The Truth About Cars » Volvo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:20:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Volvo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/volvo/ Volvo S60, V60 Polestar Enter Second Run, Middle East For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volvo-s60-v60-polestar-enter-second-run-middle-east-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volvo-s60-v60-polestar-enter-second-run-middle-east-2015/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007730 Been wanting a Volvo S60 or V60 Polestar? The Sino-Swedish automaker is making a second batch for 2015, with 13 countries to take delivery this time. Volvo plans to make 750 S60 and V60 Polestars this year for the 2016 model year, citing the performance vehicles’ sales success in 2014 for the second production run. […]

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Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, model year 2016

Been wanting a Volvo S60 or V60 Polestar? The Sino-Swedish automaker is making a second batch for 2015, with 13 countries to take delivery this time.

Volvo plans to make 750 S60 and V60 Polestars this year for the 2016 model year, citing the performance vehicles’ sales success in 2014 for the second production run.

Meanwhile, the Middle East will see some of the blue Volvos on its roads this year, as Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates are the newest additions to the list of markets the automaker sells its high-performance wares, which currently include Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

As for what they’ll receive, the Polestars feature power from a turbocharged 3-liter I6 pushing 345 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque through a Polestar-calibrated paddle-shifted six-speed automatic to the vehicle’s Haldex four-wheel drive system. The S60 goes from nil to 60 in 4.7 seconds, while the V60 does it in 4.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, and Brembo brakes stop the 20-inch wheels — shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sports — before any moose are hit. Price of admission in the U.S. starts at around $60,000.

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2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country To Be Rarity In US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-volvo-s60-cross-country-rarity-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-volvo-s60-cross-country-rarity-us-market/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993978 Future sightings of the upcoming 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country are likely to be rare, as only 500 will arrive in U.S. showrooms this summer. Car and Driver reports the 500 will wear the concept’s Austrian Gray and either black or white when it arrives in the United States. Meanwhile, markets such as Russia and […]

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Future sightings of the upcoming 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country are likely to be rare, as only 500 will arrive in U.S. showrooms this summer.

Car and Driver reports the 500 will wear the concept’s Austrian Gray and either black or white when it arrives in the United States. Meanwhile, markets such as Russia and India may see the standard S60 replaced with the more off-road capable sedan, based on the rougher road conditions found in both countries.

As for why the U.S. will see so few S60 Cross Countrys, Volvo North America boss Lex Kerssemakers says it’s an experiment to determine how successful such a beast would be among the audience it hopes to attract: those who want what SUVs and crossovers have, but not in an SUV- or crossover-sized package:

There are so many niches popping up these days. You see our competitors trying to fill all sorts of niches, and I’m not convinced that the consumer is really ready for all those niches. But in all fairness, you don’t know until you have tried. You can test and clinic whatever you want, but at the end it’s the real life in which you have to find it out. We’ll see how it works.

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Volvo Considering Three Southern States For New Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volvo-considering-three-southern-states-new-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volvo-considering-three-southern-states-new-plant/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 16:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993698 Volvo could soon join BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Kia in the Southeastern United States, as the Sino-Swedish automaker is seeking a home for a new factory. WDRB-TV reports Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina are in the crosshairs for the factory, with incentives from the respective governments the deciding factor in where Volvo goes. Potential locations […]

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Volvo could soon join BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Kia in the Southeastern United States, as the Sino-Swedish automaker is seeking a home for a new factory.

WDRB-TV reports Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina are in the crosshairs for the factory, with incentives from the respective governments the deciding factor in where Volvo goes.

Potential locations cited by the station, as well as publications News & Observer and The Times & Democrat, include Hardin and Christian counties in Kentucky, Siler City and two other locations in North Carolina, and the Charleston area in South Carolina.

Volvo has a presence in North Carolina, where its North American truck division is headquartered. The automaker also once considered South Carolina for a factory back in 1996. No comment about the current search was given by Volvo, however, nor by those who would know of such information, including Kentucky governor Steve Beshear and South Carolina Department of Commerce representative Allison Skipper.

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Volvo Considers Expanding Cross Country Range http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volvo-considers-expanding-cross-country-range/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volvo-considers-expanding-cross-country-range/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987770 The V40, V60 and upcoming S60 Cross Country models won’t be alone for too long, as Volvo plans to expand the Cross Country range. Autocar reports Volvo’s vice president of product strategy Lex Kerssemakers was taken aback by the interest in the S60 Cross Country that recently bowed in Detroit, noting the potential for additional […]

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The V40, V60 and upcoming S60 Cross Country models won’t be alone for too long, as Volvo plans to expand the Cross Country range.

Autocar reports Volvo’s vice president of product strategy Lex Kerssemakers was taken aback by the interest in the S60 Cross Country that recently bowed in Detroit, noting the potential for additional models to gain a few inches in lift, but without the need to enter XC territory:

The XC models are clearly for people who want an SUV; Cross Country models offer some of the benefits and looks, without the same capability or price. So long as Cross Country models have some capability — all-wheel drive, hill descent control — then they are giving customers what they want, and that is enough for them to be considered authentic.

Kerssemakers also noted that when production of the S60 Cross Country begins in the next few months, it will have been eight months since the high-riding sedan was conceived. He cites the automaker’s size and independence as factors in bringing the model to market as quickly as it did.

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NAIAS 2015: Volvo S60 Inscription, XC90 R-Design Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-volvo-s60-inscription-xc90-r-design-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-volvo-s60-inscription-xc90-r-design-revealed/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:25:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982417 Aside from the S60 Cross Country, Volvo also introduced the S60 Inscription to the world during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, while the XC90 R-Design made its North American debut. The S60 Inscription’s selling point is rear legroom, which Volvo hopes will be class-leading with the sedan. The S60 will be assembled at its facility […]

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Volvo S60 Inscription

Aside from the S60 Cross Country, Volvo also introduced the S60 Inscription to the world during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, while the XC90 R-Design made its North American debut.

The S60 Inscription’s selling point is rear legroom, which Volvo hopes will be class-leading with the sedan. The S60 will be assembled at its facility in Chengdu, China, with exports to the United States set for this summer.

The XC90 R-Design ups the ante on the new XC90, with a range of Drive-E engines delivering up to 400 horsepower to the road through either 20-inch or optional 22-inch R-Design alloys. The XC90 will also arrive in U.S. showrooms alongside the S60 Inspiration and and Cross Country this summer.

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NAIAS 2015: Volvo S60 Cross Country Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-volvo-s60-cross-country-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-volvo-s60-cross-country-bows/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 21:14:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982137 Coming to a Volvo showroom this summer is the high-riding crossover-sedan hybrid (as in plants, not Prii) S60 Cross Country. The S60 Cross Country receives a 2.5-inch lift above the standard S60, with the 250-horsepower T5 turbo-five powering all four corners. 18-inch wheels deliver the power to the road, with 19-inch wheels optional. The S60 […]

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Coming to a Volvo showroom this summer is the high-riding crossover-sedan hybrid (as in plants, not Prii) S60 Cross Country.

The S60 Cross Country receives a 2.5-inch lift above the standard S60, with the 250-horsepower T5 turbo-five powering all four corners. 18-inch wheels deliver the power to the road, with 19-inch wheels optional.

The S60 Cross Country will arrive in the United States, Canada, Russia and Europe in limited numbers beginning this summer.

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Volvo Entering Digital Sales, Limiting Show Appearances http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volvo-entering-digital-sales-limiting-show-appearances/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volvo-entering-digital-sales-limiting-show-appearances/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961729 Volvo may not be ready to directly sell its models to the public in the same way Tesla does, but the automaker is ready for online orders. Reuters reports Volvo will gently wade into Internet sales around the globe, and increase spending on digital advertising, though consumers will still need to visit their nearest dealer […]

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Volvo may not be ready to directly sell its models to the public in the same way Tesla does, but the automaker is ready for online orders.

