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VOLVO S40: SAFETY
Volvo S40 offers same outstanding safety as larger models
Volvo's new entry-level premium sedan, the Volvo S40, offers the same high level of safety as its bigger siblings, including Volvo's top-of-the-line S80 sedan, says Ingrid Skogsmo, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre.
Attaining the same safety levels as the S80 in a considerably smaller car is possible thanks to several interacting factors, says Skogsmo, including an extremely rigid body, a new frontal structure and a world-first intelligent system for driver information.
"While we cannot change the laws of physics, our aim of building cars that are the safest in their class applies to all models, irrespective of size," says Skogsmo, who adds that the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, the most advanced facility of its kind in the world, performed about 40 full-scale tests to help ensure that all the S40's on-board components interact.
The frontal structure of the new S40 has been divided into several 'crumple zones' that employ four different kinds of steel to absorb energy at varying rates in a collision. This 'deformation' must occur within a shorter distance in a small car than it does in a larger vehicle, so the various materials' properties must be exploited to the maximum to absorb as much of the incoming energy as possible.
The various crumple rates of the metals ensure that the closer the collision forces get to the passenger compartment, the less the materials deform. The objective is that the passenger compartment should remain intact in most collisions.
In addition, Volvo safety engineers have added a low-speed deformation zone that uses a series of 'crash boxes' that absorb the forces of a low-speed collision without damage to the rest of the body structure. The crash boxes can be easily replaced at reasonable cost.
The new front structure, one of Volvo Car's many patented safety designs, also includes a high-speed deformation zone that uses side members optimized for high-energy absorption. Upper side members provide significant occupant protection if the vehicle should suffer a frontal collision with a higher object such as a truck platform.
Finally, the front structure includes an extremely rigid back-up zone made of extra high-strength steel and a rigid crossmember that helps maintain cabin integrity in a severe crash.
The S40's compact engines contribute to crash safety, too, providing greater space between engine and passenger compartment.
The new Volvo S40 also shares the same type of interior safety systems as found on Volvo S60 and S80 models, including:
All interior safety systems are designed and sized with children in mind, while additional features are included for child booster cushions and rear-facing child seats.
The Volvo S40 has been designed to help provide the highest level of occupant protection in a rear-end collision, too. Volvo's WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) has been proven to reduce whiplash, the most common soft-tissue injury.
From its torsionally rigid body - 68-per cent stiffer than its predecessor - to its stable, predictable and consistent behaviour on the road, the new S40 is also fully equipped with active safety features, including:
Other available safety features include:
And, finally, as well as active and passive safety, the Volvo S40 is designed to provide effective personal security - protection for the car's occupants and their property, both while on the move and when the car is parked.
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