Steane Klose | Oct 22, 2008

Anyone getting the feeling that cars are suddenly harder to sell? A deluge of announcements over the past week have announced equipment upgrades and even pricing downgrades for a number of manufacturers. Subaru, Toyota and now Volvo. But, if you're in the market, the news is all good.

Volvo has announced new levels of standard equipment offering improved comfort and convenience across its 2009 model range, in addition to bolder Volvo identification on the rear of all models to present a universally consistent theme - in line with that introduced on the new XC70 and V70.

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In addition, Lane Departure Warning with Driver Alert Control (a first in Australia) join the options list on S80, V70 and XC70 models for $2,075, while Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) becomes standard across the entire range.

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"Real life safety is the key to our safety philosophy. When it comes to preventive safety, we have the same approach as when we develop protective systems. In other words our research and technical development focus is on areas where new technology can create significant results in real-life traffic,” said Jan Ivarsson, Senior Manager Safety Strategy and Requirements for Volvo Cars.

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The Volvo XC90 Executive now features as standard massaging front seats that Volvo claims will "help ward off fatigue and discomfort during long trips for both the driver and front-seat passenger".

The same seats also incorporate power adjustment, as well as individual memory settings on the driver’s side. Buy the V8 XC90, and seat heating and ventilation are added to the mix.

Audiophiles haven't been overlooked, with the XC90 Executive gaining a "sweetened" high-fidelity experience with the standard inclusion of Volvo’s Dynaudio Premium Sound system, complete with 12 speakers and six-stack CD player.

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Also standard are bi-xenon headlights with washing system, rain sensor wipers and, on 3.2 and V8 models, Volvo’s Interior Air Quality System (IAQS) is also standard, incorporating dust and pollen filters as well as an active charcoal filter.

You can read more about Volvo's Lane Departure Warning and Driver Alert Control systems by clicking on the 'press release' link below.

Safer driving with Lane Departure Warning and Driver Alert Control

For the first time in Australia, Volvo's new Lane Departure Warning system will be offered with the added benefit of Driver Alert Control, which helps the driver to ward off fatigue via audible and visual alerts.

Lane Departure Warning with Driver Alert Control begins to operate at speeds exceeding 65km/h. A digital camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror monitors the movement of the vehicle between the lane markings to detect any signs of inconsistent driver behaviour. The Driver Alert Control function is activated if the system detects signs of reduced driver alertness, it conveys an audible warning, as well as a message displayed on the instrument panel, to advise it’s time to 'Take A Break'.

The Lane Departure warning function activates an audible alert if the vehicle moves out of its lane without the driver activating the indicator.

Volvo’s approach is supported by statistics that show drivers who fall asleep at the wheel cause about 100,000 accidents in the USA every year. This results in an annual toll of 1,500 causalities and more than 70,000 injured drivers and passengers.

DSTC Dynamic Stability and Traction Control standard on all Volvos

Volvo’s DSTC system employs elements of the anti-lock braking and traction control systems with a yaw sensor to monitor whether the vehicle is staying on the line chosen by the driver.

If, for example, the car is travelling on a wet road and begins to run wide on a corner, the system will selectively apply the appropriate brakes on any of the four wheels to help keep the vehicle on the chosen line. The system will also selectively apply corrective braking if it begins to move into oversteer. As well, DSTC will reduce the engine output if the front wheels begin to spin, further assisting in keeping the vehicle on track.

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