Aug
31

Volvo PV444 turns 70

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Volvo PV444

Volvo has made all manner of vehicles over the course of its long history, including coupes, convertibles, hatchbacks, sedans, wagons and SUVs. But the vehicle that started it all was the PV444.

Or rather, we should say, the PV444 is what re-started it all. Because while it wasn’t Volvo’s first model, it was the first one it produced after the war. Monday, September 1, will mark 70 years since the PV444 first debuted at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm pictured above, where the company received 148,437 visitors.

That presentation there took place shortly before the end of World War II when the vehicle wasn’t even finished yet. A team of 40 engineers and designers were still fine-tuning the final version, but were eager to show the public what it would start building after the last bullet was fired and peace would return to Europe.

The exhibition garnered 2,300 pre-orders (though we doubt that’s what they were called seven decades ago and in Swedish). It would take Volvo another few years to begin delivery, but once it did, people got Gothenburg’s first small car, built on a monocoque chassis with an overhead-valve engine – all pioneering features at the time. That OHV engine displaced 1.4 liters and offered just 40 horsepower, and all those initial examples were painted black with green interiors.

The first examples delivered to the United States arrived in Los Angeles on August 15, 1955, and established Volvo’s presence in the North American market. Though Volvo had only made 2,000 cars at that point, it ambitiously set the production goal of 8,000 units for the PV444… and ended up building 200,000 of them by the time production ended in 1958. That total is 440,000 if you include the updated PV544 that followed until 1965. In short, it was a pivotal model for Volvo, and one worthy of celebrating.

Continue reading Volvo PV444 turns 70

Volvo PV444 turns 70 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 31 Aug 2014 08:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
30

Weekly Recap: Volvo’s $11-billion gamble

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2015 Volvo XC60

It’s ambitious, but Volvo is spending money on core products built on qualities that have made the brand successful in the past.

Just how much does it take to revive an iconic premium brand? How does $11 billion sound? That’s what Volvo’s Chinese owners are spending to give the Swedish company one more shot to make it as a global carmaker.

It’s a make-or-break proposition. Volvo must get it right, as even deep-pocketed parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding Corp. has limits. The money will fund a product blitz with fresh yet authentic Swedish design, improved technology, new engines and, as always, a focus on safety. It’s ambitious, but Volvo is spending money on core products built on qualities that have made the brand successful in the past.

The 2015 XC90 will be the first vehicle to roll off the assembly line as a result of these efforts. As our Noah Joseph reported from the reveal in Sweden this week, the crossover embodies all of Volvo’s aspirations. It’s based on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture that will be used for all of the company’s models in North America. It draws power from the Drive-E engine series, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 316 horsepower thanks to turbocharging and supercharging, and a plug-in hybrid variant that also uses both forced-induction systems to pump out 400 hp.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Volvo’s $11-billion gamble

Weekly Recap: Volvo’s $11-billion gamble originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Aug 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
28

Volvo aligning model range into three families

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Volvo XC60 and XC90

Things have been slow in Gothenburg the past few years, but they’re picking up speed. The only new model Volvo has released in the past four years since it was taken over by Geely – that being the V40 introduced in 2012 – started its development when the company was still under Ford’s umbrella. But now the Swedish automaker is preparing to launch a volley of new models, and the new XC90 is only the starting point.

Volvo has set out to align its product portfolio into three model families – 40, 60 and 90 – each with three body-styles: sedan, wagon and crossover. (Volvo presented a tidy little table, which we’ve replicated below, to outline what it has in store.) That means a new S40 sedan and XC40 crossover as well as a replacement for the current V40 wagon, all to be based on a new platform shared with Geely. It also means replacements for the current S60, V60 and XC60 to be based on the modular SPA platform that underpins the new XC90, as well as a new S90 sedan to replace the S80 and a new V90 wagon to succeed the V70 and move it up-market above the V60.

All of these models are set to arrive within the next four years as Volvo moves to replace its entire lineup by 2019 and subsequently move to more competitive seven-to-eight-year product life-cycles. But as aggressively as Volvo is pursuing this renewal of its core models, they’re not the only things Gothenburg has in store. Keep reading below to learn how Volvo’s model line will flesh out over the coming years.

Continue reading Volvo aligning model range into three families

Volvo aligning model range into three families originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
28

What you missed on 8.28.14

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Daily U-Turn

Volkswagen e-UpElectric VW e-Up! tested

The Volkswagen Up! is one of our favorite pieces of pint-sized forbidden fruit. The cute little city car is already one of the best-selling microcars in Europe, and VW aims to broaden its appeal with a new electrified version, the e-Up! Jonathon Ramsey recently took the electric Up! for a quick spin in Germany. Read his full report, here.

