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Latest safety features enhance protection in 2001 S40 and V40


For immediate release


The new Volvo S40 and V40 arrive in the Canadian market with best-in-class occupant safety, thanks to Volvo Car Corporation's continuous pursuit of improved safety technology.


The 2001 S40 and V40 models boast a long list of Volvo innovations, including side impact protection from the Inflatable Curtain (IC) and Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) side airbags, dual-stage front air bags and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) seating for rear impact protection. No other cars in the S40 and V40 class in Canada offer this array of safety technologies.


Since they were first introduced in Europe in 1995, the four-door S40 and five-door V40 have set a standard for safety that has continued to evolve.


In 1997, they were the only cars to be given four stars in the EuroNCAP safety test. When they were introduced to the U.S. market in 1999, the new compact entries lead the way with SIPS side airbags and WHIPS seating. The 2001 models arrive in Canada with the addition of two of the most recent safety innovations from Volvo Cars: Inflatable Curtain and dual-stage front airbags.


The Inflatable Curtain first appeared on the elegant Volvo S80 luxury sedan in 1998. This unique side-impact protection system is installed in the headliner and inflates downward to protect the head and upper body of front- and rear-seat occupants. It is integrated with the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS), which includes side airbags and a structural design which helps manage the forces of a side impact.


Dual-stage front airbags are a sophisticated refinement of the interplay between the seat belt and the airbag. This 'smart' design uses a sensor to register the severity of an impact and adapts the airbag inflation accordingly while coordinating actions with the seat belt. If the impact is severe, the airbag instantly inflates to full capacity. At the same time, the seat belt tensioner eliminates any slack in the belt as effectively as possible. Then the belt 'gives' slightly to restrain the occupant in a gentle manner before the airbag takes over to complete the safety sequence.


In cases of less severe impact (impact still great enough to cause potential injury), the airbag inflates in two stages: initial inflation to 70 per cent of capacity followed by full inflation one-tenth of a second later. Occupants, particularly those sitting closer to the wheel or dashboard, are protected in a safer, gentler manner. The reduced inflation sequence is also used at lower speeds when the system determines that an occupant is not wearing a seat belt.


Both the dual-stage airbags and Inflatable Curtain are standard equipment in the 2001 S40 and V40. The award-winning WHIPS seats are standard in all Volvo models.


Also standard in the new S40 and V40 is the ISO-FIX attachment for optional Volvo-designed, rear-facing child safety seats. The ISO-FIX design greatly reduces the risk that child safety seats are installed incorrectly.


Three-point seat belts and head restraints are standard at all five seating positions. The outer rear seats can be fitted with integrated child booster cushions for older children, and the split-folding rear seat has been designed to withstand forces exerted by the luggage behind it during a collision.


Like all Volvo models, the compact S40 and V40 integrate individual safety technologies with the overall design of the cars. This holistic approach ensures that each feature works with the safety design of the car's structure to optimize occupant protection.


Active safety, too, plays an important role in the Volvo S40 and V40 models. Suspension enhancements to the 2001 models improve comfort and driving characteristics as well as assure consistent handling over a wide range of conditions. The latest generation of anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) provide superb stopping power. The Dynamic Stability Assistance feature, which monitors and compares the rotational speed of all four wheels and uses the engine management system to reduce torque when it detects a loss of traction, is an available option.


Twin fixed-focus headlamps extend nighttime visibility, redundant taillight bulbs ensure the cars are visible from the rear, and a fast LED high-mounted brake light combine to help improve safety for the drivers of the S40 and V40 and others with whom they share the road.


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Lisa Graham

Volvo Cars of Canada Ltd.



Doug Mepham

MacDonald & Co.


S40, V40, Safety
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