In North America, the Volvo Brick family first appeared with the 140 in the 1968 model year, and the sensibly square Swedes remained on sale here through the last of the S90s and V90s (formerly known as the 960) in 1998. I’ve managed to find junkyard examples of all of these cars, including such oddities as the 262C and 780 Bertone Coupes, but the Volvo 164 has been a tough one; prior to today’s Junkyard Find, I had documented just a single 164. On a recent trip to a snow-coated yard between Denver and Cheyenne, I found another: this scorched and punctured ’70.
Before we get to this list of “best luxury cars”, I feel like you might be wondering about that headline. Why $90,060? I chose that number because the ceiling for my “ best cheap cars” post was based on half the average selling price of a new car (more or less), and arbitrarily decided to keep going with that theme and set the floor for this list at approximately twice the current average.
As for the list, itself, I’ll try to answer it the same way you’d probably answer your rich friends if they asked you for help picking a new car: With a question of my own.
No, it’s not anything as pedestrian as, “What do you plan on using it for?” That kind of stuff is for the poors. For the rich people, the real question is: Who are you trying to impress with it?
There’s a meme floating around, as memes do, with little localized variants. The one I see here in my little slice of Ohio reads something like: “Treat yourself like Interstate 70. Never stop working on yourself, no matter how much it inconveniences others.” Like most humor, there’s a bit of truth there – it always seems as of I-70 west of Columbus stretching at least to Indianapolis is in a constant state of either construction or in need of construction.
It was here on the pockmarked slab west of town I found myself driving on a brisk Sunday morn in the 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered, hoping to experience the floaty-but-controlled ride I knew from my old 740 wagon and other spawn of Gothenburg. Not here. That Polestar Engineered badge adds a serious dash of sporting intent to the midsized crossover – a car already quick from three, count ‘em three, power adders to the ubiquitous two-liter four.
Really, this crossover has the feel of a buttoned-down hot hatch. How does it work, as the Brits like to say, on the school run?
Ever since I began my effort to document some of the interesting machinery that shows up in car graveyards, the quantity of discarded Volvo 240s has remained steady. Back in the late 2000s, I’d had an idea that just about every 240 owner would make the transition from safe and sensible Swedish bricks to green and sensible Japanese hybrids, and that the transition would be wrapped up by the dawn of the 2020s. Such has not been the case, although the 1970s 240s are getting harder to find. Here’s a high-mile 245 in a mile-high junkyard.
When I’m searching car graveyards for interesting examples of automotive history, discarded rear-wheel-drive Volvos from the Swedish Brick era (roughly 1967 through 1998) have been easy enough to find over the last decade. Yes, 140s, 200s, 700s, 900s— I’ve been able to document each type. Even the pre-brick Amazon isn’t so hard to find in the big American U– Wrench– It yards. But the Amazon’s ancestor, the PV444/544, that’s a rare Junkyard Find, even though Americans could buy the PV544 through 1966.
I’m back with more boring used car content, a topic some of you apparently despise with a passion. Caution: More used-car discussion ahead, get out while you still can if this is the case! For the rest of you, let’s review the impractical car suggestions you’ve made that earned a spot on the Yes, I Like list.
Volvo Cars is plotting to buy out parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding and free itself of its Chinese joint venture. The Swedish (currently Swedish-Chinese) manufacturer has been hinting at the prospect of going public with an IPO, which most analysts believe would be bolstered by creating some distance from Geely.
While the Chinese Communist Party has ended mandates requiring electric vehicle firms from entering into joint ventures with established domestic businesses, the rule still exists for traditional automakers. However, the general assumption is that most will attempt to regain full ownership of their Chinese assets when the law is lifted next year. But critics are cautioning that the nation is under no obligation to maintain any commitment to foreign entities once they’ve split with their local partners.
Long before the S90 moniker was applied to a Chinese-produced front-drive car, it was (for a short while) the last chapter in a series of luxurious rear-drive Volvo sedans. What we have here is a last-of moment for Volvo, and a very rare one at that.
Presenting the S90 Royal Hermès.