Reuters reports Volvo will gently wade into Internet sales around the globe, and increase spending on digital advertising, though consumers will still need to visit their nearest dealer to complete the transaction for now, per sales boss Alain Visser. He adds that around 80 percent of the automaker’s base are already well-versed in online shopping, and believes the habit will transfer into cars soon enough.

Just as Volvo adjusts its backwards cap and velcro sneakers before rolling out onto the information superhighway upon its magic keyboard, however, the automaker will not be attending as many auto shows as it once did. Instead, it will hit a single show per year in Asia, Europe and North America — specifically, Shanghai/Beijing, Geneva and Detroit — preferring to produce its own annual global event for the latest and greatest.

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Volvo Unveils New Drive-E Three-Cylinder http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volvo-unveils-new-drive-e-three-cylinder/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volvo-unveils-new-drive-e-three-cylinder/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958977 Volvo unveiled its new Drive-E three-cylinder engine Thursday, with prototype testing already underway. The engine was developed in-house, and is considered “a natural next step in Volvo’s strategy of downsizing.” Horsepower and torque are unknown at this time. Per powertrain vice president Michael Fleiss, the new Drive-E is being developed alongside Volvo’s CMA architecture, and […]

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Volvo 3-Cylinder Family

Volvo unveiled its new Drive-E three-cylinder engine Thursday, with prototype testing already underway.

The engine was developed in-house, and is considered “a natural next step in Volvo’s strategy of downsizing.” Horsepower and torque are unknown at this time.

Per powertrain vice president Michael Fleiss, the new Drive-E is being developed alongside Volvo’s CMA architecture, and will also power Volvo’s 60 Series with a little help from turbocharging. R&D senior vice president Dr. Peter Mertens adds the engine “can be built on the same production lines” as the four-cylinder Drive-E engines, providing “flexible production potential” as needed.

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Review: 2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/review-2015-5-volvo-xc60-t6-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/review-2015-5-volvo-xc60-t6-awd/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 17:24:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955474 Volvo is in midst of a turnaround. Sold by Ford and acquired by Chinese Geely Automobile, Volvo representatives see the company heading on a path similar to Jaguar and Land Rover. With this fresh injection of money, in recent years we have seen many concept cars, existing product updates, amazing new engines, and the first all-new […]

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Volvo is in midst of a turnaround. Sold by Ford and acquired by Chinese Geely Automobile, Volvo representatives see the company heading on a path similar to Jaguar and Land Rover. With this fresh injection of money, in recent years we have seen many concept cars, existing product updates, amazing new engines, and the first all-new post-Ford model, the handsome XC90. Refreshed for 2014, the 2015.5 XC60 receives further minor upgrades, including an app!

2015 volvo iphone app screenshot

Smart phones, as they are called, are all the rage among kids these days. They say that kids even care more about their fancy phones with intentionally cracked screens than they do about cars, which is equally sad and puzzling. Automakers have their hands full with cell phones, too. From distracted driving, proper connectivity, to charging ports and cubbies, cars must be fully cell phone friendly. Several automakers have even gone as far as integrating cell phone-like apps into their infotainment systems and even developing their own apps, which is what Volvo just did.

This app, available on iOS, Android, or Windows Phone (respect and apologies to all the BlackBerry users) enables to user to get vehicle information, location, status, as well as remote unlocking and start. It’s basically all the information that is selectable on the gauge cluster of most modern vehicles, in the palm of your hand. It even sends you push notifications if your Volvo is unlocked. Its best feature is probably being able to unlock and start the car from your phone and spy on its location when it is used by someone else. VIN number, user passcode, and code generated by the vehicle were needed for the initial setup. Only the user passcode was needed for further usage. The app is part of the 2015.5 update which includes Sensus Connect, an OnStar-like service which I did not try out.

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Recently Volvo has also introduced a new family engines called Drive-E. I had a chance to drive an S60 with the 302hp supercharged and turbocharged version of that engine and simply fell in love with it. The engine had plenty of low-end power and pulled to the redline with authority, all while achieving almost 30mpg overall. Unfortunately the Drive-E engines are currently available only in FWD configuration. The vehicle in pictures is an AWD T6 model powered by an older 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine with 300hp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s a powerful engine, and it moves the boxy XC60 with ease, but it is neither as refined as the new Drive-E nor nearly as efficient at 17mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway.

Despite its age, the recently updated XC60 still looks fresh and really stood out when I parked in a garage full of gray generic cars. It’s still a modern and handsome design, one that draws attention but is also quickly forgotten, and almost invisible to cops. It’s also unmistakably Volvo, thanks to the family headlight and grill design, as well as the huge six inch male symbol logo front and center.

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The driver and passengers are rather isolated from road in the XC60. The vehicle is very quiet and the body feels very stiff, allowing only deep thumps from road imperfections to be transmitted inside. The ride is very comfortable overall but the twenty-inch wheels and 255/45 Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires are a bit of overkill and probably not the best choice for winter. The few buyers who will throw the XC60 into a curve at speed will be rewarded with minimal body roll and general composure similar to many European sedans.

The interior has premium and solid feel to it. All of the interior materials are soft and nice to touch, gauges are easy to read, and the two-tone sports seats are very comfortable and supportive, finished in soft leather. Rear passengers might complain about legroom, and fitting three booster seats across the bench seat will be challenging. The center stack is full of small buttons but the primary controls are performed via the four big knobs and steering wheel controls. The infotainment system could use a bigger screen and it could be a bit higher in the dash.

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The 2015 Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E FWD starts at $36,200. The vehicle reviewed here is $42,400. Platinum package is $4400 and it includes a power tailgate, Xenon headlights, keyless entry, backup camera, HomeLink™, Harmon Kardon audio, adaptive cruise control and many other active safety features such as collision warning and avoidance, pedestrian/cyclist detection, and lane departure warning. Climate Package & Child Booster Seats is $1550, sport seats are $500Blind Spot Information System Package is another item that should be standard on a Volvo but costs $900. Metallic paint is $550, dub wheels are $1000, and the destination/delivery charge is $925. The total for the tested vehicle comes to $52,225. The top of the line XC60 T6 AWD R-Design Platinum is $50,750 before options.

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For decades Volvo has been know as the safety brand. Looking at the Monroney sticker and where the company is today, I would love to see all of those new active safety features become standard across the model range. Furthermore, all of that technology and those great new engines are not going to contribute to additional sales if price is significantly higher than the sales leaders such as Jeep’s equally equipped Grand Cherokee or the Lexus RX 350. The XC60 is a pleasurable vehicle to live with but it is out-pricing itself in a very competitive market segment.

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Volvo Cars of North America, LLC provided the vehicle for this review.

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Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-volvo-240gl-estate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-volvo-240gl-estate/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934626 Volvo might have been one of the beneficiaries of the headlong rush towards European non-luxury in the Seventies but it, like Porsche, was permanently crippled by the American public’s confusion of “unhurried model cycle” with “should only make one specific car, forever”. For the boys from Stuttgart, it was the Yankee preference for the 911 […]

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Volvo might have been one of the beneficiaries of the headlong rush towards European non-luxury in the Seventies but it, like Porsche, was permanently crippled by the American public’s confusion of “unhurried model cycle” with “should only make one specific car, forever”. For the boys from Stuttgart, it was the Yankee preference for the 911 that warped the next thirty years of their product plan into 911-looking things that were not at all like the 911, even if they said “911” on the rump.

