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The Warsaw Voice » Society » January 9, 2008
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Volvo V70 D5 Summum: The Car That Thinks For You
January 9, 2008 By Bartosz Grzybiński   
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The Volvo V70 is a quintessential Scandinavian car-simple in form, functional, modern, and very, very safe.

Customers are influenced by various factors when buying a car. For some, appearance is the most important, while others pay attention to functionality or fuel economy. Everyone is increasingly paying attention to one other factor: safety. For some car makers, passenger safety is an absolute priority. Volvo is one of them.

The new Volvo V70 includes all possible safety features-starting from a reinforced body and special crumple zones to dual-deployment front airbags, a Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) that includes side airbags and window curtains, and a Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) with movable head restraints that protect the head and neck from a rear impact. There is also the ABS system combined with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Control (EBA), and Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), the equivalent of the Electronic Stability Program (ESP).

Though most cars available in showrooms today are equipped with advanced safety systems, Volvo has probably gone farther in this area than any other automaker. Its Collision Mitigation Support (CMS) system monitors the surrounding environment to assess collision risk. The application warns the driver of an impending collision and reduces collision severity by automatically braking the vehicle if an accident is considered to be unavoidable. Another safety system is the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), a high-tech application that helps avoid accidents caused by blind spots. It uses an intelligent digital camera system incorporated into both door mirrors that constantly monitors the area alongside the car for cars or motorbikes, then alerts the driver via an orange light housed in the car's pillar by the door mirror. Yet another safety feature, the Driver Alert System (DAS), is designed to monitor the vehicle's progress on the road and alert the driver if it detects signs of fatigue or distraction. There is also an Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS) that was up to now only used in helicopter gunships. It sifts information transferred by the onboard computer and can stop selected information if necessary-in order not to divert the driver's attention. When the telephone rings, for example, and the driver is busy passing another car, the incoming call is muted. The phone will ring louder again after the system recognizes that the situation on the road is safe.

There is a strong taste of luxury in the V70's spacious interior. The finishing materials are all of top quality, and the vehicle features a large luggage compartment of 555 liters. The shape of the dashboard, and especially the design of the center panel-also used in the S40/V50, C30 and the new S80-have become a trademark of Volvo. One of the most interesting "gadgets" is an electronic handbrake as well as the ignition key. The Swedes have demonstrated that even a plain old key can look interesting... At the same time, placing the ignition high on the dashboard makes it possible for the driver to avoid a knee injury in the event of a collision.

A five-cylinder 2.4l/185 hp Common Rail turbodiesel is one of five engines that are used to power the V70. Its maximum torque is 400 Nm in the 2,000-2,750 rpm range, guaranteeing impressive acceleration. The Volvo takes only 9.2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 kph and achieves a top speed of 225 kph. Despite the sporty parameters of the engine, fuel consumption is a reasonable 8.3l/100 km (6.5l/100 km according to the producer's technical data). This engine works like clockwork and suits the car excellently.

Power is transmitted to the front wheels by a new six-speed Geartronic manual transmission that works smoothly and allows the driver to change gears without the slightest delay or jerks. An all-wheel drive (AWD) system and a six-speed Geartronic automatic transition are also available as an option.

The car's springy multi-arm suspension encourages dynamic driving, especially as the vehicle holds the road superbly because it runs on 17-inch alu wheels and low-profile 225/50 tires. But the problem is that when you negotiate transverse unevenness in the road, a speed bump, for example, an unpleasant noise reaches your ears that cannot be remedied even by the Four-C suspension adjustment system that is available as an option. Even though the suspension can be adjusted for toughness, none of the available modes, Comfort, Sport or Advanced, guarantees adequate shock absorption. This is quite unfortunate, though I must admit that it was probably the only drawback of the new V70-at least on Polish roads-that I spotted during the test-drive.

Depending on the engine and trim level, the prices of the new Volvo V70 start from zl.183,000. Despite this, the automaker began accepting orders for the vehicle long before the new V70 was officially unveiled. Evidently, for many drivers, safety is priceless and Volvo still epitomizes it.
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