Last week, we discussed Volvo Cars’ plan to transition to an online sales model as a larger quotient of its product becomes electrically driven. As luck would have it, the concept hasn’t been a runaway success with auto retailers. Vehicles becoming increasingly digitized, combined with the unparalleled consumer access offered by the internet, has made numerous manufacturers wonder why the dealership role couldn’t be diminished. After all, Tesla has done alright without a traditional sales network.
But Tesla didn’t have a gross of existing showrooms ready to make a fuss. Volvo has nearly 300 and dealerships are reportedly voicing their concerns as the manufacturer does what it can to assuage fears about the possibility of their being put out of businesses in the coming years.
Despite having already having Volvo Cars as one of its many subsidiaries, China’s Geely signaled roughly a year ago that it wanted to merge with the brand as part of its strategy to expand globally. Plans changed on this week when the company announced that the duo will be retaining their independent corporate structures, though they will continue working on a joint development program for electric vehicles.
This means more backing for the Lynk & Co. brand, a technology-focused joint venture Geely launched with Volvo in 2016. Lynk is hoping to bridge the gap between traditional vehicle sales and subscription-based models, while also pioneering telematics and other connected services that look like an invasion of privacy to some and a technological breakthrough to others. Regardless, the industry as a whole seems convinced this represents the evolution of the automobile and a stable source of revenue for companies capable of monetizing large amounts of data — often with the help of the world’s largest technology firms.
Volvo Cars’ chief executive, Håkan Samuelsson, believes a ban on gasoline-driven vehicles would be a more effective way to force groups to go electric than continuing to offer subsidies on battery-powered automobiles. The announcement comes as part of the Financial Times’ “Future of the Car Summit,” where Samuelsson will proclaim the internal combustion engine “a technology of the past.”
In related news, Volvo Cars is also in negotiations to merge with China’s Geely Automotive and has renewed its commitment toward becoming an electric-only brand by 2030. The latter issue will also be brought up during Wednesday’s Car Summit, with the CEO praising the United Kingdom’s promise to eliminate the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars that same year.
What miraculously convenient timing.
Making good on its promise that the future will be electric, Volvo has readied the XC40 Recharge P8 compact crossover for a spring debut. Though it doesn’t seem to have secured an idyllic price tag. The electrified XC40 starts at $54,985, including a $995 destination fee, which makes it around $20,000 dearer than the gasoline model. That’s a lot of dough for such a small vehicle, even after federal (and potentially state) tax incentives shave a few thousand off the top. Surely customers will be getting a top-shelf automobile on par with the Tesla Model 3 Performance, if not better, to help that MSRP make some sense. But the math just isn’t working out in Volvo’s favor based on the specs given. Model 3 destroys it in every metric that isn’t headroom because it is not a crossover.
While the XC40 Recharge comes in below its larger European counterparts on price, and often by a fairly narrow margin, its maximum range is an EPA-estimated 208 miles. That places it within striking distance of the bigger electrics manufactured by Audi or Jaguar. But Tesla will happily sell customers a Model Y boasting 326 miles of range for about $10,000 less than the XC40. The only downside is that the American brand’s sales success has already exhausted its allotted federal tax credits, meaning you’ll get more money from the government if you buy something Swedish-Chinese.
Volvo Cars will be unable to reach its global volume target of 800,000 vehicles this year. Considering everything that has — or hasn’t — happened in 2020, any automaker that ends the period moving more metal than they did in 2019 should probably have a statue erected in front of their headquarters celebrating a major industrial achievement.
Volvo sold 705,452 units the last time our Earth went around the sun, forcing it to face the music when considering goals in what CEO Håkan Samuelsson calls the “corona year.”
Is there a U.S. assembly plant that’s not currently producing a utility vehicle that doesn’t need one? Perhaps, but that doesn’t describe Volvo Cars’ Ridgeville, South Carolina facility, which builds the new-for-2019 S60 sedan.
A still-shiny plant situated near Charleston’s busy harbor that only opened a year prior to the S60’s launch, the facility shuttered itself in late March as the coronavirus swept into North America, reopening in early May before going idle again a month later. Volvo Cars’ boss aims to get production underway again soon, but there’s a problem.