Volvo made a different choice when they decided that the twenty-seven years between the 1966 debut of the 144 and the final 1993-model-year 240 were enough and that it was proper to make a clean break between those boxy RWD sedans and the boxy FWD sedans that followed. In so doing, they both doomed the company to permanent irrelevance and inadvertently created a cult.

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Whenever the aliens finally come, they will no doubt conclude that Volvo stopped making automobiles in 1993 and didn’t start again until about five years before whatever the invasion date turns out to be. The successor 700- and 900-series cars often fell prey to the first generation of Europeansdon’tunderstandelectronicsitis. The 850 and its successors raise absolutely zero interest from anyone unless they have a “T5″ or “R” on the decklid. The S80 is a lovely automobile but it doesn’t have any enthusiast following whatseover. The SUVs, of course, are as disposable as any other SUV without a practical tow rating.

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For that reason, most of the Volvos you see on the streets nowadays fall into two categories:

  • recent model, possibly under factory warranty
  • 240DL or 240GL.

There’s just something about those old Volvos that inspires… passion. Most of them are now owned by young people who identify strongly with what the Volvo brand used to represent. They believe in the 240-series and they restore them for daily use, not the Cars-and-Coffee klatch. While the sedans are still popular, particularly the end-of-run aero-headlamp 240DL sedans, the hipster-Volvo equivalent of a ’63 Stingray Fuelie is the late 240 wagon.

As fate would have it, I’ve had a chance to experience two of these lately; a 240DL with glass E-code headlamps and a permanent interior cloud of cannabis smoke, in which I rode to a hilltop park outside Portland, and this 240GL, which I had the opportunity to drive around rural Ohio a few weekends ago. The DL was in like-new condition, thanks to a rust-free life on the West Coast and a thorough restoration at the hands of an owner with considerable mechanical aptitude. This GL isn’t nearly as perfect, being sourced from New York and with a reasonably long list of fixes yet to come, but it’s mechanically outstanding and a genuine pleasure to operate.

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First things first: this is not a large car. Dimensionally it’s similar to the 2003 Accord. Opening the square-shouldered door and taking a seat, however, reveals a quality of seating and available space that both exceed what you’ll find in any Japanese-brand mid-sizer. The almost complete lack of tumblehome allows the seats to be both wide and widely spaced. The overall feeling is airy but solid, thanks to pillar thickness that was rare in any of the decades in which this model was sold.

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The controls and instrumentation are absolutely straightforward, although the mouse-fur trim is no improvement over the more sparse appearance of the DL model. (Apparently there’s a bit of reverse snobbery among Volvo wagoneers, with the DL and its roll-up windows considered the more desirable car nowadays. More Volvo-ish, dontcha know.) Visibility is outstanding all the way ’round, with only the skeletonized rear headrests offering any significant impediment.

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Even after more than twenty miles, this “estate” feels impeccably solid as I pull out onto a 45-mph back road. The steering is trustworthy and the brakes seem up to par. Acceleration, on the other hand…

The Volvo 240 of this era mustered 114 horsepower from its four-cylinder engine, but I’m not totally sure that all of them showed up for work in this particular example. It’s remarkably slow. To the customers who looked at the midsizer Volvo as an affordable alternative to the Mercedes-Benz W123 240D, it was probably a rocketship. Compared to a modern Hyundai Accent, it might as well be a diesel. (Yes, there was a diesel variant, but it did not survive to the Nineties in our market.) Progress is steady but in no way quick.

In just ten or so seconds, however, I’m up to 45mph and ready to try a little bit of the old swerving back and forth for purposes of warming tires and checking lateral stability. Well, there’s not much of that either. Best to calm it back down and just enjoy the Volvo’s core virtues. The ride is steady and relaxed, with plenty of compliance for potholes and rough shoulders. Ten minutes behind the wheel of the 240 will make you feel better about your place in the world, assuming you’re not in a hurry to get anywhere.

What’s not to like about the Volvo, other than the lack of pace? It’s spacious, comfortable, quiet, and reassuring. It’s entirely and refreshingly free of the merest pretense of “sportiness” and all the better for it. It feels as if it will last another twenty years without difficulty. The old phrase “boxy but good” applies here. The current Volvos feel uneasy in their own skins, half-heartedly going through the motions of enthusiast focus and swoopy design, but this is the real deal. I’d rather have this than any brand-new car in a Volvo showroom, both now and twenty years from now.

The Chinese owners of Volvo are no doubt perplexed by the long shadow this vehicle continues to cast on their current lineup. But if they had any sense at all, they’d dig up the old drawings and build it again — or at least come as close to it as the current Mustang does to the Sixties car. In a world where “brand” is all-important, the Volvo brand is nearly worthless. The Volvo 240 brand, on the other hand? That’s a moose of a different color.

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Consumer Reports: Infotainment System Woes Mark 2014 Reliability Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/consumer-reports-infotainment-system-woes-mark-2014-reliability-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/consumer-reports-infotainment-system-woes-mark-2014-reliability-survey/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936826 Consumer Reports released its Annual Reliability Survey for this year, focusing some of the attention on the woes experienced by a handful of infotainment systems. According to the publication, the absolute worse of the pack in 2014 was Infiniti’s InTouch system in the new Q50, with over one in five owners wanting to take a […]

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Infiniti InTouch - Infiniti Q50

Consumer Reports released its Annual Reliability Survey for this year, focusing some of the attention on the woes experienced by a handful of infotainment systems.

According to the publication, the absolute worse of the pack in 2014 was Infiniti’s InTouch system in the new Q50, with over one in five owners wanting to take a crowbar to the whole thing. The brand itself took a beating, dropping 14 points to 20th out of 28 as a result of the Q50’s issues, as well as the overall reliability issues in the QX60. Other infotainment systems ironing out the bugs included Ford’s MyTouch, Honda’s HondaLink and Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s UConnect.

Concerning overall reliability, Lexus once again took the top of the podium, while Toyota and Mazda respectively brought home silver and bronze, and Honda finished in fourth. Buick, meanwhile, was the only brand among the Detroit Three to place in the top 10, jumping from 16th to sixth on the strength of its entire portfolio.

As for why the other Detroit brands failed to reach the top 10, Consumer Reports says domestic small and compact cars, along with full-size trucks, are holding everyone back. Tesla also didn’t make the list, but that was due to criteria than low quality: the publication only rates brands with a minimum of two models, a situation that will be remedied when the Model X rolls out next year.

Finally, Audi took fifth behind the Japanese makes, while Porsche took ninth ahead of Kia. BMW and Volvo remained within the top 20. Only Mercedes-Benz took a hit among the Europeans this year, falling 11 spots to 24th thanks to the new CLA and S classes.

The Consumer Reports 2014 reliability survey obtained its information from 1.1 million vehicles, the largest survey of its kind in the publication’s history.

consumer-reports-reliability-list-1

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Volvo Goes Death Metal With Triple-Turbo Two-Liter Four http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/volvo-goes-death-metal-triple-turbo-two-liter-four/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/volvo-goes-death-metal-triple-turbo-two-liter-four/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930858 Channelling its inner Viking death metal chef spirit, Volvo has unleashed a concept 2-liter turbo-four delivering 450 horsepower with the help of three turbochargers. Automotive News reports the concept Drive-E engine — developed with help from Volvo Polestar Racing — would deliver more punch per liter than other engines — such as the Bugatti Veyron’s […]

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152572_Volvo_Cars_reveals_450_horsepower_High_Performance_Drive_E_Powertrain

Channelling its inner Viking death metal chef spirit, Volvo has unleashed a concept 2-liter turbo-four delivering 450 horsepower with the help of three turbochargers.

