Category: Volvo

Volvo Reviews

The first Volvo car rolled off the line in Göteborg, Sweden in 1927 and the first truck followed the next year. Over the decades Volvo became a major vehicle exporter, sending cars, trucks, busses and tractors all over the world. Volvo Car Co. was sold to Ford Motor Company in 1999 for a reported $6.45 billion.
By on October 6, 2010

Remember the 240? Volvo clearly wishes you didn’t. Instead, they’d rather you think of the thoroughly redesigned 2011 S60 T6 as “naughty” despite a bevy of new safety features. Just a tease—again—or does this Volvo actually put out?

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By on May 7, 2010


Not so long ago Volvo attempted to poach some customers from BMW by offering high-performance R variants of the S60 sedan and V70 wagon. Then it decided these weren’t selling well enough to justify the expense of developing them. So now we’re offered “R-Design” variants instead. These involve larger wheels, a mildly stiffened suspension, and a slew of styling tweaks. Not part of the recipe: additional horsepower. Halfway through the 2010 model year the XC60 gained such a variant. All sizzle, or is there some steak here as well?

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By on March 1, 2010

Over the bridge and through the woods till mödrars hus vi gor. When Volvo first started their love affair with jacked up wagons equipped with AWD and some extra ride height, they had two groups in mind: The Swedes that live in rural Sweden with miles of unpaved dirt roads in the forest which turn to mud in the long dark winter, and the American soccer mom who thinks she needs an SUV like vehicle to cross the puddle in the Neiman Marcus parking lot. Thanks to our recently departed leader Robert Farago, we know how the XC60 does on pavement, but since Volvo offered to give us an XC60 for a week, I decided to take a different approach and review the XC60 in the dirt back-roads of coastal northern California and the icy roads of the Sierra Nevada to see if you can actually combine living off the grid and “Scandinavian luxury.”

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By on June 2, 2009

As an Elvis fan, I have to say that the singer created an enormous body of completely unlistenable music. The Hollywood years are particularly execrable, generating as they did an entire canon of crap. In the same sense, Volvo. In recent history, the American-owned Swedish automaker has unleashed a range of vehicles that did little more than remind us how far the iconic brand has fallen. For example, Volvo’s minivan, which—oh wait. They didn’t make a minivan. Right. Volvo’s XC SUVs arrived late, with the wrong engines, with a rep for tank-like build quality and unimpeachable reliability that was only obvious by its absence. Ditto Volvo’s sedans. And now, Volvo’s ’68 Comeback Special: the XC60.

Review: 2009 Volvo XC60 T6 Car Review Rating

By on December 22, 2008

Station wagons, or “estates” as they are known across the pond, occupy that strange place in the auto market between SUVs, minivans and sedans. On the surface, wagons promise the holy grail of cargo schlepping and fuel sipping. But they’re not as sexy as a sedan, not as practical as a modern crossover and they can’t haul as much crap as a minivan. In the new world “station wagon” brings up PTSD style flashbacks of 1970s Country Squire wagons with a roof-rack and eight kids in the back on the way to summer camp, 8-track blazing, and your dad at the helm wishing he had a terrier and a 240Z instead. Thankfully, this is not your dad’s Oldsmobile Customer Cruiser. For this comparo we’ve selected the BMW 535xi Wagon, Mercedes E350 Wagon, Volvo XC70 T6 and the Volkswagen Passat 2.0T Wagon.

By on December 12, 2008

Saab’s 9-3 Turbo X SportCombi doesn’t live up to the make’s potential. So, what’s someone seeking a Swede that can haul (cargo as well as ass) to do? Well, Volvo also offers a wagon powered by a turbo six. Any enthusiast would prefer a turbocharged V70 to a turbocharged XC70, the latter essentially a V70 with high ride height, less grippy treads and SUVish exterior styling. But, thanks to lack of enthusiast love for the last R, the V70 isn’t available with a turbo in the U.S. So if you want power in a midsize Volvo wagon, it’ll have to be the XC70.

By on November 14, 2008

You ever to try to find a good hamburger? It’s not so easy. Garbage fast food is all around us. And sure; if you want a good steak you just wander into any number of fancy-pants restaurants and pay (through the nose) for a juicy bone-in rib eye. But a juicy burger you actually enjoy eating? Not so much. Switching to an automotive metaphor, all many people want is simple, basic transportation. But like a good burger, have you looked? There’s a whole gaggle of nicotine-stained grifters eager to sell you a Ford Focus. And even more well-coifed grifters are hungry to show you the joys of entry level luxury. But what if you only want a good small car? Friends, let me tell you about the Volvo C30.

