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by Tim Beissmann

Volvo Australia has defended its decision to make its most advanced safety technology optional across its all-new XC90 range.

Volvo’s Driver Support Pack is a $4000 option on all variants in the second-generation XC90 line-up, from the D5 Momentum base model that starts at $89,950 before on-road costs to the flagship T8 R-Design at $122,950.

The package bundles together a 360-degree surround-view parking camera, a head-up display, and the IntelliSafe Assist suite of technologies, which includes adaptive cruise control with pilot assist, lane-keeping aid, queue assist, distance alert, and a speed limiter.

Momentum variants must also be optioned with the $1275 IntelliSafe Surround package to add the Driver Support Pack, adding a blind-spot monitor with cross-traffic alert and rear collision warning to the entry model.

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The Swedish brand famous for its emphasis on safety and its commitment to the goal that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020 insists that a lot of core safety technology is included standard in the XC90.

On the list of standard safety features are City Safety auto braking, driver alert control and lane-departure warning, electronic stability control (and a host of incorporated functions such as roll stability control and trailer stability assist), seven airbags including curtains that extend to the third seating row, road sign information, whiplash protection system, and the world-first run-off road protection that actively adjusts the seats and seatbelts if it detects the vehicle has unexpectedly left the road.

Volvo also claims the XC90 has five times more hot-formed steel than its predecessor, including hot-formed boron steel (the strongest type of steel presently used in the car body industry). Volvo believes its new SUV features more high-strength steel than any of its competitors.

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Volvo Australia product manager Darren Cargill told CarAdvice the brand’s strategy of offering its most advanced safety features in option packs was consistent across its line-up.

Cargill described the features in the Driver Support pack predominantly as “driver assistance” technologies, and insisted all core safety items were included standard in the XC90.

He also admitted there was a need to draw a line in the sand somewhere on pricing, and offering the features in a well-priced option package gave customers the choice to add them in if they desired.

Cargill revealed between 30-40 per cent of Australian customers ticked the box for the full suite of safety systems.

The 2016 Volvo XC90 launches in Australia this week. Read our full pricing and specifications story here, and our first Australian drive review here.




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