Overview: Volvo V40

Volvo has not had a five-door hatchback to offer in the hugely important C-category since the demise of the 445 in 1997. The 440 and 460 range was designed and built by Volvo N.V. in the Netherlands, the former Daf company; the cars were conservative but highly competent designs, used Renault drivetrains and sold well. Since their passing, Volvo has offered only notchback saloons and estates, a policy which Volvo now concedes has lost the Company a good many sales.

Interestingly — particularly given Volvo’s Chinese ownership — there are no plans to make the V40 a global model. It is aimed mostly at Europe, with the U.K. likely to be the biggest market.

Designed and built by Volvo N.V. in the Netherlands, the 445 was Volvo’s last conventional five-door hatch. A four-door notchback derivative was also available.

So the new V40 is important, enabling Volvo to compete against premium C-category hatchbacks like the Audi A3, Alfa-Romeo Giulietta and BMW 1-series. That Volvo specifically mentions the Giulietta as a competitor is testimony to how well modern Volvos behave on the road and to how seriously the Company takes driving pleasure these days.

In fact, a boast about ‘class leading ride quality and handling’ comes at the very top of Volvo’s press-release for the V40, with the word ‘sporty’ appearing prominently. Special attention (we are told) has been given to handling, steering feel, agility and ride comfort. Volvo engineers believe that the V40 is now the class benchmark for dynamic ‘fineness’.

Volvo V40.

And the point is restated. ‘Driving pleasure was a priority.’ And: ‘We sought dynamic leadership in this class and I’m confident we have achieved it,’ is the to-the-point remark attributed to Stefan Karlsson, Volvo’s Manager of Vehicle Dynamics and Calibration.

Next comes an equally immodest comment about class-leading fuel economy: 94g/km CO2 for the 1.6-litre D2 model fitted with 205-section tyres. And it wouldn’t be a Volvo without some interesting safety features, notably the world’s first pedestrian airbag, which deploys from under the trailing edge of the bonnet.

Safety features have traditionally been at the forefront of Volvo marketing, and it’s interesting that this aspect of the V40 isn’t right at the top of Volvo’s press information. But there is a safety feature which is very much worth talking about: that remarkable pedestrian airbag. This joins the more passive, but no less useful, pedestrian detection system, which applies the brakes if a collision with a pedestrian is predicted. The latter system was first seen on the Volvo S60.

The pedestrian airbag inflates when the car detects that it has hit a pedestrian; the raised bonnet better cushions the hapless pedestrian, and the airbag also protects the pedestrian’s head from the ‘hard points’ at the base of the windscreen and the lower A-pillars.

Volvo V40 pedestrian airbag.

In Europe, 14 per cent. of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians.

City Safety, a system first seen on the XC60 and designed to avoid noise-to-tail urban accidents, has been further developed for the V40. It now works at up to 50km/h (31mph), instead of 30km/h (19mph). Insurance claims involving the Volvo XC60 show that City Safety has reduced personal injury claims by 51 per cent., while vehicle repair costs have been lowered by more than 20 per cent.

Other new safety features on the V40 include a Cross Traffic Alert radar system — this very usefully helps you reverse out of a parking space and ‘see’ traffic coming from the side — and an improved Blind Spot Information System (BLIS). This radar-based system warns of vehicles in the blind spot on both sides, and in addition now warns of vehicles approaching rapidly from the rear.

The exterior of the new car was styled at Volvo’s California design studio in Camarillo by American Chris Benjamin. Interestingly, the V40 is some 29mm lower than a C30 ‘coupé’ — though one of the pleasures of driving the C30 has always been its high driving position, and it’s really more a three-door hatch than a coupé. The rear styling of the V40 is clearly based on the C30, which in turn took its cues from the classic P1800ES of the ’70s.

The cabin design priorities were to give ‘a large car feel inside a small car’. One prominent feature for the driver — an optional extra — is a new TFT (thin film transistor) instrument display; with it, three different instrument displays can be selected, including an ‘eco’ setting to help you drive more economically and a ‘performance’ mode to suit more spirited driving. There is also a more conventional ’elegance’ mode.

The V40 comes with Bluetooth music streaming and hands-free mobile connectivity as standard. Other features are a navigation system with directions in the main instrument cluster, and a mobile app that can find your car in a large car park, lock or unlock doors and even give you a journey log.