To be fair, three-point seat belts didn’t exactly set American consumers on fire back in 1959, but the innovation eventually caught on, becoming the industry’s dominant passive restraint.
Yet even safety features can contain safety defects, which is why Volvo Cars is embarking on its largest recall to date. The (Chinese-owned) Swedish automaker has announced a global callback of 2,183,701 vehicles built over the span of 14 years.
When I’m strolling through my favorite junkyards and looking for significant bits of discarded automotive history, I’m always on the lookout for interesting Volvos. Thing is, my definition of interesting has long spanned the PV544/Amazon Era through the Late Rear-Wheel-Drive Brick Era, meaning that the universe of front- and all-wheel-drive Volvos beginning with the 1993 850 has been neglected in this series.
Lately, I’ve been making an effort to fill in some of those blank spots in the junkyard record, and so I went out and found a ’97 850R sedan and today’s find: this 1995 850 Turbo Wagon.
I’m almost certain there is an unwritten code for automotive reviewers that TTAC has generally avoided, if not openly mocked. You’ve seen the fruits of this code on newsstands, where every other month either a Camaro or a Mustang asks the other, in bold print, to STEP OUTSIDE. Another example is the inevitable requirement for someone reviewing a Volvo to somehow reference the awful Dudley Moore flick Crazy People and the “boxy-but-good” tagline.
We won’t talk about the faux Jaguar ad here. This is a family joint. For more discussion, select “private mode” on your browser of choice and look for TTAC After Dark.
Seems the good folks in Gothenburg were affected by the lighthearted fictional criticism, as since the late 1990s Volvo has been applying styling to its previously staid machines. The current-generation models are all stunners, from the largest wagons (swoon) to the smallest crossover, like this 2020 Volvo XC40 T5.
But is the beauty more than skin deep?
One of the frustrating things about my job looking for interesting discarded vehicles is the fact that most cars and light trucks didn’t start getting six-digit odometers until the 1980s or even the 1990s. I find vehicles that I know must have racked up incredible total mileage figures, but their odometers all turned over (once? ten times?) when they got past 99,999 miles.
Fortunately, Volvo felt sufficiently optimistic to adopt the six-digit odometer way back in the 1960s, so I was able to read a very impressive figure on the one in this 740 wagon: 493,549 miles.
Because Volvo made the 200 Series cars well into the 1990s, they were pretty reliable, and 240 owners tend to stick with their cars for decades. I still see plenty of Swedish bricks in the self-service car graveyards I frequent.
In fact, I walk by a dozen or two discarded 240s for each one I shoot, but I appreciate good manual-transmission wagons and high-mile veteran vehicles and this ’90 checks both boxes.
Mid-size luxury sports sedans are supposed to strike a balance between comfort, sportiness, and safety. Consider the 2019 Volvo S60 well-rounded.
Riding on the same platform that underpins all 60 and 90 series Volvos, the S60 T6 I tested came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is both turbocharged and supercharged to the tune of 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Transversely laid out, this engine connects to an eight-speed automatic transmission and the drivetrain is all-wheel drive.
Thanks to the increasing popularity of its two most affordable models, 2019 appears to be the year in which Volvo’s U.S. operations will appear firmly and solidly back on track.
For the first time since 2007, Volvo is set to sell more than 100,000 vehicles in the United States. At the current 6 percent growth rate, Volvo is on track for a 12-year high. 60 years since the Swedish brand landed in America, and nearly a decade since its U.S. ownership phase ended at the hands of Ford, the now Chinese-owned marque is on the ascent for very much the same reason it was when setting sales records in 2004.
A mix of popular utility vehicles and growth from its entry-level models.
Ever since Volvo showed the V90 wagon in Detroit in 2017 – in journo-bait brown, no less! – I’ve been keeping an eye out for this stunningly styled family hauler. I never see them, especially not in that lovely Maple Brown hue. Are wagons dead?
I rather hope not.
So, while the V90 is still nominally available, the very similar Volvo V90 Cross Country is a more frequent sight on our roads. With a few tweaks to appeal to those who want to cosplay as an uncouth mountain dweller, the low-slung wagon is transformed into something resembling a crossover.
