Friday, March 28, 2008

Volvo's BLIS

A while ago I blogged about my new favorite car being a minivan - more specifically, the new Chrysler Town and Country. While it's an excellent car, it is more suited for hauling around the family than for use as a commuter. My current commuter, a two year old Chrysler PT Cruiser, is great and I hope to have it for another eight years or so before I start thinking about replacing it. However, after a friends wife got into a car wreck (she was not hurt) and the friends response was "Thank goodness she was in a Volvo!", I started to wonder.

When I purchased my PT Cruiser I was basically thinking about how cool it looked, how roomy it was, and how fun it was to drive. What I wasn't thinking about was safety. So, after hearing about my friend's wife, I started thinking more about safety. For hauling the family around, I'm really happy with our Honda Odyssey. We've had one totaled and everybody in the car was fine (just bumps and bruises). However, what about my commuter car? When it comes time to replace it, what do I want to have? Well, I'm thinking about safety now so I thought I'd look at what Volvo has for options.

I have to tell you, I like the C30. It looks nice, has a 227HP engine (compared to my cruiser's 150HP engine), and still gets 19/29 mpg. What's really cool though, is all of the safety equipment. Not only is the chassis built with safety in mind, but it has all of the air bags you can think of - driver, passenger, side-curtain, etc. It also has traction control, anti-lock brakes, a whiplash prevention system, pretensioners on the seat belts, etc, etc. It also has a feature that I think is really cool. It's called BLIS.

BLIS stands for BLind-spot Information System. It's a little camera mounted in your rear-view mirrors that turns on a warning light when a car is next to your car - in your blind spot. How cool is that!? You're driving down the road and need to change lanes, you can just check you mirror, do a head check and you've got a BLIS light to let you know if you missed anything. That's technology working for you.

So am I saying should everybody run out an get a Volvo? No. I'm saying that I think safety should be a far larger factor in a vehicle purchase than it is. Most companies (and people) seem to put safety as an afterthought and I don't think that's right (even though I've been guilty of it). So I'm not saying you should buy a Volvo - they are a bit expensive - but you should consider the safety options in the vehicle you're looking at as well as being aware of what options are out there.

Let's all be safe out there.

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