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04 September 2012

Volvo's all-new V40 receives highest Euro NCAP safety rating EVER

Words by Christopher Kho | Photos courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation
 
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Each year, cars are ideally designed and built better as they vie for better scores in crash safety tests such as the Euro NCAP. For example, a full 5-star rating was only achievable by large executive German sedans a decade ago; now, small compact sedans like the 2012 Honda Civic can get a similar rating. But, in all of the Euro NCAP's 15-year history, no other vehicle has scored higher than Volvo's all-new 2013 V40
 
Receiving the full 5-stars, the Volvo V40 scored 98% in adult and 75% in child occupant safety, 88% in pedestrian safety, and 100% in its safety assist systems. Putting that into perspective, this small Scandinavian hatchback faired marginally better than the current BMW 5-Series.
 
The V40's 98% adult occupant safety rating is actually the Euro NCAP's best recorded test ever. Remarkably, it scored maximum points in the side barrier impact, and even in the more severe side pole test. This validates Volvo's design goal to build the V40 with the same safety level of larger cars. 
 
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Euro NCAP was also particularly impressed with the V40's world-first Pedestrian Airbag technology. The under-bonnet airbag system lifts the bonnet and deploys an airbag to cover the windscreen and pillars when a pedestrian has been struck. This translates into an 88% score in pedestrian protection - the institution's highest score yet. So why not 100%? Well, their findings commented that the front edge of the hood had poor protection - probably caused by the V40's very curvylicious front end. So position yourself wisely when you're about to get run over on a road by a V40.
 
With the number of active safety systems packed in a Volvo, it's no surprise that the V40 got a perfect 100% in the safety assist category. Besides the Auto Brake, Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Aid, and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Euro NCAP particularly liked its Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and drive-set speed limitation device. 
 
"A fantastic result. We are very proud to have one of the world's safest cars and we're taking yet another important step toward our 2020 target - that nobody should die or be seriously injured in a Volvo," said Thomas Broberg, Senior Technical Advisor Safety at Volvo Car Corporation.
 
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While the all-new V40's 5-star Euro NCAP rating is a testament to Volvo's innovation and relentless efforts to improve passenger and pedestrian safety, we couldn't help but think that, maybe, it's time to put in more stringent crash tests. Currently, frontal crash tests are performed at 64 km/h. But with the 254 horsepower turbocharged T5 engine available in the V40, reaching twice or even thrice that speed is no problem. Yes, crash safety standards might be at an all-time-high compared to the standards set forth decades ago, but you have to remember that most manufacturers these days are making their cars sportier and much, much faster.