We are pleased to see that Volvo has designed the rear seat for two rather than three — though three seatbelts are fitted — so seat comfort in the back should be a cut above the mark.

Following the lead of Kia, and tipped off by Richard Parry-Jones of Ford, Volvo has adopted British B-roads as the ideal environment for calibrating its suspension systems. They are simply so bad that there is no better test of a car’s set-up. Counter-intuitively, Volvo has more engineers working on computer modelling of the suspension systems than on test-driving. In fact, there are only four test-drivers.

The all-new V40 comes with three different diesel engines, and three petrol engines. They include a version of the familiar 1.6-litre Peugeot diesel, which in this installation delivers an excellent CO2 figure of 94 g/km (equivalent to 78.5mpg on the NEDC rolling-road combined cycle), and a 177PS two-litre five-cylinder diesel. The T5 petrol engine, meanwhile, is good for 254PS. All engine and gearbox versions have stop-start systems. Volvo expects the D2 to be the big selling engine in Britain.


The V40 was designed under the leadership of Steve Mattin, Volvo’s then Vice-President of Design. As is usual for new models, Volvo’s design satellites in Camarillo and Barcelona pitched ideas to the head office in Gothenburg. (Since then, a new design studio has been added in Shanghai.) Chris Benjamin’s Camarillo proposal was eventually chosen. Benjamin then spent two years in Gothenburg finishing the car.

Design details flagged up by Volvo include the hemmed wheel flanges, which allows the use of bigger wheel and tyre combinations, and the self-closing fuel-filler pipe.

At 4369mm, the V40 is slightly longer than an Audi A3 or BMW 1-series. It is also a little wider. The drag co-efficient varies from Cd 0.29 to 0.31, depending on tyre and wheel choices.

An exterior styling kit is available. This further improves aerodynamic efficiency. The kit includes deflectors, a twin-coloured rear diffuser, a striping kit and enlarged rectangular chromed tail pipes.

A fixed panoramic glass roof, stretching from the windscreen to the backrest of the rear seats, is available as an option. The roof is tinted to reduce infrared radiation into the cabin. A fabric curtain, under the roof, provides shade, and can be used to block out the sun for part of the cabin. So the rear passengers, for example, can enjoy sunshine while the driver relaxes in shade.

The V40 comes with a choice of 16", 17" or 18" wheels, depending on trim level and customer specification.

Inside, the infotainment system — combining audio, navigation, mobile phone and other functions — is presented on a 13cm or 17cm colour screen in the upper part of the centre console. All functions can be controlled from the steering wheel, or by controls directly below the screen. Volvo claims that it set out to make the controls so intuitive that reading the instruction manual should be unnecessary.

The ‘My Car’ button on the dashboard offers easy access to a wide range of personalised settings for City Safety, Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection, Driver Alert System, Active Cruise Control, lighting, door mirrors, climate unit, central locking and the audio system. If a multimedia audio system is fitted, Volvo’s infotainment system comes upgraded with the larger screen that also displays information and images from the navigation system, phone, reversing camera, DVD player and digital TV.

The Bluetooth connection has been upgraded to allow not only hands-free phone conversations but also music streaming from a Bluetooth-enabled portable music player. Integrated navigation with voice commands is available as an option.

The TFT (thin film transistor) instrument display is new for Volvo and also a class-first. It can prioritise information in emergencies, and also allows the display to be personalised. There are three settings. The ‘Eco’ theme has a green background and includes an economy meter to help you drive as economically as possible. A green light is illuminated when your driving is economical. The ‘Performance’ theme has red background illumination and includes a power meter that tells the driver how much power is being used and how much is available. In this mode, the tachometer is centralised on the instrument display, and speed is shown digitally. The ‘Elegance’ theme has an amber illumination and gives a more conventional dash display.

The instrument display also includes navigation instructions, when satellite navigation is fitted.

The rear seats are shaped for two passengers, with the centre position unashamedly designed for occasional use. We would like to see this reality-based approach adopted more widely in smaller cars. The outer two passengers sit slightly more inboard than usual, further from the doors and allowing greater forward visibility.

Front and rear seat heaters are available. The latter is an unusual Volvo speciality.