While I live in Denver, my family and work ties in the San Francisco Bay Area make me a regular visitor at the incredibly well-stocked self-service wrecking yards of the region between San Jose and Richmond. These yards don’t have quite the selection of Subarus and IHC Scouts that I see in the yards around Denver, but they make up for that shortage by stocking plenty of BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, and Volvos.
I get it. No real enthusiast should like crossovers. They’re tall, handle poorly, slurp gas, and aren’t as space efficient as the cars upon which they’re based. They aren’t a true sport-utility vehicles, either, as their on road-focused designs can’t handle rough terrain.
I used to be like you. I’m a car lover, and always will be, but the market has spoken, and it seems that most new vehicles coming our way will be high-riding wagons of some sort. So it’s time to get on board.
The 2019 Volvo XC40 T4 might be the tipping point for me. It’s not perfect — few cars are — but it works so incredibly well for its mission, moving people and stuff in style. That it is reasonably priced and has truly excellent fuel economy are merely bonuses.
It’s that special holiday time of year again. For a few short weeks, people go out of their way to be nice to others, and to wish one another the best in the upcoming new year. While the niceness still abounds, we want to know which car manufacturer receives your well-wishes for the future.
The California New Car Dealers Association is requesting that Volvo immediately end its Care by Volvo subscription service within the state. According to the group, the automaker is in violation of California’s franchise and consumer protection laws.
It’s been a long time coming, as Care by Volvo is clearly designed to minimize dealer interactions. Anders Gustafsson, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, even said the program claimed as much as 15 percent of the XC40 crossovers intended for dealerships this year.
“It’s really the same concerns from everybody, and it’s just that they don’t feel secure,” Gustafsson of said dealers last month. “They’re afraid we’re going to take something away from them … I would say the biggest question mark around subscriptions is that consumers need to decide that. Our retailers are asking, ‘Please let us be involved, because we can help.'”
It looks like they’re tired of begging.
Despite the push from an eager industry, car subscription services haven’t proven an overwhelming success. The general consensus is that premium services, while intriguing concepts, are too expensive and complicated to maintain at scale. Book by Cadillac, which was recently suspended by General Motors, is emblematic of the public’s lackadaisical response to a system mired in logistical issues.
However, the concept itself isn’t dead just because one manufacturer decided it wasn’t worthwhile. Other premium nameplates still have their own services — Toyota plans to launch its own subscription-based pilot program in Japan soon, while Volvo Cars has enjoyed some success with Care by Volvo. Still, framing it as a trouble-free victory for the brand would be a mistake. Volvo’s subscription service has been as much a learning opportunity as it has been an overwhelming triumph.
After hiring financial advisors earlier this year, a move many believed was a precursor to an initial public offering (IPO), Volvo parent company Geely now claims the waters are too choppy to float any shares in the resurgent Swedish automaker.
First reported by the Financial Times this past weekend, the Chinese holding company says there’s too many uncertainties and headwinds in the industry right now. Thus, no Volvo stock for you. The biggest uncertainty is the one that’s keeping automakers on edge the world over.
I want to love you, CKD.
But who, or what, is CKD? It stands for Completely Knocked Down, and it’s a term used for a rather strange way to build a car. It works like so: A “mother plant” builds a new car. But not all the way. Just into sub-assemblies that can be put together in another plant devoted specifically to final assembly. Think of Ikea furniture; that’s CKD. That Tamiya Hornet you built back in 1985? Miniature CKD, my friend. I think you get the idea.
Now, it so happens that there are some countries out there that like to stimulate local employment by placing heavy tariffs on cars built elsewhere. Malaysia is one of those countries. So in March of 1967, Volvo opened a plant there to assemble CKD Volvos sent over from Sweden. This wasn’t “manufacturing” in its purest sense, but CKD assembly is often how “transplant” factories are jump-started; the first Accords made in Ohio were CKDs and now Marysville is itself a Global Mother Plant that is capable of making CKDs to be assembled elsewhere. Sure enough, after a while the Malaysian plant came up to speed and started building Volvos from soup to nuts.
