The jury reached its decision following three days of test drives in Switzerland. The field was the strongest in a number of years, with six contenders from such manufacturers as Mercedes, Neoplan and Irisbus.
The Volvo 9700 won because, in the opinion of the jury, it offered the best total solution. In its summary, the jury presented a long list of the bus’s winning qualities, placing special emphasis on those considered to be positive for passengers. Examples included the sloping floor, as in a theater, and the large windows that ensure views are excellent regardless of where a passenger sits. According to the jury, the seats, equipped with three-point safety belts, offer superior comfort while smoothness characterised the on-road performance. ‘It’s a traveller’s coach,’ was one opinion.
The jury was equally impressed with the bus from a driver’s perspective. Journalist reactions included ‘the second generation I-Shift gearbox is almost flawless,’ ‘synchronisation of the gearchange and the engine was exceptional,’ and, ‘a super vehicle to drive – I was really impressed with it.’
First with new safety solution
Volvo has always placed a priority on safety and the jury viewed the company’s new coach as another step forward in this regard. The company is the first bus manufacturer to introduce such features as front underrun protection that prevents a car from getting wedged under the bus in the event of a collision.
The Volvo 9700 represents the latest generation of Volvo’s coach and express buses and is available in a wide range of models. The coach that participated in the test was a 13-meter-long, triple-axle coach with a 460-horespower diesel engine. The engine is equipped with a catalytic converter, which reduces fuel consumption and allows today’s customers to obtain an engine that meets the stringent emissions requirements that will become effective in 2009.
Håkan Karlsson, President of Volvo Bus Corporation, will accept the Coach of the Year award at a ceremony at the Busworld bus show in Belgium in mid-October.
September 24, 2007
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