The Volvo V40, recently voted the safest new car in the world by Europe’s version of our NHTSA, comes in a new variant for the 2013 model year: the V40 Cross Country. Volvo has increased ride height, as well as adding rugged bits like roof rails, skid plates, exclusive wheels and revised front and rear bumpers. The V40 Cross Country is much like the Subaru XV Crosstrek in that it starts life as a standard compact wagon, then adds the ride height, presence and capability of a ruggedized small crossover.
European buyers will see three diesel engine choices along with four- and five-cylinder gasoline engines. AWD will come to the V40 lineup for the first time, joined by a trio of available 6-speed transmissions. With an outstanding complement of active and passive safety features led by Volvo’s City Safety system that can actually prevent low-speed collisions, the V40 earned the highest marks ever awarded in Euro NCAP crash testing.
Volvo has not announced plans to bring the V40, or its Cross Country and R-Design variations, to the United States. American consumers are really losing out, as along with the 2013 XC60 crossover (which is available on these shores), the V40 is the most advanced vehicle the Swedish safety leaders have on offer.
The European NCAP is kind of like our NHTSA, undergoing crash testing to help determine which cars are the safest in the event of a collision. Score one for the tireless safety engineers at Volvo, as the new 2013 Volvo V40 small wagon earned the highest overall safety mark the agency has ever given. Credit Volvo’s advanced suite of new safety technologies, including a pedestrian airbag that causes the rear of the hood to pop up on its hinges, helping lessen impact to the head in a pedestrian collision.
Volvo’s new City Safety technology has been proven to help prevent or lessen the impact of low-speed collisions, with the ability to brake the car, even to a complete stop, to avoid striking another vehicle or other obstacle when a crash is imminent. Add that to Lane Keeping Assist and the Blind Spot Information System and the safety through technology philosophy at Volvo further takes shape.
The V40 won’t release in the U.S., at least not for 2013. For now, the taller and slightly larger 2013 Volvo XC60 is the brand’s most technologically advanced and safe vehicle for sale on these shores. The XC60 comes with City Safety and most of Volvo’s other leading-edge technology.
Volvo will soon debut its white-hot new S60 Polestar production concept, a new high-performance luxury sport sedan both leaner and meaner than the current top-dog Volvo, the 2012 S60 T6 R-Design. The new car will launch to coincide with a Polestar-built S60 track racer all set to compete in the Swedish TTA – Racing Elite League. Both the race and road cars will debut at the Gothenburg City Arena race on June 16.
Polestar Racing has a long history on the track with Volvo models, most recently fielding Volvo C30-based racers in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (winning overall in 2007) and the World Touring Car Championship. The company recently became Volvo’s official tuning division a’la BMW M-Power and Mercedes-Benz AMG, working with the Swedish automaker on a high-performance roadgoing C30 Polestar that never made production. That car featured a 450-horsepower boosted inline five-cylinder.
Volvo has already built at least one S60 Polestar for a lucky customer, and while the new car is officially called a concept, expect it to debut in production form soon with at least 400 horsepower. Watch out, you just got passed by a Volvo!
The car shown here looks to be the production version of Volvo’s new V40 hatchback/small wagon, set to compete with the likes of the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3 when goes on sale as a 2013 model. The leaked photos come courtesy of Polish auto rag Motoryzacyjny, showing a pleasingly and rather effeminately styled hatch with a nose reminding us a little of modern Lexus. The flowing side body creases we’re not so sure about; they look a little like the previous-generation Hyundai Elantra/Azera.
Overall the model should appeal to the Volvo faithful. The V40 will officially debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Safety technology has really taken off in the age of the computer car, and one of the newer technologies finding its way onto the latest luxury cars is the collision avoidance system. Such systems use radar, infrared and cameras to anticipate the event of a crash. The car can then not only warn the driver with lights and chimes but can actually apply the brakes automatically to prevent or lessen the severity of a collision.
The safety leaders at Volvo can now boast that their City Safety collision avoidance system, found on the 2010 and 2011 Volvo XC60 crossover SUVs, actually brings down the likelihood of a crash. Data from the Highway Loss Data Institute showed the XC60 to be 27% less likely to be involved in property damage events than other luxury SUVs, and 51% less likely to be involved in bodily injury crashes.
You may seek to write this off by simply saying that Volvo drivers are more cautious than say, BMW X6 drivers, but the XC60 was also 19% less likely to be involved in an accident than other Volvos. Sounds like the technology’s working. Volvo is now also offering City Safety on its 2011-12 S60 sedans, and 2012 S80 sedans and XC70 wagons.
Similar systems from Acura, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz are found on several models, with more collision avoidance systems in the works from the world’s major automakers.