Volvo refreshes C30 for Frankfurt debut

September 9th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo C30 facelift fq

As expected, Volvo has facelifted its C30 entry-level model, for the 2010 model year. The first official pictures of the refreshed Volvo have just been released ahead of the car’s upcoming debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and, not surprisingly, the updates focus mainly on the front and rear styling and are similar in nature to the modifications made to the C70 hardtop convertible (read news item).

The car has radical new appearance from the front, carving out a distinctive new personality. Fresh elements include a larger Volvo badge, new air intakes similar to those found on the XC60 crossover, and a re-designed grille. Designers have also added an ‘Orange Flame Metallic’ paint scheme, visible exhaust tailpipes on the T5 and D5 models, and two new wheel options.

The engine lineup consists of both gasoline and diesel units and ranges in displacement from a compact 1.6-litre unit to a range topping turbocharged 2.5-litre lump. The most fuel-efficient model is a 1.6-liter turbodiesel with engine stop-start technology. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual gearbox, five-speed automatic or a six-speed Powershift dual-clutch unit.

The updated C30 will be launched later this month and global sales are expected to begin early next year.

2010 Volvo C70 Convertible exposed

September 3rd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo C70 convertible fq

Volvo has just released images of its facelifted C70 convertible ahead of its debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

The new look is fresh and includes swept-back headlights and a larger trademark face, overall it’s an even further departure from the automaker’s boxy past. At the back, a new rear lamp design includes fashionable LED lighting, a reshaped bumper, and more pronounced “Volvo” badging on the boot decklid.

Inside, the instrument panel has been redesigned, giving it a wider, sleeker look and a new textured surface.

It wouldn’t be a Volvo without killer safety features these include an advanced body structure and several solutions that are unique in the world of convertibles. The lack of a fixed roof has been compensated by structural reinforcements and sophisticated technology.

The powertrain lineup will consist of several gasoline and turbodiesel units ranging in output from about 136 to 230 horsepower. The range will start with the 2.0D turbodiesel developing 136 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and will top out with a 2.5-litre T5 turbocharged gasoline model with 230 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque on tap.

Volvo XC60 R-Design pack coming soon

July 8th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo XC60 R-Design fq

Volvo has just released details of its sporty R-Design variant of the XC60 crossover vehicle, and it’s more than just another styling package.

The body is now stiffer with modified dampers to increase the ride. The steering ratio has also been tightened up to quicken steering response. Roadholding is also enhanced by a set of 18-inch alloy wheels that are unique to the R-Design package, however Volvo owners who want to go big can buy a 20-inch set of the same design.

Exterior design is improved by colour-coded lower body panels, matte-silver exterior trim, twin chrome tailpipes and silver wing-mirror housings.

The interior hasn’t escaped enhancement too, with aluminium inserts on the dash, doors and steering wheel blinging up the XC60’s cabin. Alloy pedals and a more supportive seat design complete the R-Design package’s sporty theme.

The R-Design pack will be available as an optional extra across the XC60 range, with the new trim level poised to make its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Volvo XC60 D5 2009 2009 Review

July 7th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham


“In my car safety comes first” is a sentence we’ve all heard from parents and other ultra responsible people, but unless their car is a Volvo they’re wrong. You can drive agonisingly slowly with your lights on permanently and indicate miles before you make a turn but without having the distinctive Swedish embrace of a Volvo cocooning you, you’re just not a true safety enthusiast. Since the first Volvo rolled off the production line in 1927 safety has always been the focus with innovations over the years including: laminated windscreens, three-point seatbelts, kiddie locks, side-airbags and traction control. In total, 75 safety innovations have spawned from Volvo and many of those have filtered down into lesser machines. Now, even the budget carmakers are achieving a full 5-star NCAP safety rating and telling everyone about it, so how are Volvo to stay competitive in such an ungrateful and uninterested automotive world?

By diversifying. In the same way other manufacturers are now using safety credentials to sell cars, Volvo has turned its attention to styling and driving dynamics while still maintaining its automotive tradition for safety innovation. The Volvo XC60 is the latest manifestation of Volvo’s modern philosophy and the result is pretty damn good.

Before you even start daydreaming about how effortlessly it could ram-raid your local dairy or how you could fall asleep at the wheel on a long straight road only to be woken up in time to turn the corner, it’s impossible not to admire the vehicle’s visual appeal. The XC60 is the first production vehicle to show off Volvo’s new styling language and the results are modern and stunning but still distinctly Volvo. A strong face featuring a large badge and grille pushes reward into broad shoulders and side windows that taper off creating a coupe-like roofline and an imposing stance. Out back ‘coke bottle’ vertical LED tail lamps flow downwards using micro-optics for a unique illumination effect. Side scuff plates a rear skid plate and a front bumper bar hint at off-road possibility. Chunky 17-inch or optional 18-inch wheels and twin chrome exhausts round out the package with a dash of bling.

