Volvo XC60 Crossover - City Safety

By Riyad Emeran



Obviously Volvo is well aware of the potential for whiplash in situations where the driver and passengers are not expecting to be brought to a halt, so City Safety will only exert up to 50 per cent of maximum brake force. Of course this could mean that impact still occurs - depending on how close the other car is, and how fast the XC60 is travelling - but even if there is contact, damage will be significantly reduced due to the automatic braking.

I had the opportunity to try City Safety out for myself, and I have to say that I was very impressed. Jumping into an XC60 I drove it directly towards a stationary (albeit inflatable) vehicle at a speed of around 10mph, which is about what you'd be doing in slow moving traffic. As soon as I got close to the stationary car, the XC60 employed its brakes and brought us to a halt. Even when I upped the speed close to the 19mph limit of the system, the car still managed to call time before I hit anything.

The strange thing about testing a system like this is how unnatural it feels to drive towards an impending accident, consciously ensuring that I took no measures to avoid it. This wasn't lost on the my passenger from Volvo who advised me to look out of the side window, so I didn't notice the accident that was about to happen. How ironic, considering that's the exact excuse I was given by the guy who drove into the back of me!

The other area where City Safety will be a serious boon, is when you're queuing up at a roundabout. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been waiting behind someone at a roundabout and watching the flow of traffic - when a large gap in the traffic appears, I often assume that the car in front has moved off onto the roundabout, only to realise that they're still stationary. Luckily I've never driven into anyone at a roundabout, but I know plenty who have, and quite simply, those accidents wouldn't have happened with a system like this in place.

Those clever laser sensors aren't only used for City Safety either. Another system that's new on the XC60 is Pre-Prepared Restraints, which will get both the seatbelts and airbags ready for an impending impact, if the laser sensor detects one. So, seatbelts will tension and hold the passengers tighter against the seatbacks, thus ensuring that there is less chance of whiplash, while the specific airbags for the point of impact will be made ready before that impact occurs, again reducing the possibility of injury to the passengers.


November 19, 2008, 2:30 pm

Nope, don't get it. Sorry!

Paul Howard

November 19, 2008, 3:12 pm

Cars? If I want to read about cars, I'll read a car based site. Up until now i've been happy that since your take over this site has remained true to itself an infact improved with the addition of video reviews. BUT, cars....? Stick to what you know chaps and chapesses


November 19, 2008, 4:04 pm

@Ben and Paul Howard - lighten up. Everyone is different and every review will be of interest to some but not to others. I liked the review - good to see a car review focusing on the technology and not just on how fast it goes, which is largely irrelevant to most real world driving situations.


November 19, 2008, 4:20 pm

@John, it would have been a bit more interesting if there was actually some new technology in there. I don't know about you/others, but the only thing I hadn't heard of was the warning that you're about to impact the car in front and, I'm sorry, but if you're driving forwards and not looking forwards then you deserve to crash anyway!

The first page talks about engines, ffs. And "fetching design"? Come on, Riyad, who are you trying to kid with that!

TR can be a general reviews site, sure. Review food blenders for all I care. But if you're going to go that way then do it properly - don't just throw in a car review of some ugly Volvo. Personally, I think it's a mistake and should be taken down :)

*notes that all the Google ads he is seeing are now for bloody Volvo's*


November 19, 2008, 5:22 pm


I'll let Riyad respond to your other points but I just want to make one thing clear, Googlads are automatically generated based on the content of the page. So, we'd fully expect all the adverts to be for volvos.

Martin Daler

November 19, 2008, 5:59 pm

A brave move Riyad, but then "the same as we did yesterday" has never been a model for ongoing business success in a dynamic environment.

Anyway, I was pleased to see a car review which doesn't spout on about the feel of the steering turn-in, whatever that is. Car magazines write off a whole billion dollar car development budget because they slate a car for some mumbo-jumbo which none of us has a clue about, least of all the reviewer. At least Riyad has focussed on some specifics here which are real, not ethereal. Maybe tone down the advertorial bits and hold your views about the looks of the car. I think some in-depth reviews of car-tech useablity and performance would be a good idea. I mean, why pass up the opportunity to review a new satnav system just because it doesn't fit in your poocket?


November 19, 2008, 6:11 pm

You should have just printed the brochure and saved yourself the trip.


November 19, 2008, 6:25 pm

@Martin - I agree, there's a way to write an article about car technology. This wasn't it.


November 19, 2008, 6:48 pm

The stuff about the technology in the car was good, and I rather enjoyed it. (Some pretty cool stuff in there.)

I'd trim out more of the review of the actual car though. I know you're a bit of a petrolhead Riyad (like me), but it just feels a little weird on TR, that's all.

Tommy K

November 19, 2008, 9:06 pm

i dont believe cars, no matter how technologically progressive, should exist on this site.

my 2 pence.

Craig Turner

November 19, 2008, 9:34 pm

I think the review is very relevant and well done to Riyad for taking a chance! Gadgets, Gizmos and Girls all in one place. Well except the girls, but thats on other websites. I'd certainly like to see more of them, as long as the technology in them is relevant to what we read/want on this site.


November 19, 2008, 9:55 pm

An interesting new approach to reviewing something new, however I quite enjoyed it.

Nobody could expect TR's first review of an entirely new product to be perfect, especially as that product is a car, but I rather like the idea. I don't really care for car reviews, but I enjoy reading about various technologies.

