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by Tim Beissmann

The Volvo V40 has scored the highest ever overall safety rating from Euro NCAP, making the Swedish manufacturer’s all-new hatchback one of the safest cars in the world.

The V40, which is scheduled to go on sale in Australia in the first quarter of 2013, set new records in two of the three crash tests and matched the maximum score in the safety assist category on the way to an overall five-star safety rating.

 

Contributing to the Volvo V40’s record-breaking 88 per cent pedestrian protection score is its world-first under-bonnet airbag system, which detects when a pedestrian has been struck, lifts the bonnet to absorb some of the impact and deploys an airbag to cover the base of the windscreen and the A-pillars.

Euro NCAP said the system worked well in its independent test, with the bonnet and airbag offering good protection in all the areas likely to be struck by a pedestrian’s head.

The V40 is also available with a pedestrian-detecting autonomous emergency braking system as an option, which applies the brakes automatically if it determines a pedestrian is likely to be hit by the car.

The new Volvo V40 benefits from the most advanced version to date of manufacturer’s City Safety autonomous braking system, which now operates at speeds up to 50km/h (up from the previous 30km/h limit offered in more expensive models).

Scoring a new benchmark of 98 per cent in the adult occupant protection test, Euro NCAP’s data revealed the V40 offers good protection to the knees and femurs of front-seat occupants across a range of different body sizes and good protection to all body areas in the side barrier impact. It was awarded maximum points in the more severe side pole test, and the seat and head restraints were found to provide good protection against whiplash in rear-end collisions.

The V40’s lowest rating was in the passenger protection test, where it scored 75 per cent. Despite Euro NCAP’s finding that both dummies were properly contained by the shells of their restraints, minimising the risk of contact with parts of the car’s interior, the V40’s score trailed a number of other vehicles, including the smaller and less expensive Renault Clio, which achieved an 89 per cent score in the same round of testing.

The V40’s record-breaking Euro NCAP results come follow the larger Volvo S60’s class-leading performance in the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) new small overlap frontal crash test earlier this month.




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