effort if the car senses an impact is pending) and traction control.
Given the some of the slippery conditions encountered this winter and the strong amount of pull the 2-litre diesel engine has, the traction control has stepped in on occasions. It always felt a seamless intervention with the warning light on the dash betraying its need to get in on the driving act.
Automated city safe braking
Volvo’s City Safety system is perhaps the most notable of the standard fit active safety systems. This autonomous set-up monitors traffic in front and if detects a potential impact primes the brakes ready for maximum effect. If the driver still does nothing, the car applies the brakes itself to either avoid the impact, or if travelling too quickly to mitigate the impact.
I’ve never unintentionally used the system, but have tested these systems in a controlled environment. While it is weird trying to make a car crash into an object in front, there is no doubting just how quickly and effectively the system kicks in. If you are not expecting it the full-on braking can feel violent but better that than punching into the back of another car and being left with a large repair bill. Or far worse, someone being hurt.
The active and passive protective equipment is the most obvious safety systems though there are others I think can be added to this list.
Headlamps that bend light and follow you home
The active ‘bending’ headlights swivel to reveal what’s around a corner at night, the electric quick clear windscreen means no driving along peering through a tiny circle of clear glass while waiting for the heater to clear the frost and the so-called ‘follow me home’ headlights.
These are helpful providing some clear headlamp illumination after locking the car while I fish around for my house keys and get indoors before darkness descends.
These may not turn up on official list of safety features but any piece of kit that makes you feel safer in driving or being inside your car, ticks that box for me.
Mileage: 9,897 miles Economy: 44.0mpg