Scoring Safety First
“A hatchback that has it all”
“Top Notch Pedestrian Airbag”
Far away from the Middle East region to the romantic city of Verona where probably many of you visited the famous balcony of Romeo and Juliet, was my destination to drive the all-new Volvo V40. It is the most important model for Volvo in the past two decades. So say the Swedish Execs, and I personally didn’t disagree at all. The V40 has finally scored before other German rivals!
What about the new 5-doors hatchback from Volvo? It will replace the S40 and V50. The plus is that by 2013, the C30 will also be dropped from the line.
When you ask us how a Volvo drives, we simply respond by saying it drives like a Volvo. Robust on the road, firm and accurate on corners, but we must mention the best thing the Swedish automaker will bring in terms of safety.
The new thing that Volvo introduced on the V40 is the pedestrian airbag. Always cautious, right? How does it work? It has an airbag under the bonnet just ahead of the wipers. If the sensors in the front bumper recognize a human leg then the airbag inflates. It lifts the rear of the bonnet clear of the engine and puts a cushion over the base of the front window. At least if you hit a pedestrian on the road by mistake, instead of killing him, his legs might be paralyzed but his head will be safe because of the cushion. The car as well has a pedestrian sensor camera that can call up automatic braking.
Many other features will also be included such as the Park Assist Pilot; the Lane Keeping Aid which will help you very gently to keep your lane if you are out of it; the Enhanced Blind Spot Information System which was also on other Volvo models but has been evolved to a larger distance of 70 meters; Cross Traffic Alert which is quite effective when you are going out from a parkade and crossing traffic from both sides; Active High Beam that switches during the night between low and high beam automatically as needed; Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert, where you can limit your speed at 100 kph and if the traffic slows down in front of you the car will automatically take the distance between both cars to brake and vice versa – this really helps the driver to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. The City Safety which was working at 30 kph is now active up to 50 kph. Whenever you are distracted a bit or a car in front of you has stopped suddenly, the city safety is there to auto brake for you.
The cabin is very relaxed and finishing is almost to Audi standards. The interior features ambient lighting mood, which can be toggled throughout seven different modes, with red-to-blue lighting to suit the interior temperature. Steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, climate control, turn by turn navigation, high standard audio and a smartphone application to control key in car functions are amongst the main tools.
The car’s engine I drove was the T4, 5-cylinders, 2.0 L turbo, producing 180 hp and 300 Nm of torque. But other petrol engines will be available in our region.
It’s certainly a promising vehicle. So in entering the hatchback market, Volvo has gone into the busiest part of the auto market, which has a quite fierce opposition. The main competition will be the Volkswagen Golf which is selling quite well. Others may be the BMW 1-Series, Audi A3 and soon the A-Class from Mercedes-Benz. Volvo is a leader by taking up a mystifying number of safety systems and scored first with its top notch: the pedestrian airbag.