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 March 11, 2019

1994 Volvo 960 in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhile 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.

Just last week, I found a half-dozen 240s, a 780 Bertone Coupe, and a pair of 960 sedans… in a single yard. Here’s the better-preserved of the two 960s. Read More >

By on January 24, 2019

2019 Volvo XC 40 front quarter

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.

Read More >

By on December 26, 2018

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.

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By on December 5, 2018

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.  Read More >

By on November 29, 2018

Today’s Rare Ride fits squarely in the I Didn’t Know About This file. It’s a military-grade Volvo from the 1950s, which the company transformed into a civilian vehicle nearly three decades later.

Presenting the C202 Laplander.

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By on November 12, 2018

Care by Volvo subscription service

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.  Read More >

By on October 11, 2018

What do you get when you cross practical Swedish design sensibility with some Italian flair? You get a very expensive and boxy two-door sedan with a Bertone badge on it.

Presenting the 1989 Volvo 780.

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By on September 10, 2018

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. Read More >

By on August 30, 2018

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”…

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By on August 16, 2018

2017 Volvo V90 T6 Inscription - Image: Volvo

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. Read More >

By on July 27, 2018

2018 Volvo XC60 front quarter

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.

Read More >

By on July 19, 2018

2018 Volvo XC60, Image: Volvo Cars

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. Read More >

By on July 16, 2018

1993 Volvo 240 Wagon in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsVolvo 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. Read More >

By on July 5, 2018

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. Read More >

By on June 27, 2018

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.  Read More >

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