In 2016, Volvo introduced the T8 “Twin Engine” version of its razor-edged S90 sedan. Compared to the S90 T5 I reviewed last year, the T8 has another 63 horses from increased boost pressure, plus an 87-horsepower electric motor driving the rear wheels. That S90 T5 was made in China to be sold in America. China is a long way from the United States. It is not a long way from Thailand. So when the owners of EVOLTN Magazine asked me to drive a Malaysian-assembled Volvo S90 T8 across Thailand, it seemed reasonable to assume that the CKD “kit” from whence it sprang would be Chinese. But as we all know, when you “assume”…
If only all automakers had what Volvo’s offering. Starting this month, buyers wishing for more of a sports car experience from their all-wheel drive, non-hybrid Volvo can hack some more attitude into it. On Wednesday, the Swedish automaker announced the availability of new software developed by its Polestar performance division that should do the trick.
Job One for this software? Send more torque to the rear wheels.
One of the downsides of doing this job is adapting to a new car every week. While the joy of never actually performing maintenance on your daily driver makes up for it, I struggle with basic tasks at times that should be second nature. Various cars have different locations for parking brakes, for example — I once stomped toward what I thought was a pedal-actuated parking brake, and instead caught my toe on the hood release.
That struggle extends to plug-in hybrids like this 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 — I simply forget to plug the darned thing in. Volvo quotes up to 17 miles of all-electric range. My commute to the office is right around 8 miles. I rather like the idea of not using a drop of gasoline to get to the day job, but two things conspired to keep me from that goal: my general idiocy, and the intoxicating torque supplied by this innovative powertrain.
Unlike Volvo’s S90 sedan, which is built half a world away from its V90 wagon stablemate, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker has some flexibility in where it sources its XC60 crossover. Two plants — one in China, one in Torslanda, Sweden — crank out the second-generation utility vehicle, but the U.S. market gets its full share from the Orient.
After the Trump administration imposed a tariff of 25 percent on Chinese-built vehicles, Volvo’s XC60 suddenly found itself dragging a financial anchor. Hardly a great situation for a model that outsold all other Volvos in the U.S. last month. To side-step the tariff, Volvo’s already making changes.
Say goodbye to the Chinese XC60.
Volvo made the beloved 240 for 19 model years, 1975 through 1993, and the car didn’t change much during that period. By the early 1990s, Volvo had “replaced” the increasingly dated-looking 240 three times, with the 740, 940, and 850, but plenty of buyers were still choosing the ancient brick over the more modern iron. It had to end at some point, though, and 1993 was the last year for these cars.
Here’s a very clean, very high-mile ’93 wagon in a Denver-area self-service yard.
Having already launched the Care by Volvo subscription program, the Swedish-Chinese automotive brand wants to continue cramming feathers into its cap. It’s now launching a new mobility brand that sounds very similar to car-sharing services offered by numerous automakers and rental firms.
There could be an issue with the naming strategy, however. Volvo wants to call the company M, which is a letter of the alphabet that’s of particular interest for BMW. In case you’ve been in a coma for the last forty years, the German automaker has used the letter M (for Motorsport) to denote its performance division and affixes it to everything in its lineup with sporting pretensions. While it probably can’t claim ownership of all things relating to the mark, it’s definitely not going to be thrilled to see Volvo using it.
We’d like to apologize if our articles previewing the Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered got you excited about the American-made model because you probably won’t get to lay your greasy little hands on one.
Volvo previously stated that the special sedans would only be available in extremely limited quantities. We assumed that meant the manufacturer would probably only build a couple hundred per year at most. As it turns out, that number was a gross overestimate. However, even if you are fortunate enough to have one in your garage, you still won’t be able to own it.
Few will disagree that the second-generation Volvo XC60 crossover, which debuted for the 2018 model year, is a handsome vehicle. The midsizer adopts many of the styling decisions bestowed upon its larger XC90 brother, and that’s a good thing. Still, despite its smaller footprint, the XC60 remains a premium vehicle with a premium price.
For 2019, however, the entry-level XC60 sheds both content and price.
Electric, not electrified, as you can already find several Volvo models boasting a plug and a combination of gasoline and electric propulsion. The automaker best remembered for keeping the 240 in production with only minimal changes for two decades now wants to pin the technology pedal to the floor, setting a goal of having 50 percent of its customers drive away in fully electric vehicles by 2025.
