Press Releases

2005 Volvo V50 - Safety

All-New Volvo V50



Sportswagon with class-leading safety, vibrant design and exhilarating to drive

  • Volvo Intelligent Vehicle Architecture (VIVA) - a unique approach
  • New, patented front structure with several crumple zones
  • Innovative use of four steel grades interacting for optimal deformation
  • Side-impact protection system design is similar to the Volvo S80
  • Frontal design with integrated protection for other road users
  • Strong seats help to reduce the risk of injury in rear-end collisions
  • 34 percent increase in torsional rigidity compared with the Volvo V40
  • Unique Intelligent Driver Information System - IDIS
  • Keyless Drive - a keyless locking/unlocking system
  • Volvo On Call

The all-new Volvo V50 is a sportswagon that is exhilarating to drive, flexible to use and exciting to look at. What's more, it offers class-leading safety - both protective and preventive. It's all part of Volvo's Intelligent Vehicle Architecture (VIVA).


Like the all-new S40, the Volvo V50 has a very stiff body, a patented front structure and a comprehensive interior safety system, creating a vehicle with excellent safety characteristics.


The all-new Volvo V50 also sees the introduction of Keyless Drive (delayed availability), a keyless locking/unlocking system with well-planned functions to add even more convenience to an already very functional car.






Crumple zones with innovative use of steel


"Our newest models, the all-new V50 and S40, have been developed to comply with rigorous safety targets," says Ingrid Skogsmo, director of the Volvo Cars Safety Center.


In a collision, the preconditions for efficient deformation are extremely important. As the collision forces are absorbed within the car's structure, the properties of the various materials must be exploited to the maximum. This helps to maintain the integrity of the passenger compartment.


The frontal body structure of the all-new Volvo V50 is divided into several zones, each with a different task in the deformation process. The outer zones are responsible for most of the deformation. The closer the collision forces get to the passenger compartment, the less the materials deform.


"The objective is that the passenger compartment act in a predictable manner in most types of collisions," explains Ingrid Skogsmo.


In order to give each zone the relevant properties, the quality of the steel varies. An innovative utilization of four different steel grades is employed. In addition to conventional bodywork steel, three different grades of high-strength steel are employed: High Strength Steel, Extra High Strength Steel and Ultra High Strength Steel.


This zonal system enables the collision forces to be absorbed in a highly ingenious and effective manner and is an important part of Volvo's Intelligent Vehicle Architecture. Each zone is summarized below:


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 easily replaced and 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 optimized 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.


Back-up zone


The section of the member that turns outward toward the A-pillar is designed to act as a barrier for the passenger compartment and as a backup to help reduce deformation. The design also helps minimize 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.


Three-way attachment


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.


Small, Light, Inline, Multivalve (SLIM) engines contribute to crash safety


Efficient packaging has enabled the 2.4-liter and 2.5-liter inline engines in the all-new Volvo V50 to be made 7.8 inches slimmer and almost 1 (.98) inch shorter. As a key factor in VIVA, these engines are installed transversely. Their reduced width creates more space between the engine and passenger compartments. In a collision, the engine can be pushed 5.9 inches to the rear before the crankshaft comes into contact with the cross-member near the bulkhead.


The all-new Volvo V50 also has an interior safety system design that is patterned after the Volvo S80.


The steering column can be deformed up to 5.5 inches. When deformed, the steering column moves horizontally, to provide the optimal airbag position for this vehicle.

Other safety features that are shared with the Volvo S80 include:

  • Collapsible pedals
  • Dual-stage airbags
  • Seat belt pretensioners for the front seats and rear outboard seats
  • Force limiter for the front seat belts


Side Impact Protection System


The all-new Volvo V50 is 2.2inches wider than its predecessor, the V40. This creates added space for deformation in a side-impact collision. In other respects, the all-new Volvo V50 has the same type of side impact protection as the Volvo S80, with SIPS (Side Impact Protection System), side-impact airbags and inflatable curtains. These curtains are also designed to provide enhanced protection in the event of a rollover, by deflating more slowly (approximately three seconds) than the front airbags.


The side airbags are larger than those in the V40 model, to provide additional protection at hip and chest height.