Automotive News reports the concept Drive-E engine — developed with help from Volvo Polestar Racing — would deliver more punch per liter than other engines — such as the Bugatti Veyron’s 1,200-horsepower 8-liter quad-turbo — were it to go into production; Volvo says the engine is only a concept, and hasn’t said if it will build the engine.

Unlike old-school turbocharged engines that use exhaust to create power, the Drive-E “triple-boost” engine uses an electric turbo to drive compressed air into the other two turbos, quickly spooling up the power while eliminating lag.

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Chinese-Built Volvo S60L Bound For US Market In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chinese-built-volvo-s60l-bound-us-market-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chinese-built-volvo-s60l-bound-us-market-2015/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927706 CEOs and senior execs going on shopping runs to Staples may soon be able to leave their MKTs at the parking garage when the Chinese-made Volvo S60L arrives next year. Automotive News reports Volvo plans to ship 5,000 units to the U.S. annually, with sales to begin in H2 2015. The move will save the […]

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Volvo-S60L_P

CEOs and senior execs going on shopping runs to Staples may soon be able to leave their MKTs at the parking garage when the Chinese-made Volvo S60L arrives next year.

Automotive News reports Volvo plans to ship 5,000 units to the U.S. annually, with sales to begin in H2 2015. The move will save the Sino-Swede automaker considerable cash, as the vehicles will be imported from a factory not involved in a joint venture like Volvo’s competitors, according to CEO Hakan Samuelsson.

He also says Volvo will position the S60L as an “executive car,” offering more features and options in its 112.5-inch wheelbase than the S60, which will take its place as a sportier variant.

As for quality, product development chief Peter Mertens said the longer S60 fared better than the European-built standard model based on the company’s internal quality audits.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-volvo-v60-t6-r-design/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-volvo-v60-t6-r-design/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:45:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=919634 Is it really necessary to beat the dead horse again? We know that enthusiasts love wagons, demand more wagons, praise wagons and don’t buy wagons. We should be lucky we have any wagons left in our marketplace. The Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy wagons gave way to the Allroad and Outback, two jacked-up, cladding-encrusted faux-crossovers that […]

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2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-side-profile

Is it really necessary to beat the dead horse again? We know that enthusiasts love wagons, demand more wagons, praise wagons and don’t buy wagons. We should be lucky we have any wagons left in our marketplace. The Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy wagons gave way to the Allroad and Outback, two jacked-up, cladding-encrusted faux-crossovers that are really just wagons by another name. Volvo did the same thing too, axing the V70 wagon while retaining the XC70. And then they relented.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-rear-badge

Volvo is pitching the V60 as a “sport wagon” or a “lifestyle” vehicle, or anything but a station wagonIn terms of hauling people and cargo, the XC70 is more of a station wagon than the V60 is. At 182 inches long, the V60 is about 10 inches shorter than an XC70, and the XC70 has it beat in practically every interior dimension. Cargo capacity for the V60 is 43.8 cubic feet, compared to 72.1 for the XC70.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-rear-seats

As we determined in our last review of the XC70, the oft-repeated trope that CUVs offer inferior driving dynamics compared to station wagons was dismissed – between an XC60 with the 4C active shocks and an XC70, it was a wash. The V6 has the advantage of being, on average, 300 lbs lighter than the XC60, and the performance tires on the R-Design amplifies whatever benefits the lighter weight and smaller footprint contributes to the V60’s dynamics.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-infotainment-1

Of course, this is a Volvo, so don’t expect crisp, Germanic responses or the last word in steering feel and feedback. The V60 gives you enough rope to have some fun on twisty back roads or cloverleaf interchanges, but between the all-wheel drive system, the electronic nannies and the understeer-oriented chassis, there’s never enough to hang yourself. Much like the S60 that it’s based on, the V60 is best drive at a relaxed to moderately spirited pace.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-headlight-2

Lesser V60s can be had with boosted 4 and 5 cylinder engines, but the R-Design features a 3.0L straight-six (transversely mounted), making 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. With a broad, fairly flat torque curve, the Volvo’s engine delivers lots of usable power throughout the rev range. A hint of lag is the tradeoff for a brawny motor that doesn’t run out of breath at higher RPMs, much like today’s lesser crop of boosted mills tend to do, though the biggest letdown is the dated 6-speed automatic, which is on its own, more relaxed work schedule.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-drivers

The V60’s interior is an oasis from the over-complicated, touch screen and leatherette-laden cabins of many German competitors. Volvo is still all-in on buttons and knobs, while the climate control system incorporates a hand diagram of a seated human that can direct airflow to various regions of your body. The infotainment system is simple to use and can be navigated while driving without becoming overly distracted. The stereo is crisp and clear while the front seats are some of the best in the business. When wrecked V60s start appear in junkyards, I’ll be harvesting one of the front seats to turn into my next office chair.

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Where the V60 starts to fall apart is in, well, being a wagon. There’s not a ton of room for rear seat passengers, and the swoopy, coupe-like silhouette and compact footprint lend the wagon an undersized cargo area. Two adults could each pack a suitcase for a weekend visit, but this is not the Volvo wagon of yore where a whole family’s worth of luggage, people and pets could be stuffed in and taken away on summer vacation. For that, you’ll need to XC70, or one of Volvo’s crossovers.

$51,775 is a lot of coin simply for the privilege of having a cool looking station wagon that isn’t exactly great at fulfilling the promises of a station wagon. You don’t need to be Tim Cain to understand that it’s not the most potent recipe for sales success.

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Volvo provided the car, insurance and one tank of gas for the review. Photos courtesy of Autoguide.com

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North Korea Owes Sweden $428M For 1,000 Volvos Swindled In 1974 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/north-korea-owes-sweden-428m-1000-volvos-swindled-1974/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/north-korea-owes-sweden-428m-1000-volvos-swindled-1974/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904857 Forty years ago, the North Koreans and the Swedes entered into an agreement where the latter’s socialist and industrialist interests aimed to bring recognition to the former’s regime while filling its pockets from the country’s mining industry. Part of this agreement included 1,000 Volvo 144 GLs, which were meant to be paid in copper and […]

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Stolen Volvos in North Korea

Forty years ago, the North Koreans and the Swedes entered into an agreement where the latter’s socialist and industrialist interests aimed to bring recognition to the former’s regime while filling its pockets from the country’s mining industry. Part of this agreement included 1,000 Volvo 144 GLs, which were meant to be paid in copper and zinc.

But that was 40 years ago.

Newsweek reports North Korea, under Kim Il-sung’s regime, ultimately absconded with the Volvos and other Swedish goods during a Swedish-Korean trade fair in Pyongyang, all within the same year the vehicles were delivered.

Since then, the Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board has calculated the interest owed on the debt linked to those goods. Total debt after inflation plus interest holds at kr3 billion ($428 million USD).

As for the Volvos, they were ordered for taxi service within the North Korean capital. As of 2008, those cars were not only still running, but, according to photographer and entrepreneur Tor Rauden Källstigen, were treated well:

I think I’ve never been inside such an old car even back home in Sweden. This taxi was very well maintained too, close to mint condition it seemed.

Were Il-sung’s grandson and current ruler, Kim Jong-un, to sell the vehicles at current book value, he would net $2.6 million — or 0.6 percent of the debt — for the trouble.

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Volvo Restructuring To Three Families, Configurations By 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903194 By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way. Autoblog reports Volvo will align its lineup portfolio around three families (40, 60, 90) and three designations/configurations (S sedan, V wagon, XC crossover). In turn, the 40 family will share a platform […]

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Volvo-XC90-2015-119

By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way.

Autoblog reports Volvo will align its lineup portfolio around three families (40, 60, 90) and three designations/configurations (S sedan, V wagon, XC crossover). In turn, the 40 family will share a platform with parent company Geely’s offerings, while the 60 and 90 families will use Volvo’s SPA modular platform.

