In Detail: More On Vehicle Safety Technology

TRANSLOGIC 57 takes a look at three specific vehicles that are using technology to keep drivers and passengers safe, but we didn't have time to cover everything, so here's a little more info on each of the vehicles featured: 2011 Volvo XC60
Volvo XC60

What's most impressive about the XC60 is that many of the high tech safety features we demonstrate are actually included in the base trim level, with an MSRP of about $33,000. For instance, the City Safety feature that automatically stops the car before a collision during low-speed driving, is part of the XC60's standard features list. Also, stability control, traction control, dual chamber side air bags for hip and chest protection come standard.

The Volvo XC60 also gets high marks from the government when it comes to crash testing. Not only does the XC60 earn an overall five star rating for safety (the highest mark possible), it also earns five stars for front and side impact crashes as well.

Still, some of the features we demonstrated are optional. For example, the Blind Spot Information System adds $700 to the bottom line. Also, the Technology Package includes adaptive cruise control, driver collision warning and lane departure warning at a cost of about $2,000.

2011 Acura MDX
Acura MDX

The luxury division of Honda has made safety a priority as well, but you'll have to pay for it. The 2011 MDX offers adequate standard safety tech, but most of what we show in TRANSLOGIC 57 is optional. The base Acura MDX costs roughly $43,000, which includes four wheel disc brakes with ABS, front and side curtain airbags, all-wheel drive that can split power from side to side for better traction, and a stability control system that can correct for towing. Acura has also built some fairly impressive safety tech into the body and frame of the MDX. Acura says the company's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure "... utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle." The result is that much of the energy from a crash, say in a front end collision, is directed away from the passenger compartment.

Acura's radar based Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) is optional and part of the Advance Package so you can't just opt for the CMBS alone. Beyond safety considerations, the Advance Package provides lots of cool comfort and convenience features: navigation, 10 speaker audio, iPod connection, the multi-view rear parking camera, 19 inch wheels and adjustable suspension are just a few of the features you get in addition to CMBS. Of course, all these toys raise the price of the MDX significantly -- up to $10,000 over the base MSRP.

2011 Infiniti QX56
Infiniti QX56

The QX56 is the most expensive vehicle of the three we featured at just under $60,000. One peek inside the sizable QX and it's easy to see why. Not only is the interior packed with yards of soft leather and lots of metallic trim but the around-view camera system we demonstrated is included in the QX's base price. However, features like intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning and prevention are only available through a $2,800 Technology Package. One safety feature we didn't mention is Distance Control Assist. It alerts drivers to traffic that may be slowing ahead and actually firms up the throttle if you're following another car too closely, making it harder to put the pedal to the metal in an inadvisable situation.

Some tech is designed to make transportation more accessible and affordable, other advances make our cars go faster or use less fuel. Although it might not be as sexy, using technology to keep us and our families safe is perhaps the most notable endeavor of all. Thanks to Acura, Infiniti and especially Volvo for using their transportation technology to save lives.

Click the image below to watch TRANSLOGIC 57: Car Safety Tech:

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