I’d rather be hit by a Volvo!


Volvo has built up a credible reputation for safety, but they have gone one step further with the new V40 Hatch.  This time, as well as providing much secondary safety for driver and passengers, they have incorporated pedestrians in the safety package as well.  International statistics would indicate that about 15 percent of the national road toll is pedestrian.

Volvo has just released a new hatchback with the world’s first pedestrian airbag, that pops out from in front of the windscreen and acts as a buffer between the pedestrian and the hard points of the car’s engine and body.

Pedestrian safe Volvo V40.Pedestrian safe Volvo V40.

Volvo’s vehicle line director for the V40, Hakan Abrahamsson, says the pedestrian airbag allowed designers to create a safe car with a low nose and bonnet line.  “We achieved two things, a smart looking car and a very safe car,” he said.

The V40 has a five-star crash safety rating and was singled out for praise by the ANCAP crash authority this year as one of the safest cars on sale.

The V40 is pitched as the world’s most technologically advanced hatchback, with innovations like the pedestrian airbag, customizable digital instrument display and the latest version of Volvo’s City Safety autonomous braking (that now works at up to 50 km/h) but to genuinely attain that ‘most advanced’ status requires the Driver Support option pack that is only available on high-spec Luxury and R-Design variants.

This pack includes adaptive cruise control (which can halt and re-start the car in traffic jams, detect pedestrians and emergency brake to avoid collisions), self parking, road sign recognition (I wonder how it would go with Thai?), lane-keeping assistance, automatic high beam and blind spot monitoring that warns of vehicles in adjacent lanes and can detect vehicles crossing the rear of the car from up to 30 meters away when reversing.

The V40 has four engines, with a choice of petrol or diesel power in both four- and five-cylinder layouts.

The entry-level D2 diesel has a 1.6 liter, four-cylinder engine with 84 kW and 270 Nm, while the 2.0 liter, five-cylinder D4 diesel has much more punch with 130 kW and 400 Nm of torque.

The diesel engines are very frugal, with the D2 having an official fuel figure of 4.2 L/100 km, while the five cylinder diesel uses 4.9 L/100 km.

The diesel engines are available with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, unlike the petrol pair which are only available in auto.

The V40 T4 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter, five-cylinder engine with 132 kW and 300 Nm, while the T5 has a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder motor with outputs of 187 kW and 360 Nm.  There is also an overboost function that gives drivers access to 400 Nm of torque for short periods of time.