The interior lighting is designed to give a ‘theatre lighting’ feel. LED lamps are used to light up ‘strategic’ areas. The driver can enjoy a slightly bizarre red-to-blue setting that adapts the light to the interior temperature, or choose between another seven mood themes. The reading lights front and rear can be dimmed. A transparent, illuminated gearshift or selector knob is an optional extra. There are also LED lights in the door panel storage pockets.

The folding rear seat backrest is split 40/60. There is a hanging load net in the load compartment; a soft safety net is optional, and a metal version is available as an accessory.

The V40 can be equipped with a ‘false floor’ in the load compartment, making the floor flat when the rear seat is folded. In addition to the two permanent hooks, the extra floor integrates hooks for grocery bags. Between the upper and lower floors there is a concealed storage area.


Volvo states and restates its enthusiasm for dynamics, and with some justification. We have emerged from driving ostensibly very prosaic Volvo models quite bowled over by the quality of the chassis. All right, perhaps not the XC90, but pretty much everything else. The Company usually knows what it’s doing with running-gear. In the case of the V40, special emphasis was put into the steering, and the Company is openly confident that the V40 will be seen as more ‘connected’ than its rivals. That’s perhaps a little optimistic, as its rivals include the Giulietta — which now drives as well as it should have to begin with — and (arguably) the Focus. Perhaps very few Volvo buyers would consider the Ford, but the Focus is a fine piece of kit on the road. It’s not impressive inside, though.

Like most new designs, the V40 uses electromechanical power-assisted steering, with an electric motor acting directly on the steering column. The column uses thick tubing and stiff insulation to increase torsional rigidity. The electric steering allows you to choose between three levels of power assistance: in Low mode (meaning low speed or low effort, we presume), the system provides a high degree of power support, making manoeuvring easier. Medium mode has lower power support to offer more road response at higher speeds. High mode is ‘the ultimate setting for the enthusiastic driver’.

Volvo V40.

The electric power steering also allows for the integration of driver-support functions that involve the steering, such as Lane Departure Warning — which vibrates the steering wheel — and Park Assist Pilot, Volvo’s application of the Bosch self-parking system.

We have already mentioned that the dampers are set up using British B-roads as test-tracks. Those dampers include rear monotube units that have compression and rebound damping done by the same valve. This gives shorter, faster fluid flow, which in turn means that the damper responds more quickly.

The Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) system encompasses a suite of driver-assistance functions. The Advanced Stability Control uses a roll angle sensor to identify any skidding tendency at an early stage. Engine Drag Control prevents the wheels from locking as a result of engine braking on a slippery surface. Trailer Stability Assist helps dampen the snaking action that may occur when towing a trailer or caravan: the car is stabilised by braking one or more wheels and by reducing torque.

Corner Traction Control is a new feature. The car’s inner driven wheel is braked if necessary, causing more power to be transmitted to the outer driven wheel. This allows the driver to corner more tightly while reducing any tendency to understeer. This makes it easier to maintain the desired line on winding roads, in roundabouts and on wet surfaces. Corner Traction Control is a huge asset when exiting from a small side road to merge swiftly with faster highway traffic.

The standard V40 comes with what Volvo dubs a ‘dynamic’ chassis, but a ‘sports’ chassis is also available. This lowers the ride height by 10mm and offers firmer springs and dampers.

The V40 comes with four-wheel disc brakes, ventilated at the front. Anti-lock is standard, as are Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Brake Assist (EBA). EBA helps the driver stop in the shortest possible time in an emergency stop: it detects if the driver is in an emergency brake situation and, even if the pedal has not been pushed with maximum force, it applies maximum braking power. EBD varies the braking pressure to each wheel — depending on speed and road conditions — ensuring maximum stopping power under full control. Both EBA and EBD work in conjunction with the anti-lock.


In line with trends towards greater efficiency across the industry, it is no surprise to see that all engines are turbocharged.

The 1.6-litre four-cylinder D2 diesel, a PSA-BMW unit, is expected to be the top seller in the U.K. This engine delivers a CO2 yield of 94g/km in the NEDC rolling-road test régime, which equates to 78.5mpg on the combined cycle.

The D2 uses a two-valve head in combination with piezo-electric injectors. The cylinder block and head are both made from aluminium. Headline outputs are 115PS and 270Nm; the latter is delivered between 1750rpm and 2500rpm. Even at 4000rpm, the engine is still producing almost 200Nm. The D2 is available only with a six-speed manual transmission. Claimed performance figures are a 118mph maximum and a 0-60mph acceleration time of 11.7s.

