Low-speed deformation zone
The front bumper incorporates a rigid cross-member made of Ultra High Strength Steel. The attachments to the longitudinal members of the body are designed in the form of ‘crash boxes’. They help to absorb the forces generated by a low-speed collision without damage to the rest of the body structure. These crash boxes can be replaced easily at a reasonable cost.
High-speed deformation zone
The straight sections of the side members are made of High Strength Steel, a very ductile grade of material, which is optimised for high energy absorption. This is the zone that accounts for most of the deformation in a collision.
In addition, Volvo has opted to include upper side members in the compact Volvo V50, as they help provide significant occupant protection if the vehicle should collide with a truck platform or a loading pier, for example.
The section of the member that turns outward toward the A-pillar is designed to act as a barrier for the cabin space and as a back-up to help reduce deformation. The design also helps minimise the risk of the front wheel penetrating the interior. The wheel instead helps to absorb the collision forces. This section is extremely rigid and is made of Extra High Strength Steel.
A rigid cross-member connects the A- pillars and lower side members so that they form an extremely rigid three-way attachment on each side. This design plays a vital part in helping to maintain the cabin space in a severe crash.
The new front structure is one of Volvo’s many patented safety designs.
Protection for other road users
The Volvo V50 has a frontal design with clean, smooth surfaces and rounded corners. The aim here is to help reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians and other road users in the event of an accident. Furthermore, the front has energy-absorbing characteristics, including a soft structure ahead of the bumper, to help reduce the risk of leg injuries.
The bonnet and front wings are designed to absorb energy. This helps to reduce the risk of head injuries. In addition, the new, compact petrol engines leave a generous 70 mm of free deformation space between the cylinder head and bonnet.
Built for children too
Like the other Volvo models, the Volvo V50 has been developed with children in mind. The safety structure of the body and the interior safety systems are designed and dimensioned to help protect the youngest occupants as well.
Both rear outer seats can be fitted with integrated child booster cushions for children above three years of age.
The front passenger airbag can be switched off and disabled with a key (available from spring 2004) (not in the USA or Canada).
The front passenger seat is prepared to fit a rearward-facing child seat. It has special anchorage loops for attachment using the safety belt. (Warning: Never place a child seat of any type in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with a passenger side airbag)
The Volvo V50 T5 will also be available in combination with All Wheel Drive. Volvo’s electronically controlled AWD system distributes the torque automatically to help match the road conditions and driving style and is designed to provide more stable, predictable driving characteristics.
The Volvo V50 has extremely effective ABS brakes – with electronic brake-force distribution to the rear wheels and automatic panic-braking assistance – EBA (Emergency Brake Assistance). The front wheels feature ventilated discs. The disc size is adapted to match engine power (diameter up to 320 mm).
The headlamps feature projector-type low beams. The concentrated beam of light is surrounded by a “halo” which helps oncoming drivers judge the distance to the car.
Bi-Xenon gas discharge lamps (GDL) for high and low beam are available as an option.
Additional turn indicators in the door mirrors and integrated side-marker lights in the front and rear lamps make the Volvo V50 easy to see from the side as well.
Ergonomic driver’s environment
A driving position with the correct ergonomic design, with all the instruments and controls in just the right position, makes for safer driving. In this respect, the Volvo V50 continues a renowned Volvo tradition. It has a comfortable, ergonomically-designed driver’s seat, an adjustable steering wheel and a logically laid-out instrument panel.
Steering-wheel-mounted controls for the audio system, cruise control, telephone and RTI (Road and Traffic Information) navigation system further enhance driving safety.
Intelligent Driver Information System
The Intelligent Driver Information System – IDIS – is a new feature in the automotive industry, which has been inspired by fighter aircraft technology. The system helps the driver to avoid being distracted while driving.
When overtaking or braking, for example, signals from the integrated GSM telephone and certain peripheral information are under certain conditions delayed until the situation is calmer.
The IDIS function continuously registers the driver’s activity by monitoring steering wheel angles, acceleration, turn signal function and so on. This information is processed and, at a given activity level, information that is not essential for safety is held back.
IDIS is standard on all versions of the Volvo V50, irrespective of whether or not the car is fitted with an integrated phone.
IDIS is factory-prepared for forthcoming on-board systems for information and communication. The more of these functions the car has, the greater the benefit of IDIS.
Volvo’s holistic view of safety encompasses not just protective and preventive safety, but also personal security. The Volvo V50 is designed to provide enhanced protection for the occupants of the car and their property, both while on the move and when the car is parked.
The Volvo V50 can, for example, be equipped with laminated side windows, an unusual feature in a compact car. Laminated glass is extremely difficult to smash and provides enhanced protection from break-ins.
Keyless Drive – key-less locking system
The Volvo V50 can be specified with a key-less locking/unlocking system. This makes it possible to unlock (and lock) the car and turn on the engine without using a key. In order to do this, the driver needs to have what is known as a PAD (Passive Authorisation Device) within reach, in his pocket, for example. It is also possible to activate all normal remote functions such as follow-me-home lighting and the panic alarm from a distance. As a result, the system offers complete freedom of action and swift access to the car in a threatening situation.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT KEYLESS DRIVE
How do you lock and unlock the car?
You use either a PAD in the same way as the standard remote control (by pressing the buttons), or the door handles to unlock and door buttons to lock the car.
Is it possible only to open the driver’s door?
It is easy to adjust the settings to enable you to open all the doors and compartments/hatches at the same time or just one specific door (or the tailgate).
What happens if you leave the pad in the car?
It becomes inactive when the car is locked. It is then impossible to unlock the car, unless you have another PAD in your pocket. Without an authorized PAD, no one can open the car in any case. The PAD inside the car can be reactivated in a number of ways. The easiest way is to use another authorized PAD to unlock the car.
How is the engine turned on?
The engine is turned on using a knob on the instrument panel (press and turn). For safety reasons, the clutch (manual transmission) or brake pedal (automatic) must be depressed at the same time.
Does the engine stop if the pad is dropped from the car?
Should this happen while driving, you can still continue to drive. However, if the engine is turned off, it is not possible to restart without a PAD.
Volvo On Call with an emergency signal
Volvo On Call is an option in the Volvo V50 with an integrated GSM telephone. In an accident in which an airbag or belt pretensioner has been activated, a signal is transmitted automatically to the CSC (Customer Service Centre), which can immediately locate the car and call for help. In situations in which the alarm has been activated, the CSC also receives a signal and can then inform the police – who can be guided to the scene.
(Volvo On Call is not available in North America and Japan)
Emergency Service System
This is a function in Volvo On Call which ensures that the information that is sent to the CSC is supplemented with information about the type of accident, the severity of the accident, whether the airbags have been activated and so on. This helps the rescue services to plan and design their action in the appropriate way.