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Volvo XC90 Awarded `Best Engineered Vehicle for 2003' Says Automotive Engineering International Magazine

DETROIT, March 3, 2003; Featuring five "world firsts" in the design of its XC90, Volvo engineers sought to design an SUV-like vehicle with superior safety, handling, and emissions performance characteristics.

The end result was Automotive Engineering International magazine's "Best Engineered Vehicle for 2003." The announcement coincided with the opening of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2003 World Congress, March 3-6, in Detroit, Michigan. A Volvo XC90 will be on display in Volvo's parent company -- Ford's -- advanced vehicle technology display at stand 1653, Cobo Center.

"The Volvo XC90 was selected because the engineering team sought to address virtually all of the primary criticisms that are leveled at SUVs today," said Kevin Jost, editor of AEI. "This vehicle not only features five engineering `firsts' -- but the list of significant engineering highlights is very impressive."

Active and passive safety -- long a hallmark of the Volvo brand -- get plenty of attention in the XC90. Project director Hans Wikman said, "It was important for the XC90 to be leading in safety from all aspects -- frontal, side, offset, and rear impact."

Other advances include Boron steel B-pillars and roof structure, variable valve timing in both intake and exhaust valvetrain, interior air quality sensor, and an "ozone eater" radiator that is designed to reduce ground-level ozone as it passes through the unit.

Environmental concerns and SUVs often collide in the minds of consumers, and the engineers at Volvo were focused on correcting that perception from the beginning. "We designed it (the XC90) to meet car instead of truck emission levels," says Wikman. The team's aim was to lead the segment in both fuel economy and emissions performance, in spite of the vehicle's size and the weight that comes with superior safety characteristics."

The SAE 2003 World Congress, a showplace of automotive engineering technology, continues through Thursday, March 6th, at Cobo Center in Detroit. For more information log onto the World Congress web site at

SAE is a non-profit engineering and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of mobility technology to better serve humanity. Nearly 84,000 engineers and scientists who are SAE members develop technical information on all forms of self-propelled vehicles, including automobiles, aircraft, aerospace craft, trucks, buses, marine, rail and transit machinery. This information is disseminated through SAE meetings, books, electronic products and databases, technical papers, standards, reports, and professional development programs.