Ambitious, to say the least. The first electric model would come along in 2019, the automaker stated earlier this year, while keeping the identity of the model under wraps. We now know it’s the XC40, which should comes as no shock to anyone.
The Chinese-owned Swedish brand’s first U.S. assembly plant, which is about to launch into production of the next-generation S60 sedan, will gain a second exclusive product in the form of the next-gen XC90.
As the priciest vehicle bearing a Volvo Cars badge, the XC90 remains a huge part of the brand’s — presence and profits — in the United States. And, when sole production of the model comes to the Southeast factory in just three years, workers will be tasked with building a model capable of Level 4 autonomy and all-electric driving. It’ll be a challenge, Volvo’s CEO says, but it’s necessary.
Volvo unveiled its third-generation, 2019 Volvo S60 today and I keep having the same thought — this is what the Buick Century could have evolved into if General Motors played its cards right. That’s not a dig on the tri-shield brand, the Regal is a fine automobile, but the S60 is a car worth getting excited about.
Strange, as the car isn’t really all that new. The XC60 and V60 have been around for a little while and Volvo’s sedan seems to be more of the same. But there are some key differences to go with the welcome similarities (the wagon obviously has the most in common with the S60), and there’s more to the automobile than just good looks and desirable specifications. The S60 represents Volvo’s first American-made car, built at its new $1.1 billion plant near Charleston, South Carolina. It’s also the first Volvo model to forego a diesel option.
Volvo doesn’t want anyone to forget it’s revealing its first U.S.-built model on Wednesday, so it furnished us with a few more teasers to whet the collective appetite. It isn’t the car’s looks that have us excited, however — we already know the S60 will resembled a scaled-down S90 in both form and function.
What has our shorts in a pleasant knot is the fact that Volvo hasn’t replaced the model with another crossover. The new model replaces the second-generation sedan launched in 2010 (and sold in ever-decreasing numbers since 2012) and the automaker seems intent on offering everything customers have come to expect, and then some. There’s even a Polestar Engineered edition of the T8 model that offers 415 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque, plus enthusiast-oriented tweaks to the braking and suspension.
Frankly, it’s all shaping up rather nicely.
In order to create a bit of added buzz around the debut of the new Volvo S60, scheduled for next week, the automaker teased images of a performance variant wearing the Polestar emblem. The upcoming sports sedan will be the first Volvo manufactured within the United States. It will also be one of the first models touched by the “Polestar Engineered” performance package, along with the XC60 crossover and V60 wagon.
While Polestar remains its own brand, Volvo plans to continue using the name to denote sporting versions that include some form of electrification. On this batch, that means the only engines receiving special treatment are the T8 Twin-Engine Plug-in Hybrids. The treatment includes upgraded brakes, suspension, and powertrain — resulting in a trim positioned above the R-Design in terms of performance, price, and desirability.
Volvo, back from near death and feeling pretty pleased with itself, wants to capitalize on the modular platform found beneath the XC40 compact crossover. With 80,000 orders for the new-for-2018 ‘ute under its belt, the Chinese-owned Swede plans to spawn more models and reassert itself in the small car space.
On Thursday, the company said it would throttle up production of the XC40 at its Belgian assembly plant, which will soon boast quite a bit of usable space. The S60 sedan’s headed to South Carolina later this year. Meanwhile, the V60 wagon sibling will move most of its production to a Swedish plant.
What does this mean for the United States? Perhaps more than you’d expect.
The second-generation Volvo XC90 announced the brand’s confident and triumphant return to the forefront of automotive discourse. With its parental troubles behind it, the 2015 model year XC90 arrived with dignified, upscale sheetmetal and served as a styling template for future models like the S90 and XC60.
It also heralded the brand’s move towards downsized powerplants assisted by electric motors.
The company’s CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, sees a not-too-distant future where plug-in hybrids make up a quarter of its sales — an attainable goal on a global scale, given China and Europe’s fondness for such models. In the United States, though, Volvo’s plug-in XC90 — lately, anyway — seems to be headed in the opposite sales direction as its plug-free model. Slightly odd, as plug-in hybrids are ascendent in America.
