Road tests / Car Reviews: Volvo V40 T5 Cross Country 2014

April 12th, 2014 by Robert Barry

IMG_0276It may sit 40mm higher than a standard V40 hatch but the all-wheel-drive V40 T5 Cross Country pictured here is more of a crossover hot hatch than a hardcore off-road SUV.

Don’t let the raised driving height, durable front and rear body kit, side scuff plates and rear skid plate fool you into thinking otherwise. Continue reading “Road tests / Car Reviews: Volvo V40 T5 Cross Country 2014” »

Volvo S60 T5 R-Design 2012 Review

February 8th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

We spent a very pleasant week which included a jaunt to Ruapuke and back for a Waitangi weekend camping trip. This was a great test for the Volvo – plenty of motorway driving, followed by some twisty blacktop and then gravel, all while laden down with the accoutrements of spending a couple of nights under canvas without decent toilet facilities.

The S60 T5 R-Design sits in a kind of middle ground between family sedan and luxury sports sedan. You could look at it two ways: it’s a safe and practical option for a sporty sedan, or it’s a car that stuck between those two markets and might not be big enough to be a family sedan or sporty enough to make your hairs stand on end.

It’s a Volvo so that means it comes with the aura of safety that is almost uniquely Volvo’s to emanate. That means it’s probably not going to appeal to young, affluent execs. No, despite the R-Design pack which gives you a sports-tuned chassis, a new grille and mirrors, a set of sports seats, floor mats, some stunning 5-spoke alloys, sat-nav and flashier gear knob, instruments and steering wheel, this is going to be a car which is bought by people who appreciate the sleek design and punchy overtaking power, but want it tempered with an air of sensibility and impregnable safety. Perhaps there’s a child, but no longer a ‘significant other’; perhaps it’s the need for an attractive corporate ride that’s a bit of a sleeper; perhaps it’s a couple whose children have flown the coupe [sic] so back seats are a mere convenience and not a necessity; perhaps they really just like Volvos but want something more exciting with better handling than an XC. Continue reading “Volvo S60 T5 R-Design 2012 Review” »

2011 Volvo V60 – First Drive

March 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new Volvo V60 wagon was officially released into the NZ market with a launch event held in Auckland.

Well known for its safety innovations, Volvo is set to continue that trend with the V60 but is throwing other virtues into the mix. Shapely design, sharp on-road dynamics and powerful engines are all features of the new 2011 V60 range which comes with high expectations for the team at Volvo Cars NZ.

According to General Manager, Steve Kenchington, “The all-new V60 provides a great opportunity for us.  Volvo has always been strong with wagons in New Zealand and with the striking styling, the performance and safety package we hope to attract new buyers to our sports wagon as well as retain our existing customers.”

‘This is an extremely important new car for us,’ Kenchington added. ‘With its standout style, exceptional on-road abilities, outstanding passenger comfort and the very latest Volvo safety technology it sets new standards in New Zealand’s premium mid-size segment.”

The three model V60 range goes on sale this month to complement the similar engined S60 sedan which arrived just before Christmas. After a media presentation Car and SUV was given some seat time with each of the three models in the new line up.

The range consists of the entry-spec V60 T5 (four cylinder turbocharged petrol engined) priced at $67,990, with the mid-range V60 D5 AWD (Turbo diesel All Wheel Drive) at $75,990 and the flagship V60 T6 AWD (Turbo petrol All Wheel Drive) at $83,990. Continue reading “2011 Volvo V60 – First Drive” »

Land Rover to start production in India

August 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Tata Motors big cheese Carl-Peter Forster has just announced that Land Rover production would begin in India in 2011. So far there is no word on which model exactly would be built in the sub-continent but the T5 platform used on the current LR4 and Range Rover Sport seems a likely option. The T5 platform is also expected to be used on an upcoming replacement model for the iconic Defender range which is expected to be launched sometime in 2012.

Forster also announced that Jaguar is looking for a partner to produce cars within China. Because Chinese law dictates that foreign automakers are required to work with local companies in China, Jaguar is in negotiations for a production deal in the rapidly developing nation. China’s luxury vehicle market is still experiencing growth and local production would undoubtedly make it easier for Jaguar to get a much larger share.

2011 Volvo S60 details released

February 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 Volvo S60 is ready for its debut at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, with the automaker’s newest midsize offering remaining largely true to the concept that was shown in Detroit last year.

In terms of styling the S60 certainly has a more athletic presence than the outgoing model. A wagon variant is expected to arrive in Europe later this year.

Compared to its predecessor, the S60 grows slightly in every direction and is around 45kg heavier than the outgoing model.

Power will be provided by a twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six putting out 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, with maximum torque available from just 1,500 rpm. Mated to a six-speed automatic and a Haldex all-wheel drive system, the S60 T6 AWD will get to 100 kph in 6.5 seconds. A cheaper front-wheel drive model is expected to debut alongside the wagon later this year.

European consumers will have their choice of a turbo’d and direct injected 2.0-liter four-pot, along with a diesel and a dual-clutch gearbox.

Three separate suspension systems will be available: Base, Dynamic and Four-C Adaptive. Dynamic will be optional and use stiffer springs and bushings, combined with retuned dampers and thicker piston rods, with the Four-C setup utilizing Volvo’s new adaptive damping system.

Naturally, safety technology is on display with the S60, Volvo has incorporated it’s newest system — Pedestrian Detection — which utilizes the City Safety crash avoidance system, a front-mounted radar unit and mirror cameras to detect pedestrians over 31 inches tall and apply the brakes if a collision is expected.

Next-gen Land Rover Defender planned

October 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Land Rover Defender SVX

There are few vehicles as iconic and as instantly recognisable as the Land Rover Defender. Boasting six decades of production, the classic boxy go-anywhere vehicle is finally due for an update, and according to the recent reports, it’s already underway and appropriately named Project Icon.

The Land Rover design team is secretly hard at work on the project, with aims to update the classic Defender with modern design principles while retaining its simple, efficient competence. Unlike most of its current peers, the new Project Icon vehicle is expected to pass on aluminum for a dependable and rugged steel chassis borrowed from the current Discovery and Range Rover Sport models.

The Project Icon truck will be most likely initially built only in England, but there are plans to send it to China, Russia, India and elsewhere in knock-down form for final assembly down the road.

Upgrading the Defender to the T5 chassis will mean independent suspension, and a choice of steel or air springs depending on the application. Power will most likely come from the company’s existing lineup of four- and six-cylinder diesels.