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Discussion Starter #1
I have always wondered why SUV manufacturers (except maybe Mercedes) have not given the THE STRENGTH OF THE ROOF STRUCTURE the most important place in the overall safety of the SUV, taking into consideration that the most likely accident in an SUV would be a rollover, considering that an SUV's higher center of gravity could, at the slightest provocation, make it rollover in an infinite number of scenarios (hitting a curb or pothole, tire blowout, side impacts, even sometimes an "angular" impact from the rear etc.). Yet another reason to so importantly emphasize the roof structure strength would be the fact that SUVs are substantially heavier than cars, in general, and their roofs have to bear much more weight and could be crushed even more easily, especially if the vehicle is thrown "with force" onto it's roof!!

I'm extremely impressed with Volvo's approach to safety in this regard. However, with more than likely subpar reliability it would probably not be a choice for me, but I really wish Japanese manufacturers such as Lexus and Acura would take a similar approach! :(

Here's the link to the impressive article:

http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=04621349

On a sidenote, I think there should definitely be some sort of standardized testing of roof structures, especially for SUVs (similar to the IIHS offset), or maybe even a goverment rollover testing of some sort for all SUVs.......wonder why something so important to SUV safety does not already exist?? :confused:
 

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Vic,

As you say, until we have an adequate testing methodology in place, WE DON'T KNOW THAT THE XC90 IS ANY BETTER OR ANY WORSE than other comparable SUVs. The demo certainly *looks* impressive, but then again, Volvo has always been extremely adept at MARKETING safety.


So, for sales purposes Volvo wants to say the XC90 is something it really isn’t and then prove that it’s safer than the vehicles that really are what it isn’t. Isn’t marketing fun?
 

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Re: Re: Very, very impressive - XC90 safety-roof structure!!

donsev said:
...until we have an adequate testing methodology in place, WE DON'T KNOW THAT THE XC90 IS ANY BETTER OR ANY WORSE than other comparable SUVs. The demo certainly *looks* impressive, but then again, Volvo has always been extremely adept at MARKETING safety.
More than that, is the question of what ANY rollover testing proves. Vehicles sometimes do roll, but not in the manner that Volvo is testing. I don't thing that "de facto" SUV's HAVE to roll more frequently than other types of vehicles. The center of gravity and moment of inertia CAN be located well below where it would cause a problem. There are lots of solutions to increasing stqatic & dynamic stability. Wen any vehicle ends up rolling it is usually moving FORWARD pretty darned fast, or fallingf downa pretty steep angle...

Now, a nice strong "safety cage" is a good thing, but it ain't the be-all and end-all of safety. If a car has lousy driving dynamics & power it ain't very safe.

I think BMW was running ads about its safety features, and the close was "and the best thing about the safety is that won't be the first thing on your mind." I like that idea. Don't shove "look how unlikely it is that you'll be crushed like a bug" in my face. Make the vehicle handle well, be stable. It is also nice when it is reliable, a good value etc Haven't heard about a Volvo tha measures up there...
 

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I agree that rollover dynamics can vary, and it's hard to compare vehicles.

But I don't think it takes away from the impressive demo. Let's see other manufacturers demonstrate their vehicle in similar fashion. The demo at least gives an idea of how strong the roof structure is in the XC90.

I know it's easy to be skeptical given Volvo's past attempt to doctor its commercials, and how it overmarkets its safety. But with the lack of actual rollover testing, I'll take their demo (in front of autojournalists) as a lot more proof than I've seen from most other manufacturers.

Volvo and MB are two of the few manufacturers that demonstrate their vehicle's rollover capabilities through various tests. One can call it marketing, but one could also call it having the capability to demonstrate in the first place.

MB did an impressive commercial (the "Staying Alive" one) where it showed the ML being rolled over this way and that. Lexus copied the commercial, except for one part: they didn't show any rollovers. Couple that with the two sets of bad photos I've seen of RX300 rollovers (too bad PhotoPoint went down with the dang photos, I wish I had saved a copy), and, while the evidence is circumstantial, it sure is interesting.

MB also frequently shows photos of their vehicles resting on their roofs or just one A-pillar. You don't see photos from other manufacturers like that. You'd think if someone else had a roof that strong, someone would try to show a similar photo in the brochure.

Now, believe me, one doesn't buy the vehicle simply on rollover performance, and the XC90, like the ML, will have its own positives and negatives. But speaking from the pure perspective of a rollover, I'd rather be in an XC90 or an ML than an Explorer, an RX300, and an MDX as well.

As far as the XC90 being safe in other ways, I'm sure it will be. It has whiplash protection, stability control, bi-xenon headlamps, side curtain airbags for all three rows, Night Vision, etc. I'm sure it won't handle as well as an X5 but I'd expect it to handle well.
 
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