Additionally, the V40/V60/V90 wagons will have a Cross Country variant, matching up with Audi’s and Subaru’s offroad formula for their respective non-rugged base offerings. Meanwhile, R-Design and Polestar will apply their magic performance touches to a few of the new vehicles, going up against similar efforts from BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

All of the above are expected to come online within the next four years, but no coupes or convertibles are in the plans, citing a lack of a case for either at this time. Volvo will instead focus on boosting its volume, with a goal of 800,000 units for 2014 alone.

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Study: Nine Brands Suffer Loyalty Issues Among Their Customers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/study-nine-brands-suffer-loyalty-issues-among-customers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/study-nine-brands-suffer-loyalty-issues-among-customers/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896834 Honda, Ford and Toyota all have one thing in common as far as Kelley Blue Book knows: All three inspire brand loyalty among over half of its customer base. Alas, nine other brands wish they could be just as inspirational. In its study of KBB data from 33 brands regarding customer loyalty, 24/7 Wall St. […]

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2014 Scion tC Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Honda, Ford and Toyota all have one thing in common as far as Kelley Blue Book knows: All three inspire brand loyalty among over half of its customer base. Alas, nine other brands wish they could be just as inspirational.

In its study of KBB data from 33 brands regarding customer loyalty, 24/7 Wall St. says the following nine brands are likely to see their customers jump ship to another brand come trade-in or lease time:

  • Mitsubishi: 21.77 percent average
  • Chrysler: 22.72 percent average
  • Dodge: 22.88 percent average
  • Jaguar: 25.45 percent average
  • Scion: 25.79 percent average
  • Lincoln: 27.49 percent average
  • Infiniti: 28.25 percent average
  • Volvo: 29.41 percent average
  • Buick: 29.45 percent average

The study notes the brands with the highest loyalty averages also move the most units off the lot, while low-loyalty brands have sales to match; six of the nine listed sold less than 100,000 units during H1 2014.

As for what inspires loyalty in the first place, KBB senior manager of marketing intelligence Arthur Henry says price and reliability play the most important roles in whether a customer will stick with a brand. However, luxury makes like Jaguar, Infiniti and Buick suffer not from perceptions of poor reliability, but fierce competition from within the U.S. luxury market.

That said, Arthur notes customers can switch loyalties no matter how a brand is perceived, citing economic conditions and changing consumer preferences as factors in switching.

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Volvo Teases New XC90 Ahead Of Late August Unveiling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-teases-new-xc90-ahead-late-august-unveiling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-teases-new-xc90-ahead-late-august-unveiling/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=892922 Near the end of this month, Volvo will fully unveil its Mjönir-eyed second-generation XC90, the first vehicle in the Sino-Swedish automaker’s lineup to use its Scalable Product Architecture. Automotive News reports until then, Volvo dropped a handful of teaser shots of the upcoming SUV. Senior vice president of R&D, Peter Mertens, explained what the new […]

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2015 Volvo XC90 Mjolnir Teaser

Near the end of this month, Volvo will fully unveil its Mjönir-eyed second-generation XC90, the first vehicle in the Sino-Swedish automaker’s lineup to use its Scalable Product Architecture.

Automotive News reports until then, Volvo dropped a handful of teaser shots of the upcoming SUV. Senior vice president of R&D, Peter Mertens, explained what the new XC90 means for Volvo:

SPA and the XC90 are firm evidence of our Volvo-by-Volvo strategy. The XC90’s outstanding combination of luxury, space, versatility, efficiency and safety will bring the SUV segment into a new dimension, just as the original XC90 did in 2002.

The XC90 will take on the likes of the Lexus RX, Cadillac SRX and Mercedes M-Class when it goes on sale in the United States early in 2015, while its architecture will make its way into the rest of the Volvo global lineup as each model enters a new generation.

2015 Volvo XC90 Mjolnir Teaser 2015 Volvo XC90 SPA 01 2015 Volvo XC90 SPA 02 2015 Volvo XC90 SPA 03 2015 Volvo XC90 SPA 04 2015 Volvo XC90 SPA 05 2015 Volvo XC90 SPA 07 2015 Volvo XC90 SPA 06 2015 Volvo XC90 SPA 08

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Volvo To Conduct Electric Road Study With Focus On Inductive Charging http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/volvo-to-conduct-electric-road-study-with-focus-on-inductive-charging/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/volvo-to-conduct-electric-road-study-with-focus-on-inductive-charging/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 10:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=833433 Coming off its study of stationary vehicle wireless charging, Volvo will turn its attention toward on-road charging of its Hyper Bus diesel-electric in a year-long study with partner Swedish Transport Association. Autoblog reports the two parties will build a 300- to 500-meter section of electrified road that would use inductive charging for the PHEV’s batteries […]

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Volvo Hyper Bus PHEV

Coming off its study of stationary vehicle wireless charging, Volvo will turn its attention toward on-road charging of its Hyper Bus diesel-electric in a year-long study with partner Swedish Transport Association.

Autoblog reports the two parties will build a 300- to 500-meter section of electrified road that would use inductive charging for the PHEV’s batteries while shuttling passengers back and forth along the way. Currently, the buses use charging stations at either end of the route, delaying further travel until fully charged.

The road will be located in central Gothenburg, and is expected to be the herald for the ElectriCity route between Chalmers and Lindholmen, which will provide more data on charging and electric power for heavy vehicles such as buses for future industrial and political decisions.

The intended result of the study is to prove the viability of electric roads, including their impact on the environment as a piece of a greater puzzle involving sustainable transportation.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Volvo S60 T6 Polestar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/capsule-review-2014-volvo-s60-t6-polestar/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/capsule-review-2014-volvo-s60-t6-polestar/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=749793 To the pro audio crowd, boom and sizzle is a descriptive insult. The extreme overemphasis of low and high frequencies makes a strong first impression that often wows the uninformed. The 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design is a boom and sizzle kind of car. Let’s review for a minute what an S60 is underneath […]

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2014 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design

To the pro audio crowd, boom and sizzle is a descriptive insult. The extreme overemphasis of low and high frequencies makes a strong first impression that often wows the uninformed. The 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design is a boom and sizzle kind of car.

Let’s review for a minute what an S60 is underneath all the Norse mythology. A Ford Mondeo. Other EUCD platform-mates include luminaries such as the Land Rover LR2 and Ford Galaxy. All are fine enough, but only Audi has been able to transform similarly modest front-drive roots into a credible premium European luxury brand.

side view of 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design

The Volvo S60’s basic engineering is good stuff. Compared to the original S60 the structural rigidity is up overall, the suspension’s springs, bushings, dampers and mounting points are stiffer, and Volvo says it paid particular attention to removing flex from the steering column. This information is old news; the second generation of the S60 debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010. Since then, Volvo has been tweaking and tweezing a little bit every year. The tinkering has culminated in a new front end for 2014, which makes the newest S60s easy to spot on the road. “There goes a Volvo fan,” you’ll say.

The S60 T6 R-Design AWD is the ultimate Volvo fan’s Volvo. The new front end sheetmetal wraps around the big-honker 3.0 liter turbocharged inline six cylinder. This is the engine that lets Volvo brag about kicking BMW’s ass. By the numbers, it’s a solid upper-cut. The transverse six peaks at 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, enough that you can show the small blue Polestar emblem on the trunklid to just about anyone.  It’s a powerful, responsive engine, with a lot of midrange guts thanks to the turbine-fed lungs. The engine is the boom, a piston-powered subharmonic synthesizer to shake the room, if you will.

front view of 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design

The sizzle is delivered by the styling. More specifically, the R-Design gingerbread. The standard S60 tries its best to be distinctive, which mostly means it’s got front- and rear-end treatments evolved from the now-seminal 1998 S80. In between are slabby doors with as much sculpting as Volvo could muster. The new-for-2014 front end is made up of larger headlights, a bigger, re-shaped grille, new quarter panels and a hood that’s got more figuring stamped into it. It helps the S60 banish the occasional whiff of anteater you’d glance in the 2011-2013 models. It’s the sharp end of bland styling.