Get inside the XC60 and it’s quickly obvious the cabin is as much about feel as it is about aesthetics. The seats are exceptional and reinforce Volvo’s claims at having the best seats in the business. The leather is plush and the seats have width and excellent support, they are heated, electrically adjusted and offer three memory settings. The rear seat row has pop-up booster cushions built-in which raise child passengers to the optimum level for the seatbelts and pretentioners to operate.

The cabin surfaces are finished well with a visually appealing mixture of contrasting materials including leather, soft and hard plastics and brushed metal. A floating centre control stack is a true styling feature housing an array of buttons and knobs that are easy to read and operate while driving. A dashboard mounted multi-function display offers information on audio and climate settings and the instrumentation looks sharp with floating needles and display screens housed within. If you don’t pony up for the satellite navigation option ($4,175) the gaping gap left by the missing display screen does ruin the flow of the control stack but could also act as a statement that you always know exactly where you’re going!

The XC60’s power-operated tailgate opens wide to a 495-litre boot space, fold down the 40/20/40 split rear seat back and that increases to a flat-floored 1455-litre capacity.

Under the bonnet sits Volvo’s 2.4-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged diesel powerplant that pumps out 136kW of power and 400Nm of torque. It will carry the XC60 from 0-100kph in just under 10 seconds, and while this figure isn’t exactly rocket-ship-fast the XC60 can feel genuinely brisk especially pulling through the mid-range with torquey acceleration. For a larger vehicle economy figures are decent with the XC60 drinking 8.3l/100km on the combined cycle. The transmission is a six-speed automatic supplied by Aisin-Warner which offers manual shifts if required. It’s a fairly relaxed gearbox that never chops down prematurely and feels most at home during cruising.

What’s more impressive than the power train is the XC60’s driving dynamics which are well balanced and car-like. Special emphasis has been put on reducing body roll while cornering and the results are impressive. The XC60 refuses to loll around on windy roads and a strong level of grip is achieved thanks to a full-time all—wheel-drive set up regulating power to all corners. Steering is assisted by a clever speed-sensitive power steering system that offers liberal assistance at low speeds and is reduced as speed increases. It’s effective and can also be manually adjusted. With its 230mm clearance and 1912kg body weight the XC60 may struggle to be as sporty as some SUV competitors but it always feels assured on the road and is a breeze to control for any driver.

In terms of safety innovations Volvo hasn’t taken its foot off the gas pedal and the XC60 has plenty on offer for enthusiasts. First up is Dynamic Stability and Traction control which keeps a keen eye on how the vehicle is behaving and detects over- or under-steer and can apply the brakes or reduce engine power accordingly. Roll Stability Control is next in the safety arsenal and will help prevent rollover by monitoring leaning angles. If you are absolutely determined to put the Volvo on its side then the Roll-Over Protection System will activate the seatbelt pre-tensioners and fire the side and curtain airbags to cushion you.

The most innovative safety feature is Volvo’s City Safety and the XC60 is the first car ever to be fitted with it. A laser sensor mounted on the XC60’s windscreen detects vehicles between 6-8 meters in front and if they are stationary or moving significantly slower than the Volvo it will automatically apply its brakes. So if you’re travelling between 4km/h and 30km/h and become distracted by the kids fighting or a swimsuit clad roller-skater and show no intention of stopping, the Volvo’s got your back. Insurance companies are already making noise about dropping rates for owners of vehicles with this feature.

If the standard XC60 doesn’t have enough safety for you, there are optional factory upgrades. One option is a lane departure warning system with a driver alert feature that detects when the driver is crashing out and wakes them up before they, well, crash out. Other safety options include a Trailer Stability Assist monitor and an adaptive cruise control with a collision warning and automatic braking.

If safety is your drug then Volvo is a keen dealer but the XC60 has much more to offer. It isn’t the quickest or the most exciting machine to drive but it does offer agility for its size and true ‘point and accelerate’ drivability. It’s also supremely comfortable inside and is elegantly styled and of course safer than anything else on the road. What’s most impressive is the vehicles unwavering focus on its occupants with their safety, comfort and driving experience absolutely paramount. The XC60 removes so many of the traditional excuses for not buying a Volvo, if you’re in the market for a 5-seater SUV don’t leave it off your test drive list.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications

Price: $76,990

What we like:

  • Handsome styling
  • Interior comfort
  • Easy to drive
  • Car-like handling

What we don’t like:

  • Premium machine but price to match
  • Optional Sat Nav’s absence too noticeable

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Volvo XC60 D5 AWD – Specifications