Review: 2009 Volvo C30 T5 Car Review Rating

By on March 21, 2008

12054_2_1.jpgThe S60 is Volvo's neglected middle child. Baby brother S40 is hipper, faster, and gets all the chicks. Older brother S80 is bigger and more luxurious. Where does that leave the S60? Not languishing on dealership lots, given that it's Volvo's best-selling sedan (if barely). But I'm hard-pressed to figure out why. Apparently, Volvo can't figure out why either– the S60 has purportedly been on the chopping block for a couple of years now, though no one seems willing to make that final cut yet. So let me take a stab at it.

2008 Volvo S60 2.5T Review Car Review Rating

By on January 11, 2008

4820_2_1.jpgVolvo is finally coming to grips with the fact that the brand doesn’t stretch much beyond wagons. Reflecting this new/old reality, rumors abound that Volvo’s about to axe their range-topping S80 sedan in favor of an upmarket V100 wagon. Add in a recent Consumer Reports’ study showing that American consumers still rate Volvo number one for safety, and you begin to understand the importance of the new V70 wagon. As wagons are what keeps Volvo’s ost on their smorgasbord, “getting it right” was essential. So, did they?

2008 Volvo V70 Review Car Review Rating

By on December 10, 2007

11034_2_12.jpgSo Ford’s taking Volvo upmarket. Never mind why. How? On the face of it, the Swedish brand is as suited to life at the top as Volkswagen, whose mighty Phaeton died for their premium-priced aspirations. Volvo owns the sensible, safety-oriented, “car for life” mindspace. While it’s become a full-line automaker, Volvo’s station wagons best exemplify the underlying ethos. And here comes the all-new XC70, and extremely pricey people mover. If Volvo can take their station wagon upmarket, well, Ford might be onto something…

Volvo XC70 Review Car Review Rating

By on October 22, 2007

12087_2_1.jpgSharing a platform with a Ford Focus is something you’d probably want to keep under wraps; kind of like that cousin with webbed toes and twelve fingers. Fortunately, the latest Volvo V50 is actually the ritzy cousin of that much-lauded obscure object of desire (at least for Americans): the Euro Focus. As the V50/S40 accounts for a third of Volvo’s global sales, this is a good thing. But do good genetics make the V50 a good car, or does this smorgasbord of multinational automaking represent a sad swansong for Ford’s about to be divorced Swedish brand?  

Volvo V50 Review Car Review Rating

By on August 24, 2007

4860_2_1.jpgThe last time a Volvo was sexy, so was (Sir) Roger Moore. Just as The Saint titillated the fairer sex, Simon Templar’s Volvo P1800 had heel-and-toe types salivating. Shortly thereafter Moore was persuaded to abandon his Swedish whip for an Aston. By the time the English actor got into Bond-age, Volvo had turned deeply dull. Sexy was scrapped, safety celebrated. Stylistically, Gothenburg’s designs adhered to a Ty Webbian template: “Be the box. Be the box.” While Volvos slowly evolved away from the rectangular gestalt, they never quite shucked middle-aged mindfulness. The new C30 aims to change all that. 

Volvo C30 Review Car Review Rating

By on August 10, 2007

frpont.jpgBack in the ‘80s, when Volvo was famous for making safe cars, the brand’s vanguard was an ugly, slow, heavy machine called the 240. Admirers affectionately dubbed it “the Brick.” The 240 was indefatigable. When Volvo tried to replace the car with a more “modern” boxy model in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, 240 loyalists– vegan university professors hauling cans of paint and their dog in a 240 wagon on the way to the farmer’s market– revolted. Finally, in 1992, Volvo execs terminated the 240. Some say that Volvo gained style and lost its soul. But hey, brand loyalists always say that kind of thing. Truth to tell, the old Swede’s spirit lives on in the S40. 

By on July 20, 2007

2563_2_14.jpgIn 1998, Volvo was SUV deficient. As they didn't have a truck chassis upon which to build, those crazy Swedes grabbed a station wagon, raised it a couple of inches and added all wheel-drive. Since then, the XC70's ground clearance has risen, transforming a slightly jacked-up joy rider (6.5") to a Jeep-wannabe (8.2"). The move leaves Volvo with a fully-fledged… something. Whatever it is, it is what it is. And now that Volvo has a "proper" SUV, the question must be asked: is the XC70 an anachronism whose time has come and gone?

Volvo XC70 Review Car Review Rating

By on April 11, 2007

2139_2_1.jpgA Volvo sports car is like a porno star wearing a condom: it makes perfect sense, and none at all. And yet, for reasons lost in the notes of a Ford strategy session gone bad, the brand best known for passenger fortification has developed an ongoing need to engage in protected sex appeal. Currently, the 300 horse S60R and V70R are the lead characters in this oxymoronic endeavor. Snicker if you must, but Volvo has publicly proclaimed that their R’s are suitable competition to BMW’s unassailable M3. Them’s fighting words!

Volvo V70R AWD Review Car Review Rating

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