Sweden. A partner on the Scandinavian peninsula with Norway, it boasts three regions: Norrland, Svealand, and to the south, Gotaland.
It locates itself a little closer than the Baltic Sea when it comes home to Geneva, IL for six days in June to celebrate Svenskarnas Dag, the Midsummer Festival. One and all come to Geneva to sample food, shops, entertainment, and general fun-having with a flavor of Swedish culture.
I was able to attend this year’s festivities and enjoyed one of my favorite locations, The Little Traveler. I’ve been going to The Little Traveler since childhood to see what its 36 rooms have to offer and during Swedish Days it spills over onto the front lawn where shoppers have anxiously awaited some of the best deals of the year.
Now, if you’ve ever read anything from JulesOnWheelz, you know I try to make a connection to cars through everyday happenings, events, memories and the like. Recalling a memory and attaching it to a new one helps us remember details and builds a bridge from the everyday to the motoring world, at least for me.
So with Sweden in mind…here comes the connection…Volvo and its 2019 S60 R-Design, that I had the pleasure of driving, so I could bring a bit MORE Sweden to you.
A lot can happen in a year.
Just last June we were joining Volvo in watching the launch of its new American manufacturing plant in Charleston, SC. Dignitaries, administrators, and employees made their case for the Volvo success story in the South. Volvo’s core values matched nicely with their descent upon Charleston and the surrounding area: safety, quality and care for the environment steered the way for the S60 sedan and promises kept by Volvo.
Click here to see the inauguration from June 2018.
Sweden had come to America and building the S60 its task. Exports of the S60 began in March 2019 and American made Volvos are actually being exported back to Sweden and all over the world through the Port of Charleston.
2022 will mark the start of production for the XC90, Volvo’s largest SUV, at the plant as well. The economic impact to the area is pivotal.
Volvo estimates that by 2022 it will create more than 5 billion dollars in economic activity statewide and support over 9,000 total jobs in the community and beyond adding up to more than 500 million dollars in income and benefits each year.
My time in the S60 R-Design was memorable. I had looked forward to driving it from the start. Its clean lines and efficient Swedish style appealed to me. Available with award-winning engines 250hp (FWD), 316hp (AWD) Drive-E gasoline engines, or the 400hp PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) (AWD), the S60 fits the bill for a variety of mid-size luxury sedan customers.
Simple controls and a sleek console greeted me as I entered. Priority was given to seating design and comfort in the S60. Contours and adjustable comfort settings line things up nicely for a long trip where the driver merges with the car underfoot without undue stress. Lumbar options seal the deal providing support to all shapes and sizes.
As I motored in the sporty R-Design trim level, responsiveness was key to its success. Driver control and sheer ease of movement and handling were hallmarks of the S60. Adding to its charm was the Oncoming Lane Mitigation feature which senses when you cross the center line and moves the car back automatically starting at 37 mph.
Volvo USA is enjoying the fruits of its labor at the South Carolina production plant. Sales are up and the XC90 and S60 are leading the pack. Sweden coming to America seems to be a success.
Little did I know that Sweden would have such an influence upon me in the Spring of 2019. Shopping for bargains or cars, Swedish offerings bring a load of practicality with pure design and common sense rolled into one.
Swedish Days can be “everyday” in the 2019 Volvo S60.
*cover photo courtesy of Volvo
MSRP starting at $35,800
MSRP as equipped $55,490