Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 08:29:37 +0800
From: Half a Bee <Chrisnospamproof.com>
Subject: Re: Which one of these cars are the safest, and which one should I get?


I won't totally disagree, but hold on a second... > Forget the Volvo; Volvo's reputation for crash safety is overblown, I don't think "overblown" is quite fair. If I'm going to have an horriffic smash (y'know, where an SUV crosses the highway and hits the front corner of my car at 220kmh closing speed, sending me into a spin across 2 lanes of traffic and a rollover into a ditch) , I know what cars I'd like to be in: Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, Saab and at a pinch, Toyota. Minor accidents around town - it probably doesn't matter much. Older Volvos are probably no better than new Toyotas, because other manufacturers tend to follow with near-identical safety systems (Toyota's "Safe-T-Cell" for example) but comparing present model with present model, Volvo wins. But the gap between Volvo and "common" cars is shrinking. The gap between Volvo and the German cars is quite small. What sold me on Volvo? I know that the Volvo salespeople are going to be biased on safety, but my local dealer often has photos of crashed Volvos to view. These are from people who walked away with grazes, bruises and the odd broken bone, and have come in to replace their smashed car with a new one. These are photos of cars that have been hit at high speed by trucks, have run into cows, and have been in head-on accidents with other cars (where the occupants of the other car all died). It's pretty powerful advertising. I'm sure that some other car dealers could do the same (Mercedes, for example). But it all depends on the accident you have. Just hope that you never need that kind of protection. > and the cars aren't that reliable and parts are expensive. Not my experience. All cars have minor problems from time to time. There are plenty of people driving Volvos that have travelled 400,000 to 500,000km that have spent no money apart from regular servicing. > > GM has said that about 95% of a car's safety is in its crash avoidance > ability, but they also found that most people exploited only half of a > vehicle's maneuverability (I have no idea how they defined "half"). > The most important crash survival criteria is probably head injury > (HIC, Head Impact Criteria, expressed on a points scale), but I don't > know what comes next -- chest force, leg force, or side HIC. Yep, that's a weird measurement - half. Sometimes I'm accused of using 150% (-: I agree totally with the importance of avoiding a crash in the first place. It's far better not to ever use features like crumple zones, roll bars, seat belt pretensioners. A heavy, under-powered car with poor steering and bad suspension is more likely to be involved in an accident. Add a poor or nervous driver behind the weel and it's worse. So I'd avoid anything too old (worn suspension) and too underpowered. But if an S80 is on the list of possibilities, I'd say go for it. One of my irritations with Volvo (and all cars in fact) is that some of those active safety systems designed to get you out of trouble (traction control, variable damped suspension and weight distribution etc etc) aren't standard on lower-end models. It costs more. > > Personally, I'd buy the Pontiac/Toyota because it's a 4-door hatchback > with large cargo capacity, but gas mileage is significantly worse > than that of its near twin, the Corolla sedan. Well, don't expect great fuel economy from an S80 (-: Chris

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