Several features help to make the body stiffer and reduce side penetration:

  • The reinforced, transversely-installed tubular beam between the A-pillars
  • The strong, rigid SIPS-tubes in the seats and the deformable steel box in the center
  • The diagonally-installed beams made of Ultra High Strength Steel in the doors
  • The B-pillars which have been significantly reinforced and are dimensioned to help provide enhanced protection


Rear-end collisions


The all-new Volvo V50 is also designed to provide enhanced occupant protection in a rear-end collision.


Volvo's system for avoiding neck injuries - WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) - is one of the most effective on the market. In the event of a severe impact from the rear, the seat backrest and head restraint accompany the movements of the seat occupant's body.


The seats and backrests have a particularly robust design. They are designed to withstand loads from items such as unsecured luggage. At the same time, they are designed to yield in severe collisions in which a balance between strength and flexibility is important for occupant safety.


"Our seats are far sturdier than those that are usually found in most of the vehicles in this segment," says Ingrid Skogsmo. "This is particularly important in a five-door model with its additional load capacity."


Protection for other road users


The all-new Volvo V50 has a frontal design with clean, smooth surfaces and rounded corners. The aim is to 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 hood and front fenders are designed to absorb energy. This helps to reduce the risk of head injuries. In addition, the new SLIM gasoline engines leave a generous 2.8 inches of free deformation space between the cylinder head and hood.


Built for children too


Like other Volvo models, the all-new Volvo V50 has been developed with children in mind. The safety structure of the body and the interior safety systems are designed 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 outer rear seat positions are equipped with ISOFIX attachment points for child seats (Warning: Never place a child seat of any type in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with a passenger side airbag. Volvo recommends that all children under the age of 12 be properly restrained in the rear seats at all times).




Stable driving properties


The body of the all-new Volvo V50 is 34 percent stiffer than that of its predecessor, the Volvo V40, thanks to advanced body design. This torsional rigidity helps produce stable, predictable handling. Additionally, with its wide track and long wheelbase, the all-new V50 displays exemplary driving characteristics.

  • The front track is 60.4 inches (2.9 inches wider than the V40)
  • The rear track is 60.8 inches (2.8 inches wider)
  • The wheelbase is 103.9 inches (2.9 inches longer)


The suspension is independent all around, with spring struts up front and a multilink system at the rear. The rear suspension helps to counteract any tendency to skid.


The all-new Volvo V50 comes standard with STC (Stability and Traction Control) anti-spin system and can be fitted with DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control), which helps correct the progress of the car if it displays any sign of starting to skid


The all-new Volvo V50 T5 will 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.


Effective brakes


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.


Projector-type headlamps


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 beams 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 all-new 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 the right position, makes for safer driving. In this respect, the all-new Volvo V50 continues this 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 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.


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 - such as a bulb indicator - is held back.


IDIS is standard on all versions of the Volvo V50. 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 all-new 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 all-new Volvo V50 can, for example, be equipped with laminated side windows, an unusual feature for a car in this segment. Laminated glass is extremely difficult to smash and provides enhanced protection from break-ins.


Keyless Drive - keyless locking system


The Volvo V50 can be specified with a keyless locking/unlocking system (delayed availability). This makes it possible to open 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 Authorization Device) within reach, in his pocket, for example. It is also possible to activate 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. Following are a few examples of the features that Keyless Drive offers:

LOCKING AND UNLOCKING THE CAR - You use either a PAD in the same way as the standard remote control (by pressing the buttons), or the button on one of the front doors or the tailgate.

CUSTOMIZING THE PAD - It is easy to adjust the PAD to enable you to open all the doors and compartments/hatches at the same time or just one specific door (or the tailgate or petrol cap).

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU LEAVE THE PAD IN THE CAR - It immediately becomes passive and the car is then impossible to lock, unless you have another PAD in your pocket. If this happens, no one can open the car in any case. The PAD inside the car does not become active until it is outside the car again.

TURNING ON THE ENGINE - The engine is turned on using a knob on the instrument panel. For safety reasons, the clutch and brake pedal 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 it happens when the car is stationary, it is not possible to continue your journey. For safety reasons, the car can, however, be driven a very short distance.


Other security functions


The locking system (the standard key-based system) is extremely sophisticated and offers a wide range of personal settings:

  • Unlocking of doors - all the doors or only the driver's door
  • Automatic locking of the doors after walking away
  • Turn signal indicator blinks when unlocking or locking - with an option to cancel
  • Variable timing for follow-me-home and approach lighting - 30, 60 or 90 seconds
V50, Safety, 2005
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