Mazda MX-5 Miata muleMazda MX-5 Coupe in the works?

We’re just days away from the reveal of the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata, and already, the rumormill is swirling about what’s in store for the lovely two-seat sports car. New reports suggest that a long-awaited coupe model is indeed in the cards – of course, take that with a huge grain of salt. More details about future plans for the Mazda3 and Mazda6 are detailed here, as well.

VolvoVolvo model range details revealed

Tired of all the Volvo news this week? Good. Neither are we. Looking beyond the introduction of the 2015 XC90, or man Noah Joseph managed to get some more details about the future of the company’s model range, which happily includes sedans, wagons, and the well-liked Cross Country trims. See what else is in store in his deep dive, here.

Top Stories

What you missed on 8.28.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
27

What you missed on 8.27.14

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Daily U-Turn

Kia Forte Koup2014 Kia Forte Koup reviewed

It’s not a sports car, but the Kia Forte Koup offers 200 turbocharged horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission, and retuned suspension geometry to make it a more engaging offering than its sedan counterpart. But does all that add up to a car that’s actually engaging for enthusiasts? Brandon Turkus puts one to the test in our latest review.

Ford F-150Tailgate up vs. down: which is more efficient?

We don’t normally think of pickup trucks as being the most aerodynamic vehicles on the road, but drag does play a key role in how the vehicles are designed. Some folks think it’s actually more efficient to drive with the tailgate down, but is that actually the case? Greg Migliore finds out with the help of the 2015 Ford F-150.

Volvo XC902015 Volvo XC90 deep dive

Yesterday, we brought you the full specs of the 2015 Volvo XC90. But our man Noah Joseph was on hand at the crossover’s live reveal in Sweden, and reports that there’s way more to this XC90 than you might think. This isn’t just a new crossover, this is a new direction for the brand, and there’s a whole lot to learn in our Deep Dive, here.

Top Stories

What you missed on 8.27.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
27

12-year-old golfer wins Volvo for hole-in-one [w/video]

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12-year-old wins a Volvo with a hole-in-one

Some people just have all of the luck. Natasha Oon, a 12-year-old girl in Malaysia, was recently attending the 40th RSGC Ladies Amateur Open Championship at the Royal Selangor Golf Club with her parents. On a whim, she teed up a shot with her eight iron and scored a hole-in-one. That would have been impressive for a girl her age by any standards, but she didn’t see the sign that said making the shot also won her a new Volvo XC60 T5. Not a bad prize for a tween who won’t be allowed to drive for at least a few years.

So what does any good 12-year-old do with a CUV? Give it to her parents of course. According to website Paultan, she plans on giving the crossover to her mom and told her, “this is the car that you will use to drive me to school every day.” Scroll down to watch video of Oon receiving the oversized key to the Volvo with her family and a brief interview with her about what she was thinking when she found out she won a car for sinking a fantastic shot.

Continue reading 12-year-old golfer wins Volvo for hole-in-one [w/video]

12-year-old golfer wins Volvo for hole-in-one [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
27

2015 Volvo XC90

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Volvo XC90

The new XC90 isn’t just about the new XC90 – it’s as much about the new generation of Volvos that will result.

Around the turn of the millennium, Volvo seemed like the perfect automaker to make a crossover. It had, after all, already established for itself a reputation for building all-wheel-drive wagons for transporting families in safety and comfort. But while its competitors marched one by one into the luxury utility market, Volvo held out. That was, anyway, until the debut of the original XC90 in 2002. And it’s never looked back since.

Over the past baker’s dozen years of production, Volvo has produced over 600,000 examples of the XC90 – not to mention another half-million or so of the smaller XC60 that followed. In other words, the decision to build the XC90 in the first place may very well have been among the smartest that Volvo has ever made. But after an unusually long lifecycle, Volvo has finally retired the first-gen XC90, and it’s replacing it with the model you see here. And with it, it’s ushering in a bold new era for the Swedish automaker.

After a series of three particularly handsome concept cars and even more teasers and advanced details, we’re finally looking at the new 2015 Volvo XC90 here at its birthplace in Sweden. The big-production live reveal with media in attendance from around the world is testimony in and of itself to the importance of the new XC90′s arrival to a marque that’s always had a loyal following and is, after a period of stagnation, only growing. Because the new XC90, you see, isn’t just about the new XC90: it’s as much about the new generation of Volvos that will result.

