Volvo claims its new XC60 is one of the safest cars ever made. Fully-loaded with three new advanced driver-assistance features, the replacement for the best-selling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe, is soon to hit the roads in SA.

Volvo’s new XC60 SUV includes three new features intended to keep drivers safe. Steer assist has been added to the XC60’s Safety system, oncoming lane mitigation has been introduced and blind spot indication system (BLIS) has been upgraded.

Pilot assist, Volvo’s advanced semi-autonomous driver assistance system, which takes care of steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 130 km/h, is also available in the new XC60 – as an option.

Makin Ekholm, senior director, Volvo Cars’ Safety Centre, reckons: “All three of these new features represent clear steps in our work towards fully autonomous cars. We have all of the benefits of the safety technology we introduced in our larger 90 series cars in the new XC60. This is fully in-line with our strategic approach to develop automotive safety systems based on real-life, real-road safety. Our vision is that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020.”

Safety Systems

The XC60’s City Safety feature has been updated to include steering support, which engages when automatic braking alone would not help to avoid a potential collision. Steering support is active between 50-100 km/h.

Volvo has also added a system called oncoming lane mitigation, which helps drivers to avoid collisions with vehicles in an oncoming lane. The system works by alerting a driver who has unwittingly wandered out of a lane by providing automatic steering assistance. This system is active between 60-140 km/h.

Meanwhile, the blind spot information system (BLIS), has also received an update to include steer assist functionality that helps to avoid potential collisions with vehicles in a blind spot by steering away from danger.

Structure

Structurally, the XC60 is the fourth model based on Volvo’s in-house developed, scalable, product architecture (SPA) platform. Overall construction consists of 27% mild steel, 8% high strength steel, 24% very high strength steel, and 6% aluminium. Examples of mixed material use come in the form of an inner sill made of DP800 steel (Extra high strength steel) and a two part inner A-pillar with the lower made of Boron steel and the upper composed of DP600 (very high strength steel).

Connectivity

The SC60 features Volvo’s new global connected services programme and its award winning Sensor in-car user interface.

The redesigned Volvo On Call app is now one of the most widespread connected car platforms available today and will soon be available in around 50 countries, covering more than 90% of Volvo Cars’ global sales.

“The role of Volvo On Call has changed from remote car access app to a platform that functions as the main entry point for Volvo Cars’ customers to an increasingly broad selection of connected services. We are at the forefront of this shift in car technology and service provision,” said Volvo’s Bjorn Annwall, senior vice president marketing, sales and customer service.

Repair

Steve Plunkett, Volvo body and paint programme development manager, said, “Volvo is constantly researching accident data that gets collected from our accident investigation team to assist the design and build team in Sweden. Therefore it’s of no great surprise that even though the XC60 is launched less than a year after the S90 and the V90 there are new technologies added already.”

He continued, “Such is the development of new technologies in the product range in recent years that is has just become even more safety critical that a Volvo is repaired within the approved body shop network.

“From the outset we take safety very seriously at Volvo. Our job in the aftermarket is to continue to demonstrate a duty of care to our customers to repair and then prepare any vehicle to behave as designed, in the event of any accident. This means ensuring that safety systems are fully operational. Never before has a VI-approved body shop network been more crucial to our industry.”