The other two diesel engines on offer are the five-cylinder D3 and D4. Both have aluminium blocks and heads, and use four valves per cylinder. They are both of two-litres capacity. The lesser of the two engines offers 150PS and 350Nm — the latter figure from 1500rpm to 2750rpm. The flat torque curve means it is still producing over 200Nm at a very rapid 4750rpm.

The flagship diesel, the D4, uses more turbo boost to push maximum power to 177PS and maximum torque to 400Nm; the latter is available between 1750rpm and 2750rpm. At just over 1000rpm, 100Nm is being produced.

The D3 and D4 drive through a six-speed manual transmission as standard; automatic transmissions can be specified.

The D3 and D4 both produce 114g/km of CO2 in NEDC testing with a manual gearbox; combined fuel economy for both engines is 65.7mpg.

The four-cylinder T3 and T4 petrol engines are new-generation units, first shown in mid 2010 on the Volvo S60 and V60. They are compact and made from die-cast aluminium, which reduces weight and improves heat dissipation. The plastic inlet manifold also cuts weight. Both engines use direct injection. The variable valve timing (for both inlet and exhaust valves) and low-inertia turbocharger help torque delivery. In the case of the T4, maximum torque is vailable from 1600rpm to 5000rpm. On the less powerful T3, the maximum torque is developed from 1600rpm to 4000rpm. Interestingly, maximum torque for both versions is 240Nm. The T3 produces a maximum of 150PS, the T4 180PS; top-end breathing capacity separates these units.

The petrol engines come with six-speed manual transmissions only. Quoted maximum speeds are 130mph for the T3 and 140mph for the T4; 0-60mph acceleration takes a claimed 8.4s and 7.3s respectively.

On the rolling road, CO2 emissions are 125g/km for the T3 and 129g/km for the T4. They both qualify for free first year vehicle tax, and are classified in vehicle tax band D.

Late in 2012, a high-performance T5 variant will joins the V40 range. This five-cylinder 2.5-litre 254PS unit uses an aluminium block and head. Presumably for reasons of transmission torque capacity — or lack thereof — this engine comes with automatic transmission only. Acc­eleration to 60mph takes just over six seconds, according to Volvo, while maximum speed is 155mph. Preliminary CO2 results are 185g/km.

All V40 engines meet Euro V emissions standards. They are all fitted transversely, and all drive the front wheels only.


Apart from the usual mix of familiar active and passive safety features comes the world’s first production pedestrian airbag. To complement it is Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, a system that uses a front-facing camera mounted behind the top of the windscreen together with the car’s front-facing radar in the radiator grille. The name is self-explanatory: if the driver does not respond quickly to an audible alarm and flashing red light in the head-up display position on the screen, full braking is automatically applied.

The radar detects any object in front of the car and determines the distance to it, while the camera determines what type of object it is. Thanks to the dual-mode radar’s increased field of vision, pedestrians about to step into the road are detected. The system can detect pedestrians who are 80cm tall and upwards.

City Safety is upgraded and offered for the first time in this class as standard. This helps to prevent low-speed shunts — it works at up to 50km/h. The principle benefit of the system (apart from reducing damage to the car) is avoiding whiplash. The sensor in this case is a laser, mounted along with the forward-facing camera behind the mirror at the top of the windscreen. It can detect vehicles and other objects up to 6m in front of the car’s front bumper. City Safety reacts to vehicles in front that are either stationary or moving in the same direction. City Safety helps either avoid or reduce the severity of the collision by automatically braking the car and reducing the engine power. At the same time, the brake lights are automatically activated to warn other traffic.

For more serious accidents, the V40 driver has a knee airbag — a new feature. The V40 also sees the début of Cross Traffic Alert: this uses radar at the rear corners to make reversing out of tight parking spots safer. Additionally, the Blind Spot Information System has been enhanced.

Cross Traffic Alert: Volvo V40’s rear radar.

The pedestrian airbag technology is certain to be adopted widely. It uses seven sensors in the front bumper to register the contact between the car and the pedestrian. The rear end of the bonnet is released and at the same time elevated by the deploying airbag, which is sited under the trailing edge of the bonnet. The inflated airbag covers the area under the raised bonnet, approximately one third of the windscreen area, and the lower part of the A-pillar.