To make it look more special, Volvo gives the R-Design the Euro-equivalent of a 1950’s chrome bonanza. That means metallized accents like the mirror caps, a chrome accent around the windows, a special R-Design grille with a badge denoting its specialness, diffuser-ish looking trim on the rear bumper and dual exhaust tips that are more better-er than other S60s. I was also treated to the upgraded 19” Ixion wheels. This made the Haldex all-wheel drive system work extra-hard in the winter, thanks to the ridiculous aspect ratio and tires without a snowflake on the sidewall.

close up shot of Volvo Ixion wheel

The only option for shifting is a pity of a six-speed automatic. You do get the obligatory manual gate so you can pretend you’re in control, but shift paddles or no, the transmission is in charge and response is slow. Leave it in Drive and don’t expect too much and you’ll be fine. The all-wheel drive tames the Scandinavian wrestling match that used to happen in the feisty T-square days. One thing I was surprised to learn: The S60 will hang its tail out in the right conditions. You have to tell the stability control to stand down first, but it’s a bit of behavior that lends credibility to the performance overtures Volvo is making here.

The turbo six is very responsive, and it’s maybe too much engine for the rest of this car. The power is all-in quickly, with a torque response plot that looks like a line drawing of a sofa table. I never wanted for power, and the R-Design trim comes with a sportier chassis tune and a strut tower brace to work in tandem with the stiff structure. The spec sheet looks good, but it doesn’t gel as well as the numbers might suggest. Remember, the competition is Audi, BMW and Mercedes, along with Cadillac, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti, too. Tough room.

Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design engine

The S60s competes on its wits and value more than its capabilities as a sedan that can hang with the high-performing competition. In other words, it’s like a wheeled pop song with smiley-face EQ. The numbers are one thing, but you have to endure a stiff-kneed ride and dull steering. The sporty all-seasons on the S60 I drove probably didn’t help steering feedback during a deep winter cold snap, either. The big wheels clop about tangibly, even if the S60 stays stuck pretty well to the road. There’s head-toss, and my admittedly overabundant supply of body fat took to jiggling uncomfortably thanks to the suspension tuning. For all the turgidity, there’s still more body roll than I expected. The back seat is tight, so is the trunk, and the joie de conduissez isn’t as deep or accessible in the Volvo, even as competition like the 3 Series is getting knocked for going soft. The S60 T6 AWD is a hell of a drag racer, though.

The interior is done with Volvo flair. That means great basic ergonomics, though there are a lot of small buttons on the center stack. Platinum-package outfitting in my test car means I got to experience all the options, from a great-sounding 12-speaker premium audio system to power-retracting side mirrors to navigation. I also spent the first few hours figuring out how everything works – Volvos remain quirky that way. I never did warm up to the navigation and infotainment interface. It’s laggy, slow and cumbersome. Redundant controls on the steering wheel spokes help. Otherwise, you’re left adjusting stuff with a rotary dial and multi-layered menus.

Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design instrument panel

The instrument cluster is driver-oriented. A large central speedometer and left and right LCDs display information clearly. You can select between display themes, which will also change the information displayed. The choice of information display is a nice touch, and I was most amused by the “Power” modulometer. My test car had all sorts of stuff, driving the price up. It had the Climate Package, Technology Package, Volvo Sensus Connected Touch with Navigation, Blind Spot Information System with Front and Rear Park Assist, and those 19″ wheels with summer tires. The result of all that up-fitting is a price tag around $54,500.

Materials in the R-Design are top-notch for the class. This is where some of that Volvo value proposition comes shining through. You get leather seating, classy textured metal and tasteful satin-finish trim rings. The seats are generally very comfortable, but the overly-aggressive head restraints force weird posture and they’re non-adjustable. This has been an unfortunate Volvo trait for a while. In the R-Design, the seats get handsome contrast stitching and R-Design logos embossed in the seatbacks.

Volvo S60 interior

In practical matters, the S60 T6 R-Design is solid for the class. The 12 cubic foot trunk is small, but so is everyone elses’, and the rear seatbacks do fold down. Good luck with that tiny trunk opening, though. Fuel economy was 22 mpg during my time with the car, or what you’ve been able to expect from turbo Volvos since forever. You could crest 30 mpg on the highway pretty easily, especially if you keep your boot out of the power and let the adaptive cruise control handle things. The self-regulating cruise control is admirably well-tuned, though it’s still more herky-jerky than an attentive driver. It’ll bug you if you abhor the use of brakes as a speed-control technique on the highway, as I do.

rear view of 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design

You’ll have a hard time getting a BMW 3 Series, Audi S4, or Mercedes C Class as well-equipped and muscled-up as the S60 T6 R-Design for the Volvo’s price tag of $43,000 to start. Even though my test car was loaded, it’s still price-competitive when you compare the competition with all those features piled on. It’s easy to appreciate the high-quality interior, the distinctive styling, and solid value.

The S60 is a well-built car, my flip comments about its platform origins aside. Most people will be easily wowed by the impressive engine and wouldn’t know what to do with a competent chassis, anyway. For those that know, however, the S60 T6 R-Design is a 7/10ths execution on performance measures. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not as satisfying as the excellence available for similar money in this class. Volvo earns a 9/10ths on the luxury car side of things, though, which is where you’ll sacrifice in other brands for a better driving experience. It’s a valid tradeoff, and for the public at large, the S60 T6 R-Design has got it where it counts. A four-on-the-floor disco track is never going to impress a Jazz Cat who wants nimbly-executed changes in 11/4 time.

2014 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design front view of 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design side view of 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design 2014-volvo-s60-t6-20 rear view of 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design 2013-volvo-s60-t6 close up shot of Volvo Ixion wheel 2013-volvo-s60-t6-3 2013-volvo-s60-t6-4 2014-volvo-s60-t6-5 2014-volvo-s60-t6-6 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design engine 2014-volvo-s60-t6-8 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design instrument panel 2014-volvo-s60-t6-10 2014-volvo-s60-t6-15 2014-volvo-s60-t6-22 2014-volvo-s60-t6-23 2014-volvo-s60-t6-24 Volvo S60 interior 2014-volvo-s60-t6-26 2014-volvo-s60-t6-27 2014-volvo-s60-t6-28

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Volvo Drive-E Modular Engines Lay Foundation For Future Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/volvo-drive-e-modular-engines-lay-foundation-for-future-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/volvo-drive-e-modular-engines-lay-foundation-for-future-hybrids/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:01:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=776865 Beginning with the 2015 model year, Volvo’s S60, V60 and XC60 will come with the automaker’s new Drive-E Volvo Engine Architecture family of small three- and four-pot gasoline and diesel engines, laying the foundation for PHEVs down the road. Autoblog Green reports the VEA engines now making their way into 2015 models include a turbo/super-four […]

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volvo-drive-e-engine000-1

Beginning with the 2015 model year, Volvo’s S60, V60 and XC60 will come with the automaker’s new Drive-E Volvo Engine Architecture family of small three- and four-pot gasoline and diesel engines, laying the foundation for PHEVs down the road.

