Motoring / Motoring News

Glen Hill
7 minute read
21 Aug 2013
12:00 am

Sweden’s superb Sixties

Glen Hill

Volvo's prime focus on safety goes back to their beginnings, but it would be hard to say the same about design and attention to detail.

Enhanced City Safety. City Safety is now active at speeds up to 50 km/h and keeps an eye on traffic in front with the help of a laser sensor that is integrated into the top of the windscreen at the height of the rear-view mirror.
The car automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops - or if the car is approaching a stationary vehicle too fast.

It has not, however, taken them long to get up to speed and the latest incarnations of their 60 series S, V and XC prove the point. This is not to say the safety focus has in any way diminished, they remain committed to achieving no fatalities or serious injury in a Volvo by 2010.

But as safety is increasingly becoming a factor of technology rather than brute strength Volvo designers have relished the aesthetic challenges that are so important to global success.

They have not strayed from their Scandinavian roots, with the designs, particularly the interiors, uncluttered, functional and loaded with the latest safety technology.

The launch drive took place in Cape Town in wet and rainy weather, perfect for a Volvo. The miserable conditions outside were quickly contrasted by a warm and welcoming interior. There are upgrades such as new upholstery colours, new wood inlays, a new headliner, and silk metal frames around the air vents and light controls but the dash is, in fact, cleaner than before – which is saying something as the previous version was hardly messy.

covering your back. Cross Traffic Alert uses the radar sensors at the rear end of the car to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from either side when reversing out of a parking space. This is especially helpful in tight and crowded areas where the side view might be limited due to infrastructure, vegetation or other parked cars.The function warns of traffic up to 30 metres from the car. Smaller objects like bicycles and pedestrians may also be detected, but not always and only at a sho

covering your back. Cross Traffic Alert uses the radar sensors at the rear end of the car to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from either side when reversing out of a parking space. This is especially helpful in tight and crowded areas where the side view might be limited due to infrastructure, vegetation or other parked cars.The function warns of traffic up to 30 metres from the car. Smaller objects like bicycles and pedestrians may also be detected, but not always and only at a sho

 

The front seats are broader and more comfortable than before and, in the case of the V60, the rear seats can be folded down in three 40/20/40 segments, so that the rear 430 litres of load space can be supplemented quickly and easily. There is also a two-stage integrated booster cushions for children.

With one simple movement, the booster cushions pop-up from the seat base providing a comfortable and safe ride height for children from three years old and upwards. It is hard to understand why, after experiencing a Volvo V60, why the “staion wagon” design generally is so underappreciated.

It is incredibly practical and, certainly in the case of the Volvo range, has no real disadvantage over the sedan. Not even when it comes to styling.

The XC60 has been slightly “urbanised”, from a styling point of view at least. To South Africans this may seem like a strange decision route given the XC designation, but I was not aware of this having any practical implications for its rough road capabilities.

The most noticable change is that the black exterior trim has been removed so that the XC60 is now all one body colour. The other changes are largely in line with those of its siblings.

Corner Traction Control now comes as standard in the new Volvo XC60. This torque vectoring system helps the driver avoid understeer by applying just the right amount of brake force to the inner wheels while powering the outer wheels when accelerating out of a corner.

An optional Hill Descent Control and its 230mm ground clearance allude to the all-wheel-drive Volvo’s off-road abilities.

The XC60 can be matched to the T6 three-litre petrol engine producing 224kW and 440 Nm and using a six-speed automatic Geartronic transmission, or the Direct-injected T5 two-litre GTDi (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) which makes 177kW and 320 Nm and uses the six-speed Powershift dual-clutch transmission. For diesel fans there is a choice of the five-cylinder D5 turbo diesel with its 158kW and 440 Nm and Geartronic box or the D4 at 120kW and 400 Nm.

 

New Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection technology. New advanced software, including more rapid vision processing, has now made it possible to extend Volvo Cars' present detection and auto brake technology to cover certain cyclist situations as well.

New Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection technology. New advanced software, including more rapid vision processing, has now made it possible to extend Volvo Cars’ present detection and auto brake technology to cover certain cyclist situations as well.

 

The D4 has either a six-speed manual or Geartronic transmission.

The S and V ranges have even more complicated engine lineups with an equally complicated nomenclature so if you are confused, join the club. Essentially the T-designations are the force-fed petrol engines, while the D-designations are the turbo diesels there being no naturally aspirated derivatives. Gearboxes are all six-speed available as manual, Geartronic – a conventional automatic – or Powershift, which is a dual clutch automatic like the well known DSG.

The three-spoke steering wheels can now be equipped with paddle shifters for cars specified with the automatic transmissions.

Volvo’s Adaptive Digital Display is now available across the Volvo 60s range. This active TFT (Thin Film Transistor) crystal displays the most important information in any given situation, assuming the driver has selected the appropriate theme.

The Elegance theme is the base mode, while the Eco theme features a green background illumination and shows an Eco meter on the left. The current and accumulated fuel consumption figures are displayed – and the driver is rewarded with a green E light when eco-driving is optimal.

The Performance theme has red background illumination and the one I drove in all the time because it made everything feel warmer and drier than it actually was. The idea, however, is actually for a sporty atmosphere. In the centre, a rev counter scale replaces the speedometer displayed in the Elegance and Eco versions.

Vehicle speed is shown digitally in the centre of the display. The right display includes a power meter – a gauge that informs the driver how much power is available and how much power is being used at any given time.

Driver Alert Control is one of the many technological safety features packed into the new 60 series Volvos. Designed to detect and warn tired drivers the sytem consists of a camera, a number of sensors and a control unit.

The camera continuously measures the distance between the car and road lane markings. The sensors register the car’s movements.

The control unit stores the information and calculates whether the driver risks losing control of the vehicle. If the risk is assessed as high, the driver is alerted via an audible signal.

A text message appears in the car’s information display, displaying a coffee cup symbol to advise him or her to take a break.

There is also road sign information which supports the driver by displaying speed regulation signs in the instrument display. This feature can also be combined with the Speed Alert function, which provides the driver with a visual warning in the speedometer if the speed limit is exceeded.

The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) incorporates a Queue Assist function on cars with an automatic gearbox which maintains the set gap all the way down to standstill, a great asset in slow-moving queues.

Sensus Connected Touch is now available as an aftermarket option across the Volvo 60s range and could prove extremely popular when new Telecommunications Minister Yunus Carrim’s promised improvements to broadband connectivity are available.

Sensus turns the seven-inch display into a state of the art infrared, beam-scanned touch screen that can be used even when wearing gloves. Connection is made either via a car-mounted 3G/4G dongle or the driver’s mobile phone.

With Sensus Connected Touch, the user has access to full Internet browsing (except when driving), internet streaming of music, internet radio (TuneIn and Orange Live Radio) with thousands of channels from all over the world, on-line (Google) Map and Search, Embedded Connected 3D navigation, weather information, a number of native and web applications, App Store for new functions and updates and a service locator.

It is also possible to share a WiFi network with everyone in the car. The voice-activated system works on all music sources connected to the Volvo Sensus Connected Touch.

The Volvo 60s are clearly cars at the cutting edge of technology, now all we need is for Telkom and company to catch up.

Volvo offer four different trim levels in Essential, Excel, Elite and, coming later, R-line. This makes for over 50 different price combinations across the three body types bearing the 60 designation. These start with the S60 T3 Manual Essential at R329 600 and stretches to the XC60 T6 Geartronic AWD Elite at R600 600.