The raised bonnet, which is made from soft mild steel, helps to absorb the energy from the impact, while the airbag helps to cushion the pedestrian from two potentially dangerous hard points on the car: the windscreen and the A-pillars. The system works between 20km/h and 50km/h (12mph and 31mph).

The most serious head injuries involving pedestrians and cars are caused by the hard structures under the bonnet, the windscreen’s lower edge and the A-pillars. These were the main areas that Volvo looked at when starting development of its Pedestrian Airbag Technology. Each bonnet hinge is equipped with a pyrotechnic release mechanism. When the system is activated, these pull out a pin and release the rear of the bonnet panel. At the same time, the airbag — consisting of a sack and a gas hybrid generator — is activated and starts filling with gas, which only takes a few milliseconds. During the inflation sequence the airbag raises the bonnet by 10cm; it stays in the raised position. The added gap between the bonnet and the hard components in the engine compartment gives space for the bonnet to deform, creating an impact-absorbing volume when it is hit by a pedestrian.

In its inflated position, the airbag covers the entire windscreen wiper recess, about one-third of the windscreen and the lower part of the A-pillars. The entire sequence from activation of the system to full inflation takes a few hundredths of a second.

Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake can avoid a collision with a pedestrian at speeds up to 21mph (35km/h) if the driver does not react in time. At higher speeds, the system will reduce the car’s speed prior to the impact, reducing the likelihood of serious injury or death.

The principle of Lane Departure Warning is now familiar. Roughly 30 per cent. of all accidents in Volvo’s accident database involve cars leaving the road. About 75 per cent. of these occur on roads with speed limits of 70km/h (44mph) or more. The system fitted to the V40 applies steering torque to the steering column when the car gets close to a lane marking and is about to leave the lane. The system is active at speeds between 65km/h (40mph) and 200km/h (125mph) and relies on the forward-facing camera to monitor the left and right lane markings. Lane Departure Warning registers the car’s progress between the lane markings and takes action if the driver shows signs of unintentionally drifting out of the lane.

As a first step, Lane Departure Warning applies gentle steering wheel torque to help the driver steer back onto the intended course. If the car leaves the lane, the technology generates a distinctive warning in the form of a haptic vibration in the steering wheel.

The V40 is the first Volvo to offer the enhanced Blind Sport Information System (BLIS), which is now radar-based. The technology can now monitor and alert the driver to rapidly approaching vehicles up to 70m behind the car. It obviously still does its original job of informing the driver about vehicles in the blind spots on both sides of the car.

Volvo V40 BLIS warning light.

The latest incarnation of BLIS uses radar sensors located in the rear corners of the car, behind the bumper cover. These are the same sensors that control Cross Traffic Alert. The radar continuously scans the area behind and alongside the vehicle. Warnings are displayed in LED indicators located in each A-pillar. A steadily glowing LED indicates when the radars detect a vehicle in the zone. The second warning level — LED flashing — occurs if the driver uses the turn indicator when the first alert is active.

The Cross Traffic Alert, which we mentioned above, warns of traffic up to 30m from the car. Smaller objects like bicycles and pedestrians ‘may also be detected’. The alert, which remains active as long as the target is present in the zone, is delivered to the driver as an audible signal and a warning in the centre screen.

Volvo’s Pedestrian Detection is a development of the collision warning system, which uses the nose-mounted radar to warn drivers if they’re about to hit another vehicle: the brakes are applied automatically if necessary. Unlike Pedestrian Detection and City Safety, this automatic braking technology is designed for higher speeds, such as those encountered on motorways. A radar sensor fitted behind the grille, and the digital camera behind the windscreen, automatically monitor the distance to the vehicle in front. If the vehicle in front suddenly brakes, is stationary, or if you are travelling too close, a red warning light flashes on the windscreen and a warning buzzer sounds. The braking system is also automatically pre-charged to prepare for panic braking: the pads move closer to the discs and the hydraulic brake pressure is increased. If the driver does not react to the warnings and a collision is imminent, automatic braking is applied to reduce the severity of the accident.

As with Pedestrian Detection, this can avoid collisions entirely if the speed differential is below 35km/h (21mph); above that speed, the severity of the impact is reduced. Automatic braking is only applied as a last resort.

Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake was considered the best automatic braking system in the world in a test by German organisation ADAC in 2011. In the all-new V40, auto brake performance at higher speeds has been improved compared with previous versions.

To help the driver maintain a safe distance from the car in front, Volvo offers Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). It uses a radar sensor to measure continuously the distance to the vehicles in front and automatically adapts the speed of the car to help ensure the distance is not too short for safety. This technology also forms the basis of several of Volvo’s other driving and support systems, including Collision Warning and Pedestrian Detection.

Driver Alert Control is a technology designed to alert tired and distracted drivers. It monitors the car’s progress between the lane markers and warns the driver if his or her driving pattern changes in a random or uncontrolled way.

Active High Beam allows you to drive on high beam (if you wish) with the dipping the lights automatically. The digital camera behind the screen monitors other vehicles and their headlamps and tail lamps. Image processing software analyses this data and provides information about the position and direction of other vehicles. It also works in built-up areas, where low beam is mandatory.

Active Bending Xenon Lights ‘see around corners’: Compared with conventional halogen headlights, the V40’s active bending lights — using dual xenon beams — more than double the driver’s range of vision. The lamps are motorised, and can turn up to 15 degrees in either direction, as they follow the direction of the steered wheels. The headlights also self-adjust, maintaining the correct angle to the road, maximising illumination and avoiding dazzle.

Road sign information technology displays road signs in the instrument display. The forward-facing camera detects speed limit signs as well as ‘no overtaking’ signs and the road sign icon is then displayed until a new sign is detected.

Park Assist Pilot is an application of the Bosch self-parking system seen first on the Focus. The system operates the steering (using the power steering motor) while you handle the gearbox and control the car’s speed. The parking manoeuvre is based on front, rear and side-facing ultrasonic sensors.

When the driver activates the Park Assist Pilot, the sensors start to scan the side of the car. When a parking slot measuring a minimum of 1.2 times the car’s length is detected, the driver is notified by an audible signal and advised to stop by a message in the instrument cluster. The display guides the driver step-by-step until the car is correctly parked. When parking is completed the driver is notified by an audible signal and a text message on the screen. The V40 can alternatively be equipped with a rear park assist camera and park assist sensors front and rear.

Seatbelt pre-tensioners are standard in the front and outer rear seats, and the front seats are equipped with whiplash protection to help prevent neck injuries. Both the driver and front seat passenger seat have two-stage airbags. There are also side airbags integrated in the front seat backrests. Additionally, the driver benefits from a new knee airbag, installed in the dashboard above the pedals.

The Roll Over Protection System includes inflatable curtains. These cover both sides, from the A-pillar to the C-pillar, and deploy in frontal offset, side or rollover accidents.

Mobile app.

The owner of a V40 can use a mobile application to stay in touch with the parked car by means of a smart phone. The mobile application is an extension of Volvo On Call, which originally focused on direct access to a call centre in the event of an accident or other emergency.

The mobile app, which is free and downloaded from the application stores, is designed to offer the owner an intuitive, easy-to-use ‘relationship with the car’ from a distance. It includes a number of features.

Car locator. The location of the car is shown on a map. There is also a digital compass that points the driver in the right direction. This is especially useful when your car is left in a large or crowded car-park.

Remote door lock. The status of all doors and windows is displayed, and the driver can lock and unlock the car with a push on the touch screen.

Vehicle dashboard. This feature gives the driver access to a wide range of information: fuel level, remaining range to empty tank, average fuel consumption, average speed, odometer reading and trip meter reading.

Car check. The mobile app performs a ‘health’ check of the car; displaying information about lights, brake fluid level, coolant level, oil level and, interestingly, oil pressure.

Driving journal. Detailed data of each trip during the last 40 days can be downloaded and stored. It is also possible to extract the data as an Excel file.

Vehicle information. Basic car data such as model, registration number and VIN number are stored and can be displayed.

Theft notification. If the car alarm is triggered, the driver is alerted via the mobile app.

Although it looks remarkably like a regular remote control, the Personal Car Communicator can do a lot more than just activate the locks and alarm. A push of a button can, within a few seconds, tell the car owner if the car is locked or unlocked, and if the alarm has been triggered. The information is available and up-to-date as long as the distance between the PCC and the car is 100m or less. In addition, the most recent data is logged so the owner can at any time and any place check whether the car was locked when it was parked.

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