At the end of the day, if I see something on the website that doesn't interest me, I don't click on it. I see no need to act upon a self-concept and force the assumption that I believe the site's content is catered for me in the comments I write.

If you're not interested, don't read it.


November 19, 2008, 11:27 pm

I like the fact there is still a broad range of tech being reviewed on this site. (more washing machines and microwaves please!)

I would like to hear more about the reliability of the technology though. If i bought this car and didnt have a garage, would the sensors lose accuracy? same with dirt. Although you should keep your car relatively clean, do all these sensors pack in once it gets a bit dusty? Would it be a problem if driving in heavy rain, snow or dusty conditions?

Is the tech standard on the car! Or is it one of the hundreds of optional extras?


November 19, 2008, 11:56 pm

It's something completely new and interesting - a new angle for a diverse site. Well done for taking the initiative and giving a new angle.

For all you ney-sayers - if you don't like it, don't read it! You're not forced to click it. I bet half of you wrote to the BBC to complain about Russel Brand as well...

jay 3

November 20, 2008, 1:17 am

This is my 2 cents worth.

I liked the review. It stayed true to what I think TR is trying to do and that is reviewing NEW Tech and giving some insight on the usability of said item. This could have been a copier with all kinds of features or some kind of game interface (controller) but it was a car. It is not the end of the world just because TR reviewed a CAR. It might be if they reviewed a washer and dryer.

Matthew Hunt

November 20, 2008, 1:27 am

Interesting piece but I do hope this is an exception rather than a rule, I read Trusted Reviews for the tech not car reviews. I appreciate that the Volvo contains some clever technology but if I want to read reviews on cars then I would head for a car mag or a Top Gear video.


November 21, 2008, 12:09 am

Thanks guys!

I’ve been out of the office these past two days, and I purposely didn’t check these comments because I wanted to see what everyone had to say. I expected there to be some strong views on this one, and whether TR should be moving in this direction. As with anything, you never know if it’s the right thing to do until you try it and see what happens. So that’s what we did.

I think that it’s important to remember that when I started TR it was very IT focussed, and there wasn’t a TV, camcorder or mobile phone in sight. All those things came with time, as I decided to diversify away from PCs and their related components, into consumer electronics. Obviously I haven’t forgotten about the IT side of things, and I think it’s as important today to be reporting on new tech from the likes of Intel, AMD and nVidia as it was back in 2003.

The idea of covering cars, or more to the point, the technology built into them, is something that we’ve been thinking about for a long time, but haven’t had a chance to experiment with until now. Obviously if we’re covering this kind of thing, we’re not going to ignore the elephant in the room - the subject is, after all, a car. Therefore, even though the focus is on the technology, we still have to at least mention the range, and what variants are available, otherwise even if you’re won over by the clever tech, you’ve got no idea if the car itself fits into your criteria.

@Martin Daler - You’re right, I specifically didn’t spend any time talking about how the car turned in, or whether there was excessive body roll, or anything else to do with dynamic handling, since that’s not the angle I’m after. Don’t get me wrong, I could easily write pages about a car’s dynamics and its raw performance, but I’ll wait until I launch a dedicated car review site for that :)

@Garfee - Funny you should mention washing machines and microwaves, because white goods is another idea that’s been floating around, and one that I think would work very well in the TR model. Having recently been through the hell of having a new kitchen installed, I’m well aware of the fact that it’s almost impossible to find reviews of various kitchen appliances.

And yes, City Safety tech is standard on the XC60.

@Ben - as for doing things properly, it’s a learning process, and it will take time to get things exactly as we’d want them to be. It’s also worth remembering that this piece is a feature based on a launch event and NOT a review - hence there are no scores! Anyone who’s read TR for a while now will know that we do not write a review of something until we’ve had a full production, review sample delivered to us. Then we can spend enough time with the product to write an evaluative assessment and give said product an overall score.

Whether we’ll ever score something like a car is difficult to say though, since we’re really only concerned with one aspect of the whole. Like Martin, I’d like to know if a ٠,000 sat-nav option is any better than a 𧵎 TomTom, and if we had a car in for a proper review, that’s exactly the kind of question we’d be able to answer.

One of the reasons I chose the name TrustedReviews in the first place was that it allowed us to diversify - hence we didn’t have PC or IT or anything else similar in the name, even though that was the main focus at launch. What TR will be covering in a year, two years or five years, is anyone’s guess. But as Martin said, TR won’t just keep doing what it did yesterday.


November 21, 2008, 2:28 am

@Riyad - I get it. As someone who is looking for a new car at the moment, most of the car magazines don't cover the technology that is increasingly part of the cars. And it's important to buyers, you only have to look at how the manufacturers are switching to USB interfaces for iPods from aux inputs to see that. Or how BMW is putting internet access on it's new cars.

But I have a couple of questions, is the sat nav better than a 𧶀 Tom Tom, most of the manufacturer ones don't seem to do full 7 digit postcode searches?

What about iPod integration? Is it an Aux input or USB, can it manage albums and playlists, can you control it through the stereo controls?

And do you think you can manage a review of a VW with the new DVD sat nav/Hard Drive unit :-)!


November 21, 2008, 5:54 am

@Mark - As I said, this wasn't a review as such, more a report from the launch event where I tried to cover enough about the car and the tech inside it to make it relatively interesting. I didn't have the time or opportunity to do thorough testing. Of course if we had access to a car for a week or so, we'd be able to test all the in car tech as thoroughly as we do everything else.

Watch this space...


April 21, 2015, 6:26 am

Here is situation on the reaod

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