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Volvo Car Reviews

Volvo C30--Pretty Looks, Pretty Sloppy Driving

By Jim Bray

Sunday, June 3, 2007

It's the prettiest Volvo I've seen in many a year, a seductively sexy coupe/wagon that looks like a million dollars.

Alas, it drives like substantially less than that, and that's where this car with sporty pretensions falls down.

Volvo Flagship Offers Luxury, Performance, Safety

By Jim Bray

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Attractive, classy, safe, yet still rewarding to drive. That's Volvo's new S80, the company's flagship sedan.

Volvo has come a long way, earning a reputation for safety, durability and environmental consciousness -- and, fortunately, the days of Volvos looking like bricks on wheels are long gone, since recent Volvos have included a welcome dash of Úlan to their exterior styling. Both the S40 and C70 I drove in the past couple of years are very nice cars, interesting, safe and pleasant to drive. What I had expected to be boring turned out to be quite engrossing.

Volvo C70 — C-ing is Believing

By Jim Bray

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Who'd have thought that stodgy old Volvo could inspire outright automotive lust? Isn't this the company that has been the darling of the green set, or those for whom safety is the greatest priority in a car?

Yet here they are putting out the new C70, a coupe with sexy curves, nice performance, and a roof that dances the ballet for you. Lust is definitely what the C70 inspired in many of the people who saw it during my week of test driving. Including me; I thought I'd get struck by lightning!

Volvo's First V8 Promises to be Mean, but Clean

By Jim Bray

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Grunt without the guilt."

That’s how Volvo describes the new V8 option debuting soon in its XC90 SUV.

Grunt, thanks to the V8’s 315 horsepower and 325 ft. lb of torque, and no guilt thanks to its efficiency and cleanliness, two factors Volvo says were high on its list of priorities for its first eight cylinder power plant.

"It’s important that we can launch a V8 without compromising on our core values," said Volvo Cars President and CEO Hans-Olov Olsson.

One way to do that was to ensure the engine was small enough physically to fit into the existing XC90’s bay, mounted transversely like the rest of Volvo’s engines. "We’ve tailored this V8 specifically for the XC90," says Hans Wikman, Volvo Cars Vice President, Vehicle Line Large Cars. "A transverse engine is helpful in maintaining the frontal crumple zones in the XC90 and thus not a compromise on protective safety."

Volvo's Swede heart

By Jim Bray

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Volvo. The name is synonymous with safety and durability, and for years it was also synonymous with cars that looked like cinder blocks on wheels.

Those days are now long gone, fortunately, and the recent crop of Volvos have been as pleasing aesthetically as they are technologically. This has undoubtedly helped the Swedish company remain competitive in an increasingly crowded automotive marketplace, and if my experience with the 2005 S40 sedan is any indication, the company will be doing quite well for the foreseeable future.

The S40 is Volvo’s "entry level" vehicle, a four door sedan available in a variety of configurations. My test unit was the T5 AWD, which is the higher end version and it came with enough extras and gewgaws to move its price tag from the S40’s base of just under thirty grand Canadian to just under fifty thousand Canuck loonies.

Not cheap, but not out of the ballpark, either, considering what you get.

Take the engine, for example. The T5 label indicates that this S40 includes a hot, turbocharged and intercooled inline five cylinder power plant with variable valve timing. It’s rated at 218 horses @ 5000 rpm and 236 lb. ft. of torque, numbers that don’t seem excessive at a price point where six cylinder-equipped entries such as Infiniti’s G35 are pushing nearly 300 ponies, but they also don’t tell the whole story. Most of the torque is available from about 1500 rpm and once you ram the gas pedal to the floor and wait just the tiniest moment for the turbo to kick in it rockets you forward in a most satisfying manner.

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