Occasionally on the vast and wondrous expanse of the Internet of Cars, I’ll run across one of these uniquely shaped little Volvos. In past instances they were either not for sale, were lacking in condition, or had few available photos.
All that changed the other day, when I sought out a photo of the 480 to make a point on Twitter. Let’s check out this charcoal-colored box, shall we?
While North America awaits Tesla Motors’ electrified big rig, the rest of the globe’s manufacturers are working on battery driven commercial vehicles of their own. These vehicles may not be able to match the Tesla’s size or ability to do burnouts, but their existence shows companies are taking electrification seriously.
FedEx, which has already reserved a handful of the Tesla trucks, bragged it would soon deploy Navistar-sourced electric trucks way back in 2010. However, with the exception of ultra-dense urban environments and shipping hubs, these units haven’t see a lot of action. For the most part, the addition of zero-emission vehicles seem like a good way for companies to virtue signal and test the feasibility of such a platform in a commercial setting. For example, UPS issued a press release in February saying it wanted to develop 50 battery electric vans that might someday replace its fleet of 35,000 gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.
Still, there’s momentum building behind alternative energy vehicles in the commercial sector. Daimler-owned Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation started the slow rollout of its eCanter courier truck last September. It probably won’t break any sales records for the brand, but it does show manufacturers’ desire to not just develop, but sell these things at a meaningful volume — and it’s soon to be followed by Volvo Trucks’ brand new FL Electric.
When the majority of the buying public thinks of Volvo, three things generally come to mind: safety, boxy wagons, and professors in tweed sport coats with those weird elbow patches. This is understandable, given that the company made hay selling safe and boxy wagons to professors in tweed sport coats with weird elbow patches.
Volvo has long since de-weirded itself but still marches to a slightly different Swedish beat. It’s currently under the stewardship of a Chinese company that gives the brand enough leash to generally do its own thing. Starting at $35,200, the automaker’s least-expensive car, the XC40, should help bring new buyers to the brand. Let’s see how it stacks up in base form.
The B&B has proved on many occasions that they enjoy a nice Buy/Drive/Burn or three centered around the 1990s. I sense you want more, so have more! Today’s trio sprang to mind as we discussed the article surrounding Buick’s choice to remove the brand name from all new vehicles. In the comments, things naturally turned to the Oldsmobile Aurora and the modified Rocket logo it displayed.
But what other two vehicles from 1995 do you pair with the brand new Oldsmobile Aurora? Will you want to burn any of these? Let’s find out.
The Volvo 900 Series replaced the 700 Series, which replaced the 200 Series, but — in true Volvo fashion — there was sufficient production overlap between these related models that all three were available at the same time for a couple of years in the early 1990s. The 940 sold well in the United States, but you’ll see more 240s and 740s today, perhaps due to the great affection held by Volvo fanatics for the “real” rear-wheel-drive Swedes.
I went into a Northern California wrecking yard determined to shoot the first 940 or 960 I saw, and that car turned out to be this 940 Turbo station wagon.
Volvo simultaneously took a trip down memory lane while keeping its eyes on The Future™ when it unveiled the new V60 this week. Remember when Volvo was synonymous with practical wagon-based transportation for upstanding middle-class families? Those days are here again; but they are also gone, as the brand has transformed itself by offering models with exquisite styling, improved performance, and gobs of tech.
These are no longer nice square cars for nice square people. They’re sex machines intended for people who want to make a statement about who they are — and may happen to have children. But Volvo hasn’t abandoned its recipe entirely. It’s still a bit of an odd duck as European manufacturers go, and it’s still building desirable station wagons.
While many of them border on the crossover category, the company has stuck with estate cars, the V90 being the biggest jewel in that particular crown. The new V60 is essentially a scaled-down and more affordable version of that model. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart without careful inspection.
Our previous entry into Buy/Drive/Burn asked which brougham personal luxury coupe you’d choose from the Big Three for the 1980 model year. Today we’ve got a different Big Three — two Germans and a Swede. (Read ground rules here.)
All of them offered luxury wagons with all-wheel drive around the turn of the century, and we hone in on 2004 today. Which one will you drive up to the Alps and then set on fire?