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2011 Volvo S60: The car that can't kill?

Posted by Keith Griffin  March 31, 2010 01:34 PM

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(All photos: Clifford Atiyeh/ Staff)

NEW YORK—The 2011 Volvo S60 made its debut today at the New York International Auto Show with interesting words from Doug Speck, president, Volvo North America. He said the “all-new naughty Volvo S60” is going to create a “headache” among the luxury sedan market. Apparently, Volvo is hoping to recreate itself as a company with an edge.

Chief among the new features on the S60, which hits North America in the fall, is its pedestrian detection with full autobrake. An improvement on the laser-based City Safety system that debuted last year on the XC60 crossover, this system senses pedestrian movement and will automatically stop the S60, with a loud warning tone to the driver, at speeds up to 22 mph. Previously, a full stop could only be achieved up to 9 mph.

“At higher speeds, the focus is on to reduce speed as much as possible to avoid fatalities,” Speck said, citing a 2007 NHTSA study that reported nearly 4,700 pedestrians killed each year on U.S. roads, about 11 percent of all traffic fatalities. The company, in its utopian vision of an accident-free future, has said it would work to convince insurance companies to reduce premiums on Volvo cars equipped with such systems.


It's not all safety in the S60. Peter Horbury, Volvo vice president of design, said the sedan is “sculpted to move you.” He could mean that literally with its T6 turbo producing 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. Corner traction control will reduce understeer. The steering ratio has been improved 10 percent and rear-seat passengers get needed knee space.

No pricing information was given. Volvo hopes to sell between 20,000 to 30,000 S60s annually.

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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