Autoblog Green reports the VEA engines now making their way into 2015 models include a turbo/super-four gasoline monster pumping 302 horsepower, a 240-horsepower turbo-four, and a twin-turbo-four diesel good for 178 horses. All three displace 2 liters under the bonnet, and are mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission designed to Drive-E’s goal of enhancing fuel efficiency.

By MY 2017, Volvo will introduce an additional pair of 2-liter turbocharged gasoline engines and a trinity of 2-liter turbodiesels, all organized in two clusters of four split between performance and economy. The economical gasoline engines are expected to range between 148 and 186 horsepower, while the diesels will move 118 to 147 horses.

The VEA family came about in 2007 during Volvo’s time with Ford, where the automaker’s engineers used Ford engines to build upon their own ideas, only to realize a better way by making the business case for building their own engines so as to not disturb Ford’s manufacturing processes.

However, when the case was presented to CEO Alan Mullaly, Mullaly directed the Swedes to future owner Geely, as Ford was in the process of selling Volvo to the Chinese automaker at the time. The VEA project became a key part of the sale to Geely in 2010, receiving a huge push to the tune of $11 billion, shared with Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture set to underpin future vehicles.

Speaking of the future, the engines were designed with PHEVs in mind, and thus include necessary components that could be easily connected to an electric motor system fitted either with the engine — thanks to the latter’s compact size — or in the rear of the vehicle. At present, the VEA Drive-E family offers stop-start technology, brake regeneration, CVVT and more.

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Volvo, Geely Aiming For BMW, Mercedes With A-Segment Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/volvo-geely-aiming-for-bmw-mercedes-with-a-segment-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/volvo-geely-aiming-for-bmw-mercedes-with-a-segment-lineup/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:52:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=767329 Volvo, with parent company Geely, is developing a lineup of premium A-segment vehicles aimed at the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. Edmunds reports the upcoming lineup will include a five-door crossover, a sedan and a hatchback, and will also offer the opportunity for Geely to sell their wares in the United States while offering […]

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2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-005

Volvo, with parent company Geely, is developing a lineup of premium A-segment vehicles aimed at the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class.

Edmunds reports the upcoming lineup will include a five-door crossover, a sedan and a hatchback, and will also offer the opportunity for Geely to sell their wares in the United States while offering a similar lineup in its home market.

Under the bonnet will be a range of engines driving either the front or all four wheels, including gasoline, diesel and their respective hybrid pairings, all based upon Volvo’s current four-cylinder engine family.

The A-segment joint venture will be based upon the upcoming Compact Modular Architecture developed in their China Euro Vehicle Technology research and development center, with the first cars due in 2017 at the earliest.

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First Drive Review: 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/first-drive-review-2015-volvo-v60-t5-sport-wagon-with-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/first-drive-review-2015-volvo-v60-t5-sport-wagon-with-video/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=725274 There was a time when wagons roamed the interstates, ferrying families from one National Lampoon vacation to another. With the rise of the crossover, those looking for the original “looks practical but handles like a sedan” mode of transport have few options, and most of them live in the luxury segment. Let’s count them before […]

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2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior

There was a time when wagons roamed the interstates, ferrying families from one National Lampoon vacation to another. With the rise of the crossover, those looking for the original “looks practical but handles like a sedan” mode of transport have few options, and most of them live in the luxury segment. Let’s count them before we go too far. We have the soon-to-be-cancelled Acura TSX, the last-generation Cadillac CTS , the Volkswagen Jetta, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 3-Series and the Toyota Prius V. Even if you expand things to include “off-road wagons”the list only grows by three (Audi Allroad, Subaru Outback and Volvo XC70.) Despite the shrinking market, Volvo’s brand has long been associated with practical wagons. It’s almost hard to believe it has been three full years since Volvo sold one in America. That’s about to change with the 2015 V60.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

Back in 2010 Volvo was selling two wagons in America. The V50 was based on the compact S40 sedan and the V70 shared its underpinings with Volvo’s 5-series competitor the S80. Although the V70 is still sold in Europe and the V40 (the replacement for the V50) splashed down in 2013, Americans will have to settle for Volvo’s middle child, the V60 wagon. Based on Volvo’s S60 sedan, the V60 competes internationally with wagon variants of the 3-Series, C-Class, Audi A4 and many others. But this is America and Volvo’s only direct competitor is the BWM 328i xDrive wagon. More on that later.

Despite ditching the boxy form years ago, Volvo’s style remains the automotive Birkenstock to BMW’s Prada. The entire Volvo lineup in America (except for the XC90) received a 2014 face lift with a more aggressive grille and more creases in the hood. Volvo has finally tucked their radar cruise control module behind a plastic panel that blends into the grille rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. Out back we get bumper cover integrated exhausts, a large black surround on the rear glass that made me wish it was separately hinged, and a continuation of those oh-so-sexy Swedish hips. Volvo’s engineers kept the V60’s roofline fairly high at the rear, but even the Swedes have given in to modern “coupé” styling cues, most notably in the greenhouse shape. The raked rear glass looks sexier, but takes a toll on cargo space.

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Interior-003

Interior

Birkenstocks are comfy. Prada? Hit and miss. (Or so I’m told.) And so it is with Volvo and BMW interiors. The S60 on which the V60 is based is now 5 years old.  Aside from massaging color and trim options, the only substantive changes to the interior since it was launched is Volvo’s LCD disco dash, a new steering wheel with shift paddles (optional) and a new gear shift knob. Despite its age, the Scandinavian chic cabin has what it takes to complete with BMW, especially now that the 3-Series has gone slightly down-market with more hard plastics in this generation. My only major gripe is the small 7-inch infotainment display that is clearly outclassed by BMW’s ginormous iDrive screen.

Despite lacking the range of motion that the competition affords, Volvo’s thrones continue to be the segment’s ergonomic benchmark. Volvo equips all V60 models headed to America with aggressively bolstered front seats and even more bolstering is available in a sport package.  If you’re a larger driver, you will find the sport seats confining and may even have issue with the standard seats as the bolstering seems to be designed for slim to average builds. Rear passengers are in for a mixed bag with less rear leg room than Acura’s TSX and quite a bit less than BMW’s 3-Series. Checking the numbers, the 2015 V60 actually slots in behind my old V70R, which wasn’t exactly spacious in the rear.

Wagons have long been about practicality and cargo capacity. The V60 scores points on the practicality front with a fold-flat front passenger seat and a standard 40/20/40 folding rear seat back. Volvo also tosses in a plethora of shopping bag holders, a built in cargo divider and additional cargo capacity below the load floor. Unfortunately the sexy profile cuts storage behind the rear seats to 43.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The pursuit of fuel economy has meant the loss of a spare tire which may be a tough pill for road trippers to swallow. Volvo says buyers can option up some form of spare tire but details were sketchy.

2015 Drive-E Engine, 2.0L Engine, Picture Courtesy of Volvo

Drivetrain

The V60 lands at the same time as Volvo’s new engine family. If you want to know more about Volvo’s four cylinder future, check out our deep dive from a few days ago. Volvo’s engine lineup is getting a bit confusing as they transition to their new engine family resulting in two totally different “T5″ models. Front wheel drive T5 models use a new four-cylinder direct-injection engine good for 240 HP and 258 lb-ft while T5 AWD models get the venerable 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. This is the point where most companies would stop. Indeed, BMW is only offering the 3-Series with a 241 horsepower 2.0L turbo gas engine and a 180 horsepower diesel I4 in America. The TSX isn’t long for this world but is only available with the familiar 2.4L 4-cylider engine.

