You couldn’t miss it. It was green. A long box with windows. I jumped into the rectangular wonder many times on my way home from school. Babysitting for a little boy who just loved the new movie “Star Wars” and playing with storm troopers my lot in life at the time.
I noticed a few other Volvos in town as the diagonal line across the grill stood out along with its strong styling. Cars were very important at my house…quizzes about cars were given before, during and after trips to the Jewel-Osco or Eagle Foods or anywhere for that matter. The men in my family kept little sister busy with polishing chrome bumpers and Turtle Wax runs on two wheels. That Volvo showing up in the driveway across the street where the “new” neighbors lived sparked quite a discussion. Words like safe, square, sturdy, green, and strange were exchanged.
As the person who rode most often in that car I remember it being roomy and brand new…something that didn’t happen over at our house. The constant rotation of beaters and beauties that my four brothers and father ran through the driveway was, I’m sure, the talk of the neighborhood just as the Volvo was.
As I cruised the Chicago Auto Show during media days all those memories came flooding back after one look at that grill.
Photo by Jules Stayton
Once again the Volvo brand is the talk of the town as it makes a resurgence through its XC40, XC60, XC90 SUVs and S series sedans. The XC60 has claimed 2018’s North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. This win follows the XC90’s in 2016 in the same category.
Showcased at the Chicago Auto Show, Volvo makes an impact. Each model’s attention to detail in both the interior and exterior is significant. With production of these SUVs in both China and Sweden, Volvo recognizes that the American market is one of value and plans on investing in a new billion dollar production plant in South Carolina that will provide over 3900 jobs when it starts production of the S60 in the fourth quarter of 2018. The XC90 will follow in 2021.
Safety continues to be a hallmark of Volvo via its City Safety System. Steer Assist has been added. Oncoming Lane Mitigation uses steer assist to temper head-on collisions. Lane changes are abated with Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS).
Photo by Jules Stayton
Signature “Thor’s Hammer” headlights will be just a blur as the new 407 horsepower T8 Twin-hybrid engine races zero – 100 Km in just 5.3 seconds in the XC60. If diesel is your preference the D4 and D5 engines bring 190 and 235 horsepower to the table, respectively. The T5 and T6 are equipped with a turbo and supercharged gasoline engine and push horsepower to 254 and 320 all in the luxury compact SUV class.
Photo by Jules Stayton
The XC60 in my hands a couple of weeks ago was a true pleasure to drive. Supple leather seating and that wonderful minimalistic Scandinavian design shouts comfort as the center console headquarters all necessary functions.
Being in the market for a new SUV myself, this Volvo tops my list. I admit I am a sucker for the wood elements trimming out the inside of the XC60.
Smooth-as-silk acceleration with speed-on-demand characterizes this Volvo and one can see why it is raking in the accolades. A crowded class is narrowed when looking for genuine luxury and performance. It’s not limited to this model, however.
Fresh off its 2018 European Car of the Year award at the Geneva Auto Show this past week, the XC40 is nothing to scoff at. President and CEO of Volvo Hakan Samuelsson, 2018 World Car Person of the Year, remarked that “winning this award with our new XC40 is perfect timing”. The third SUV is not just the little sister to the XC60 and XC90. Taking a share of the small SUV market is Volvo’s goal with the XC40 and plans on the United States and Chinese markets taking significant shares.
Leading the charge, consumers can elect to join the “CARE by Volvo” subscription service to explore options other than ownership or leasing that includes multiple drivers and ride share features. One flat fee garners use, insurance, maintenance, and repairs via a two-year commitment. Patrons have a choice of the XC40 or the new V60 estate (that’s station wagon to you and me) just released last week by way of suburban Swedish driveway event. Multiple drivers can be accommodated by exchanging a digital key via “Volvo On Call”.
Future Volvo cars in the 40 series will be built on the new compact modular vehicle architecture (CMA) including a hybrid and electric option utilizing multiple engine types adding even a three-cylinder format. The three-cylinder is a first for Volvo in its 91-year run. 2019 is the ambitious goal the company has set for itself for all Volvo models to be “electrified”.
Photos by Jules Stayton
Saying that I’m considering a Volvo to just about anyone and they respond with an eye roll and “really”? That’s when I come back and start listing all of the award-winning models in the line-up and harken them back to the days-gone-by when everyone wanted a Volvo for safety.
Now everyone wants a Volvo for safety AND style!
Its one way to again be the talk of the neighborhood.