Engine Name T6 AWD D5
Engine Type Description Five-cylinder turbo charged diesel
Power Train All wheel drive
Number of cylinders 5
Engine Displacement 2400 cc
Engine Bore 82 mm
Engine Stroke 93.2 mm
Max Engine Power 136 kW
Horsepower 185 hp
Horsepower rev 4000 rpm
Torque 400 Nm
Torque rev 2000 – 2750 rpm
Fuel type Diesel
Performance Acceleration (0-100) Six-speed Geartronic transmission 9.9 s
Maximum speed 200 km/h
Fuel consumption (city)  8.3 l/100km
Fuel consumption (highway) 8.3 l/100km
Fuel consumption (mixed) 8.3 l/100km
Emissions CO2 224 g/km


Fuel Capacity 70 l
Cargo Capacity 873 kg
Towing Capacity 2000 kg


Serving Weight 1 kg
Total Weight 1880 kg
Roof max load 100 kg

Exterior Dimensions

Height 1713 mm
Length 4628 mm
Width 1891 mm
Width inc Mirrors 2142 mm
Wheel base 2815 mm
Track Front 1632 mm
Track Rear 1586 mm
Turning Circle 11.9 m

Koenigsegg engineer builds a new Volvo P1800

May 7th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Vox Volvo P1800 fq

Mattias Vöcks is at it again. Back in 2006, the Swedish-born designer who normally spends his days hand-assembling supercars for Koenigsegg used the SEMA show to unveil a custom 1967 Volvo Amazon that was once voted “Sweden’s Hottest Volvo.” Vöcks’ latest creation is based on the classic Volvo P1800 made famous in part as the car driven by Roger Moore in the British television series ‘The Saint’ from the 1960s.

With help from Swedish design firm Vizualtech, Vöcks has added a few modifications to bring the shapely Swedish beauty up to modern standards. Aerodynamics are improved through a rear diffuser, flat underbody tray and a front fascia that’s been smoothed out and extended by 70mm. Powering the bespoke beast is a 4.4-litre V8 borrowed from a new Volvo XC90 SUV it’s turbocharged and puts its 600 horsepower through a six-speed manual transmission to the back wheels.

Apparently this custom Volvo is expected to enter small-scale production at an unspecified date in the future.

Volvo S60 ceases production… for now

April 14th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo S60 production

The best days for Volvo’s S60 are long gone. The once-strong sales have fallen from 100,000 units in the S60’s early years to a bleak 6,200 in 2008. It was a solid performer but  even Volvo knows its played out, and they’re experts at extending the life-span of models. To make room for the new S60, the last of the originals came off the line on March 31st at the Volvo factory in Ghent, Belgium. The last car built a Sapphire Black S60 is headed to Taiwan, and caps a run of nearly 580,000 S60 vehicles in total.

The S60 is a journeyman model for Volvo, and played a crucial role in the automaker’s lineup for many years. Although once competitive in its segment, the S60 has been surpassed by just about everyone else, and the Ghent factory is now busy focusing on launching the 2010 S60.

Volvo to only make four-cylinder engines

March 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham


Carmakers are all get busy and downsizing engines and embracing efficient technologies, but one company is set to go further than just offering a few hybrid models in their lineup to please the greenies. Anonymous sources at Volvo have confirmed that in the near future, the Swedish carmaker will exclusively use four-cylinder engines – making Volvo the first to take this bold step.

This is as simple as it sounds; no more five, six or eight-cylinder engines at Volvo.  The mysterious company sources are claiming that their new four-cylinder models will be just as powerful as the older models with a greater number of cylinders. You know what that means… forced induction.

The move makes sense at this point in time, with future EU regulations bringing the allowable emissions levels down to averages of just 120g/km by 2015, and a long term goal of reaching 95g/km by 2020. Adapting early to these regulations will save Volvo time and money, and allow it to strengthen up other aspects of product development for the future.

Saab may have to merge with Volvo

March 5th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Saab logo

In a desperate bid for survival Saab may look at a possible merger with Volvo, it isn’t the first time a partnership has been discussed. Back in the 1970s the two Swedish automakers were a hair away from merging 240s and 900s, but instead followed separate paths. Now, with both brands facing difficult sales numbers and uncertain futures, GM’s Bob Lutz thinks a merger sounds good once again. Lutz thinks it’d be a way for Ford and General Motors to both rid themselves of problematic business units. The soon-to-be former Car King from GM offers no insight about how the merged companies might actually start making a profit both automakers have serious financial issues. While Volvo has secured a promise of $546 million from the European Investment Bank, Saab is walking a much tougher path to survival.

Ultimately, a merger between Saab and Volvo would be great for their parent companies, but no one knows yet how exactly it would benefit the Swedish brands as they hold on for dear life.

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