In an unexpected twist, Volvo confirmed that there  will be a third engine with two performance levels bound for America. The T6 AWD model will get a 3.0L twin-scroll turbo inline six cylinder engine cranking out 325 HP and 354 lb-ft. This engine takes the S60 sedan from 0-60 in 5.05 seconds and I expect the V60 to post similar numbers. If that isn’t enough, Volvo will go one step further and bring a 350 HP, 369 lb-ft Polestar tuned variant to America good for sub-5-second runs to Ikea.

The new 2.0L engine is mated exclusively to Aisin’s new 8-speed automatic transaxle, also found in the 2014 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport. The new cog swapper enables standard start/stop on the V60 along with a coasting mode (similar to ZF’s 8-speed) which essentially shifts into neutral when you let off the gas on a level road. Due to packaging constraints, 2.5 and 3.0 liter engines get an Aisin 6-speed automatic and standard Haldex AWD.

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-012

Drive

The only V60 model Volvo had for us to play with was a front-wheel-drive T5 model with the new 2.0L turbo. Lacking the supercharger for low-end response (available in the S60), the T5 model felt very similar to BMW’s 2.0L N20 engine in the 3-Series with a hint of turbo lag to start and a broad power band. The German mill cranks out less torque, but is required to motivate less curb weight, so I suspect 0-60 times will be fairly similar. Because of the limited time I had behind the wheel we don’t have verified 0-60 numbers but Volvo says the V60 will do the sprint in 6.1 seconds, which is about 1.5 seconds faster than the TSX.

Despite the healthy torque numbers, the V60 presented relatively little torque steer. Volvo didn’t say what they had done to improve on things vs the last T5 FWD model I drove but they did say no suspension designs were changed. (This is a contrast to the S60 T6 FWD which had plenty of torque steer in first gear.) Volvo’s test fleet consisted of Sport Package models only, which are tuned toward the firmer side of the segment. The tuning is certainly firmer than BMW’s standard 3-Series suspension and on par with the Sport Line wagon.

The V60 handled winding roads with composure thanks to wide 235/45R19 (part of the sport package) tires all the way around but the lighter and better balanced 328 wagon feels more nimble out on the road. Meanwhile the TSX and Audi Allroad feel less connected. Since the BMW is only available in America in AWD trim, a comparison to the T5 AWD and T6 AWD may be more appropriate, so check back when we can get our hands on one.

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Sport Wagon Exterior-006

No Volvo would be complete without new safety tech and the V60 spearheads several improvements to existing systems. Volvo’s blind spot system has moved from a camera based system to radar. The switch improves accuracy, allows it to operate better in fog and inclement weather and increases the range. There’s also a new self parking system to parallel park the V60, but we didn’t have an opportunity to test it. City Safety, Volvo’s autonomous braking system, now operates at up to 31 MPH and can now detect cyclists in addition to cars and pedestrians (optional packages apply). Volvo tells us that they expect the system to provide autonomous braking for large animals like moose in the next 1-2 years.

The V60 has been priced aggressively for 2015 starting at $35,300,  an $800 upsell over then S60 and $6,150 less than a base 3-series wagon. Adjusting for feature content, the base V60 is still $5,000 less. If bargain wagons with premium badges are your thing, the TSX is king at $31,985, but the delta shrinks to less than two grand when you adjust for the V60’s feature set. The $36,800 might be the more appropriate competitor for the AWD-only 3-wagon, but a more interesting match up is the $44,300 V60 T6 AWD. Configuring a 3 or the CTS wagon with the same equipment you find on the Volvo will set you back at least $2,000 more. In addition to the value factor, the Volvo brings 35% more power to the fight. The extra power and AWD go a long way in compensating for the better weight balance in the BMW or the Caddy. Since GM hasn’t refreshed their wagon yet, the 3.0 and 3.6 liter V6 engined are outclassed in every metric by the Swede. Option your V60 with every conceivable option and you end up at $54,480.

As a former Volvo wagon owner, I’m probably biased, but all the reasons I opted for a Swedish cargo hauler in 2006 apply to the V60. Aside from the fact that “value” strikes a fire in my loins, the Volvo is the clear performance option in this segment. Want more shove than the $44,300 Volvo? Pony up $64,900 for the CTS-V wagon or $102,370 for an E63 AMG wagon. I’ll reserve my final judgement until I can get my hands on one for a more thorough evaluation, but in the mean time the V60 is quite simply the best performance and value option in this phone booth sized segment.

 

 Volvo provided travel, lodging, meals, the vehicle, insurance and gas for this review

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Volvo XC Coupe Concept Unveiled Prior to 2014 Detroit Auto Show Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/volvo-xc-coupe-concept-unveiled-prior-to-2014-detroit-auto-show-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/volvo-xc-coupe-concept-unveiled-prior-to-2014-detroit-auto-show-debut/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 15:10:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=694841 The second of three concepts hinting at Volvo’s new styling direction, the XC Coupe Concept has been unveiled ahead of its official debut at next week’s 2014 Detroit Auto Show.   The Sino-Swedish two-door seats four, rides on 21-inch wheels under heavily accentuated wheel arches, and boasts a taller roofline while the distance between the […]

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Volvo XC Coupe Concept 01

The second of three concepts hinting at Volvo’s new styling direction, the XC Coupe Concept has been unveiled ahead of its official debut at next week’s 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

 

The Sino-Swedish two-door seats four, rides on 21-inch wheels under heavily accentuated wheel arches, and boasts a taller roofline while the distance between the dashboard and front axle helps emphasize the muscularity that could end up on the upcoming XC90.

Of course, Volvo wouldn’t be Volvo if they didn’t have a few safety concepts on-board. Thus, the XC Concept possesses an IntelliSafe 360-degree camera system up front, paired with Surround Radar mounted in the rear bumper. Internally, the framework is composed of high-strength boron steel used to form structures with advanced decoupling methods, improving upon safety while shrinking the size of the vehicle overall.

The concept is the second of three to demonstrate not only Volvo’s new design language — the first being the Concept Coupé, which debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show — but also the automaker’s new Scalable Product Archecture, which will underpin the entire range in time.

Volvo XC Coupe Concept 01 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 02 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 03 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 04 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 05 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 06 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 07 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 08 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 09 Volvo XC Coupe Concept 10

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The Cars We’ve Lost in 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/the-cars-weve-lost-in-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/the-cars-weve-lost-in-2013/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:30:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=676202 Every year, new cars arrive in the showrooms. Some are brand new to the world, others go through evolutions and revolutions. Yet, every year, some cars are sent off to the showroom in the sky. This year, we’ve lost seven vehicles. Some died due to poor sales, some to improper marketing, and others to horrible […]

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2012 Acura ZDX-014

Every year, new cars arrive in the showrooms. Some are brand new to the world, others go through evolutions and revolutions. Yet, every year, some cars are sent off to the showroom in the sky.

This year, we’ve lost seven vehicles. Some died due to poor sales, some to improper marketing, and others to horrible execution. 2014 will bring about the deaths of these seven vehicles.

  • Acura ZDX 
  • Cadillac Escalade EXT 
  • Nissan Altima Coupe  
  • Toyota Matrix 
  • Volkswagen Routan
  • Volvo C30
  • Volvo C70

In some cases, like the ZDX and Routan, the product was poorly conceived and faced an equally poor reception in the marketplace.  In other cases, like the Escalade EXT and Altima Coupe, they were based on previous generation cars and the business case wasn’t strong enough to justify a replacement. The Volvo twins and the Matrix weren’t necessarily bad cars, but they were long in the tooth and faced declining sales, thus leading to their euthanization.

2013 Volvo C30 Polestar. Photo courtesy Car and Driver. 2013 Toyota Matrix 2012 Acura ZDX 2013 Volvo C70 2013 Nissan Altima Coupe 2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Volkswagen Routan. Photo courtesy GoMotors.net

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