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Volvo Cross Country - the right car on slippery roads


For Immediate Release

Volvo Cross Country - the right car on slippery winter roads


ROCKLEIGH, NJ -- Bad weather tests machine and driver to the fullest. Getting a hand up is what the Cross Country is all about.


The new Volvo Cross Country has the right characteristics to help ensure maneuverability and safe driving, even in the worst of winter weather.


Mother Nature plays a dark, cold, snowy, icy hand during Swedish winters. Bad weather is quite an incentive for Volvo engineers to design good winter characteristics into each car.


The basic idea is that Volvo cars should retain their driving pleasure and driving safety, even during the winter. A Volvo must never take its driver by surprise. This applies on road surfaces of all kinds, from dry asphalt to challenging, icy winter mountain passes.


The obstacles presented by winter driving can be divided into two main groups: maneuverability and driving safety. The new Volvo Cross Country is fully prepared to help the driver tackle both of them.


The increased ground clearance, 8.2 inches, creates a better starting point when driving in snow. Higher ground clearance helps to prevent the car skidding on the road surface and enables the four driving wheels to obtain a safe grip that's as best possible.


The smooth, automatic all-wheel-drive is the most important factor when it comes to the new Volvo Cross Country's top-class maneuverability on winter roads.


Swift, smooth transmission

The AWD (All-Wheel-Drive) system that is used in the new Volvo Cross Country is basically the same as the one that was used in the previous generation; a system which primarily drives the front wheels (95% front and 5% rear during normal driving conditions). However, as conditions change power can be shuttled to the rear wheels (up to 5% front, 95% rear) via a viscous clutch. The range between front and rear is almost infinateably variable - if necessary, all most full power can be transferred to the rear wheels or the front wheels. The new version does, however, ensure a more rapid transfer of power to the rear wheels, should this prove necessary. An added feature is that the viscous clutch has a locking system to automatically transfer power to the rear wheels when the car is put into reverse - all-wheel-drive in reverse.


The system also features four-wheel Traction Control System (TRACS), which means that, if the wheels on the right-hand side of the car start to slip on a patch of ice, these wheels are braked and the left-hand wheels help to propel the car forward. One advantage, as far as TRACS is concerned, is that the system intervenes in an extremely balanced fashion. TRACS is activated from starting and up to speeds of about 50 mph.


This system is so effective that the old rule that says that the best way of avoiding wheel spin is to get the car off to a slow start when moving off on slippery surfaces no longer least to Volvo's Cross Country.


With the Volvo Cross Country, the driver should instead accelerate, whenever necessary, in just the same way as when pulling away on a dry surface. AWD and TRACS then smoothly combine forces and responses to help take care of everything else.


The swift transmission of power to the rear wheels that is produced by the modified AWD system can create a small degree of oversteering if the driver accelerates really hard. So, when starting and driving in situations in which the car is moving slowly and heavily - in deep snow or driving uphill, for example - the principle is not to be too heavy on the accelerator.


Deals with deeper snow, steeper hills and more slippery roads

"To summarize, it would be true to say that the new Volvo Cross Country is able to deal with deeper snow, steeper hills and more slippery roads than a standard car, first and foremost as a result of its high ground clearance, all-wheel drive and TRACS," says Lars Erik Lundin, business project leader at Volvo Cars.


Needless to say, AWD and TRACS also help to improve driving safety, especially when cornering and overtaking, when drive on all four wheels counteracts the unpleasant small skids and bumps that can be produced by strips of snow.


The other cars from Volvo's large platform, the Volvo S80, Volvo V70 and Volvo S60, also have top-class winter characteristics. All these models can be specified with STC (Stability and Traction Control) or the more advanced DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control).


STC and DSTC provide greater control

STC is a traction control system, which automatically ensures that the driving wheels receive exactly the right amount of power to help retain a firm grip on the road. The system functions independently of the speed and works individually on each wheel with the aid of the ABS system and by reducing engine torque.


DSTC has been described as the invisible hand that keeps the car on the road - an active traction control system which automatically stops a skid by braking one or more wheels. Using a number of sensors in the car, the actual behavior of the car is compared with the ideal behavior and corrections are then made accordingly, depending on what is needed to retain control, even on slippery surfaces.


" STC and DSTC help to improve both maneuverability and driving safety on winter roads. However, it is important to stress that not even the most sophisticated traction control system is able to compensate for the laws of nature. So safe winter driving is first and foremost a question of caution and adapting your speed to match the prevailing road conditions," says Lars Erik Lundin.





Daniel Johnston


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