The fact that Volvo's main reputation was built on safety is now common knowledge to pretty much everyone, and it's also a bit of an understatement. Almost each person who hasn't been living under a rock for the last 50 years can most categorically say that “car safety” equals “Volvo”. Because of this, when the Swedish launch their newest model with the tagline “The safest Volvo in history”, you're kind of bound to expect that car to be as safe as a Kryptonite suit during a Superman-gone-bad attack.
The newly-launched XC60 compact SUV/crossover is based on the Volvo P24/Ford EUCD platform, the same one that can be found under another Swedish crossover, the XC70. So, a higher, wider but shorter XC70 that isn't quite a station wagon on stilts. Volvo themselves say that it “shares some technology” with other products from the Swedish car brand, which is another way of saying that once you “peel” an XC60 you're bound to find a smaller (or a bigger, in our case) car underneath.
Them saying that the XC60 is the safest Volvo in history is of course raising some obvious question marks. Taking into account it uses almost the same safety features that are to be found on almost any other modern Volvo, what does it have to make it so special? Well, they call it the “City Safety” concept.
Considering Volvo=car safety in most languages, the Swedish manufacturer somewhat lagged behind in the development of safety features involving laser or radar-based crash sensors a la Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe or Lexus' Pre-Crash System. With the launch of the XC60 crossover they've reduced that lag to a more acceptable level by adding the “City Safety” feature as standard.
Not to be taken exactly as it's being advertised, the system uses three lasers mounted on the windshield just in front of the interior rearview mirror to scan the road ahead and inform both you and the brakes if a collision is imminent with the vehicle ahead. Well, contrary to what the commercials might have made us to believe, the system doesn't quite makes the car brake by itself in those advertised situations. But more on that later, in the safety chapter of our test drive.
We drove the Volvo XC60 D5 with the Summum trim level specifications, minus some not-so-vital features such as the front passenger seat with electric adjustment. Apart from the ragged-ol' horse dynamics of the diesel engine, this seems to be a pretty good buying choice in the premium crossover market.Continue reading