Polestar’s EVs are elegantly styled and offer great tech and safety equipment, but the automaker only has one model on sale in the U.S. right now. That’s about to change, as the Polestar 3 is nearing the completion of its development phase, and the U.S. model is expected to enter production early next year.
It’s no secret that Volvo wants to become a completely climate-neutral company, and the automaker has promised to go fully electric by the end of the decade. As part of that transition, Volvo is completely phasing out its iconic diesel powertrains by early next year.
China is the world’s largest auto market, with nearly 30 million cars sold there last year, and automakers of all stripes are eager to grab a piece of the action, especially with electric vehicles. Tesla, Ford, General Motors, and most luxury brands offer broad product lines in the country, and that includes Volvo and Polestar, both owned by Chinese auto giant Geely. That relationship with China gives the automakers the ability to offer unique products there, and Polestar’s latest innovation is a great example. It has developed a new smartphone that it plans to sell with its debut SUV in the country, the Polestar 4.
Volvo Cars is suspending sedan sales in the United Kingdom and it looks like North America could be next if we consider the brand’s rationale. The company has said its sales volume has skewed so heavily toward SUVs and crossovers that it doesn’t make good sense to offer anything else.
As the automotive world moves closer to semi-autonomous and someday, autonomous driving functions, vehicles will need more sensors and advanced tools to “feel” their way through the surrounding environment. Volvo plans to do that with the upcoming EX90 EV, but it appears the advanced sensor array could be causing delays.
The word “quiet” in the headline applies in two different ways to the 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country wagon. It means quiet in the literal sense – the cabin of this car isolates noise nicely, as befits a luxury car – but also in the more abstract sense. This is a car that seems to fly under the radar, even as it’s one of the last wagons left on the market.
The automotive world recently lost a giant of design. Peter Horbury, the man credited with pushing Volvo from the brick-making OEM to one building flowing, curvy vehicles, has died. He passed away, aged 73, on a recent trip to China while visiting colleagues from his more recent employer, Lotus.
Volvo is dropping front-wheel drive for the XC40 and XC60 crossovers for 2024. However, this also means the XC40 will lose the 2.0-liter B4 turbo (194 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque) and now have the B5 variant (247 hp and 258 pound-feet) as its singular powertrain. Since the XC60 comes exclusively with the B5 already, the only change is that front-wheel drive will be removed from the menu.
On paper, the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate seems like a fine compact EV. And it looks cool. Yet it has quirks that detract from the experience – which would be OK if the driving dynamics were just a tick better.
“Quirky” is an adjective that’s been applied to Volvos in the past, in ways both good and bad, and it certainly applies here, though the quirks are more confounding than fun.
Despite all-electric vehicles being heralded as environmentally sound solutions that would kick down the door to affordable mobility, there haven’t been a lot of good examples hitting the market recently. Most models are aimed at the affluent, resulting in 9,000-pound behemoths with six-figure price tags. General Motors recently released the absolutely ludicrous GMC Hummer EV while the Chevrolet Bolt is being discontinued.
Meanwhile, Volvo has introduced the EX30 — a pint-sized EV that’s to serve as the foundation of its all-electric transformation. But it’s difficult to say whether or not it’s going to deliver on those early promises of electrification.
Volvo has come up with some truly compelling EV designs, and that’s before we talk about anything from Polestar. The automaker’s upcoming EX90 blends the XC90’s clean, attractive shape with advanced safety and driver-assist technology. It’s become so popular with prospective buyers that Volvo had to stop taking orders to catch up.
The Polestar 4 is coming soon, bringing a striking design and no rear window. Though it will eventually become available in several countries, including the U.S., Polestar’s launching the oddball EV in China to start. The $60,000-ish Polestar 4 is now available for preorder only in China, using the company’s QR code and app.
Though it’s a bit more adventurous and sporty than its parent company, Polestar’s designs haven’t drastically strayed from Volvo’s calming look. That’s changing – albeit slightly – for 2024, with the introduction of the Polestar 4. The coupe-SUV features a concept car look, including a large solid panel where the back window should be.
Scientists making an artificial sun in a lab somewhere sounds ripped from a sci-fi villain movie, but one of the world’s most straight-laced automakers recently announced that it has come up with LED lights that mimic the natural light range and quality of sunlight.
Volvo has reportedly filed a new patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that would add digital protections designed to prevent modern car thieves from doing what they do. While the golden age of car thievery typically involved criminals skulking around in the dark to find an isolated model they could jimmy open and then hot-wire, today’s thieves tend to linger in crowded parking areas our outside homes with computers that scan and capture the codes being transmitted remotely from the key fob to the car.
Volvo CEO Jim Rowan wants to sell cars directly to consumers, but his statements and moves in other countries have the automaker’s American dealer network up in arms. Speaking on an earnings call, he expressed frustration with Volvo’s distance from its buyers and said the company plans to learn as much as possible from the new sales model in the U.K. before rolling it out to other countries.
Volvo Cars is reintroducing its subscription model in California, despite having previously gotten in trouble for violating the state's franchise laws. While the automotive industry has attempted to hype the premise for years, vehicle subscription services haven't gotten much love from consumers and tend to exist in a legal gray zone that makes regulators uneasy. We even bashed them years ago for being one of the most expensive ways to get into an automobile, with only a modicum of features to help rationalize the added expenditure.
Part of becoming a parent is making compromises. Instead of a weekend in Vegas with some friends, you spend your vacation money taking the kids to visit a rat in a Florida swamp. Instead of enjoying a variety of interesting meals each night, it’s chicken fingers with boxed mac and cheese night after night after night.
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.
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- Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
- Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
- Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
- Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.
- Inside Looking Out I did not notice, did they mention climate change? How they are going to fight climate change, racism and gender discrimination. I mean collective Big 3.