2009 Volvo XC90 Offers All-Weather Safety
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The XC90 is equipped for the most important trips you take in it – the ones with the whole family onboard. That’s when you must depend on your car to protect its most precious cargo. That’s when you want to be driving a 2009 Volvo XC90.
The 2009 Volvo XC90 is the brand’s flagship SUV, an acronym some insist stands for “Sport Utility Volvo!” A fine sport utility vehicle the XC90 is, even if Volvo insists on classifying it as a “crossover,” the preferred term for SUVs that ride like fine cars, on a car’s platform instead of a truck’s. Indeed, the XC90 cannot be faulted for its ride. In fact, it is hard to find fault with any aspect of the XC90’s capabilities. This is especially true of the XC90’s safety systems.
Safety is synonymous with the Volvo brand. Offering unmatched safety in its segment, the XC90 comes loaded with protection features. Standard safety features include front, side and side-curtain airbags, an antilock braking system with brake assist, and electronic stability and traction control. One notable feature, especially on an SUV, is the standard roll stability control (RSC), which attempts to stop a rollover once it's started by cutting torque and applying individual brakes.
Sport utility and crossover vehicles ride higher and have a higher center-of-gravity than cars, and that can make them susceptible to rollover accidents. Recognizing this, Volvo set out to maximize the XC90’s resistance to rollovers. Volvo engineers came up with a new gyroscopic inertia sensor that monitors the attitude of the body and the acceleration of it around the roll axis (or, more simply, its rolling motion). As the heart of the XC90's new roll stability control (RSC) system, the sensor processes the data with an algorithm that can differentiate between a true rollover and, say, a rocky hillside trail. When the RSC sensors detect instability, the system interacts with the electronic stability and traction control to apply selective braking and reduce engine power, restoring stability and allowing the driver to maneuver out of danger. Nevertheless, should a rollover occur, the RSC system activates the airbags before the first impact and keeps them inflated for up to seven seconds, enough time for the XC90 to roll four times. Occupants are protected by airbag cushioning throughout the event.
The chance of skidding and rollover is further reduced by the XC90’s electronically controlled Haldex all-wheel drive system that can shift from a normal 95 percent front-wheel bias progressively through to a 95 percent rear-wheel bias if conditions warrant.
Everything else connected to stability is carefully monitored and controlled by electronics onboard the XC90. Noteworthy is the fact that although the seating position in the new XC90 is 6.5 inches higher than in the V70 XC, its center of gravity is only 3.5 inches higher, loaded or unloaded. In other words, the XC90 is among the most roll-resistant sport utilities or crossovers on the road today.
Part of the safety challenge facing Volvo engineers is the fact that other vehicles are on the road. To help prevent the XC90 from coming into contact with the cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles with which it shares the road, Volvo came up with its innovative Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), a camera-based monitoring system that keeps a watchful eye on the “blind” areas along the sides and the offset rear portion of the vehicle. BLIS is an affordable and valuable option on the XC90.
Here’s how it works: A camera mounted under each side mirror looks back at an area, which would be difficult for the driver to see in the side and rearview mirrors. The cameras capture 25 images per second, and by comparing each frame taken, the system reacts to a vehicle within the BLIS zone. If a vehicle is moving toward the Volvo and into this blind spot, a light on the inside door panel glows red. When that area is clear again allowing enough room to change lanes, the light goes off. The system is unobtrusive, but once you learn how to use it, a valuable safety device.
Unfortunately, accidents happen and, should one occur, Volvo XC90 occupants are better protected than most. One of the most important protections is known as “SIPS,” the Volvo Side Impact Protection System. It consists of specially designed structural members of the passenger cabin, reinforcement inside the doors and special side-impact airbags mounted along the outside edges of the front seats. According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), side-impact collisions are now responsible for over 31 percent of all automobile fatalities. SIPS makes you safer.
Everyone knows that neck injuries are common in vehicle accidents. The XC90 is equipped with a Volvo safety system called the Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) that could save your neck in an accident.
The 2009 Volvo XC90’s safety systems will normally be out-of-sight and out-of-mind as they are designed to be. However, even at a subconscious level, you have the reassurance that your family is safer in a Volvo.
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