Continue reading 2015 Volvo XC90

2015 Volvo XC90 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
26

2015 Volvo XC90 is the Swedish future

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Volvo XC90

Dashboard of 2015 Volvo XC90It’s been months since the Concept XC Coupe debuted at the Detroit Auto Show, Volvo’s last show car previewing its all-new 2015 XC90. But the production model is finally here after years of development, and it signals the future of the Swedish automaker with its Scalable Product Architecture modular platform and cutting-edge new engine family.

The 2015 XC90 carries all-new styling, but is still familiar up front, with the company’s logo slashing diagonally through its prominent, upright grille. Like the concept, it carries T-Shaped LED running lights through the headlights. The company calls them the “Thor’s Hammer” design, an evocative designation that we think is fantastic. Under that new front end is a choice of two quite powerful, but very efficient powertrains. The standard XC90 gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged engine with all-wheel drive making an impressive 316 horsepower. Or if buyers want to be a little greener and more powerful, there is the XC90 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid with the same engine, albeit augmented with an electric motor to produce a staggering 400 hp.

The exterior styling is crisp, if not quite as sensual as Volvo’s latest concepts, but we think the interior is the real star here, with a dashboard that looks like it came out of a Herman Miller catalog and a unique vertically oriented infotainment screen integrated into its center stack, perhaps taking a cue from Tesla. If the cabin feels as good as it looks, we think a lot of sales are going to be won inside.

Volvo prides itself on its safety reputation, and the new XC90 is no different with some brand-new tech. First, there’s a run-off road protection package that absorbs energy between the seat and its frame that “cushions the vertical forces.” There’s also an intersection braking system that stops the crossover if it tries to pull out in front of an oncoming car.

US pricing for the XC90 T6 AWD starts at $48,900, and comes standard with luxury features like nav and a panoramic sunroof. There’s also going to be a limited run of 1,927 First Edition models (the date the brand was founded) that come with all of the options and special badges but have to be reserved online starting on September 3rd at 10:00 AM ET. Prices for these exclusive vehicles start at $65,900.

Consider this an appetizer of our full coverage of the 2015 XC90. The embargo has been lifted after numerous leaks, but we have a Deep Dive delving into all of this Volvo’s innovations going up shortly to help you learn the nitty-gritty details. Scroll down to read the official announcement for the next-generation Volvo and the First Edition model.

Continue reading 2015 Volvo XC90 is the Swedish future

2015 Volvo XC90 is the Swedish future originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 09:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
25

Volvo developing new three-cylinder engine family

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Volvo engine

Pop the hood on a Volvo of recent vintage and you’ll find four-, five-, six- and even eight-cylinder engines. But the Swedish automaker is downsizing its engines over the coming years. The new XC90, set to be revealed later this week, will use a new family of four-cylinder engines (like the one pictured above). But that’s not even the end of it as emerging reports speak of a new three-cylinder engine family in the works.

The new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine will, according to reports, help Volvo further cut its carbon emissions in line with constricting regulations in markets like Europe and Australia. There won’t be quite as many versions as the four-cylinder range, which will include gasoline and diesel versions in varying states of tune, but the three-pot motor is tipped to be employed in vehicles as large as the S60 and its stablemates. Larger than that, however, and the three-cylinder engine apparently just doesn’t have the necessary torque.

Expect the new three-cylinder engine to be introduced sometime later this decade, after the four-cylinder’s introduction in 2016. The three-cylinder engine is also set to form the building block of an even more efficient hybrid propulsion system in the future, enabling this new engine family to stay relevant through 2025.

Volvo developing new three-cylinder engine family originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aug
25

Volvo building new AstaZero safety proving ground in Sweden

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AstaZero

Volvo is an automaker committed to vehicle safety, setting an ambitious target for itself: by 2020, the Swedish automaker envisions that no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its cars. In order to achieve that goal, Volvo has announced a new proving ground designed specifically to test safety solutions.

Called AstaZero, the new facility near the company’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, is the result of a $70 million investment. It will cover some 500 acres, with over 60 acres of pavement, four city blocks and three and a half miles of highway. The Active Safety Test Area (the ASTA in AstaZero) will enable Volvo and its partners (including Scania trucks as well as government bodies and university development programs) to simulate city streets, highways, rural roads, roundabouts, T-junctions and more, combining traffic from cars, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, trucks and even animals in order to account for all manner of potential hazards.

The facility will enable Volvo to test active safety systems and autonomous vehicle operations, and even allow robots to test its prototypes in an adaptive environment that aims to be more flexible than existing proving grounds. Read more about Volvo’s commitment to safety in the press release below.

Continue reading Volvo building new AstaZero safety proving ground in Sweden

Volvo building new AstaZero safety proving ground in Sweden originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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