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2015 Volvo XC90 arrives in Australia

New second-generation XC90 SUV will stop you from turning across oncoming vehicles, has a radar to detect if you’re about to be rear-ended, and can even steer itself in slow moving traffic.

The world’s safest family SUV -- the new Volvo XC90 -- goes on sale in Australia today.

Not only can it avoid rear-end crashes in slow-moving traffic, it will also slam on the brakes if you’re about to turn in front of an oncoming car, a world first.

Sensors in the vehicle can also detect when you’ve run off the road and it will tighten the seatbelts moments before the airbags are deployed.

The new Volvo XC90 can also spot cyclists and pedestrians at night, and follow the speed limit at the press of a button on an iPad-style touchscreen in the dash.

Volvo says the new XC90 is a critical step to the gradual automation of the automobile.

The new XC90 also takes the bump out of the daily grind by following the car in front in slow-moving traffic; it’s able to automatically stop, go and gently turn the steering wheel -- without any input from the driver -- using a hi-tech radar and camera system.

It also has eyes in the back of its head: a radar system can detect if you’re about to be hit from behind, and will prepare the seatbelts and headrests for the sudden impact.

There is just one catch: it costs between $90,000 and $125,000.

Volvo says the new XC90 is a critical step to the gradual automation of the automobile.

But technology that can avoid kangaroos and other animals is still a few years away.

Volvo engineers have visited Australia over the past two years to gather data and film the roadside behaviour of kangaroos so they can be part of Volvo’s animal detection system to be introduced in the coming years.

“As we have discovered, kangaroos are really unpredictable and difficult to avoid, but we don’t think it’s impossible,” says Volvo safety expert Martin Magnusson.

“Kangaroos are smaller than the other animals we are trying to detect and their behaviour is more erratic, but we are working on it very intensively.”

The first new Volvo XC90 in 12 years is the first all-new model developed since the Swedish company was bought by China’s Geely motor group in 2010.

The new Volvo XC90 will be available with a choice of four-cylinder petrol or diesel power, and a plug-in hybrid system that can travel up to 40km on battery power alone (before switching to petrol power), the first seven-seater of its type in the world.