Volvo S60 concept mini documentary

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Interviews with the designers and people behind the Volvo S60

Volvo ReCharge electric concept

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Driving footage

Volvo S60 concept unveiling at Detroit 2008

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Stephen Odell, president and CEO, explains the Volvo S60 concept

Volvo XC70 gets new motor for 2010

December 1st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo XC70 2010 fq

Volvo has updated its NZ-spec XC70 for 2010 with a new engine option and some functionality tweaks. Volvo’s latest twin turbo, five cylinder diesel motor is the big news of the changes made to the 2010 XC70 all wheel drive station wagon.

Visually the crossover SUV gains a new-look grille, twin tail pipes, along with other interior changes.

Improved functionality for the XC70’s Volvo Navigation System includes more clearly-read displays on a black background, while window switches have been improved, the availability of a quartz headliner on certain interior colours, and a new Caspian Blue colour choice.

The Volvo XC70 is also available with the refined, naturally aspirated 3.2-litre transverse six-cylinder petrol engine producing 175kWs and 320Nm of torque. The all-new 2.4-litre D5 five-cylinder twin turbo-diesel has 151kWs and a beefy 420Nm of torque.

The new D5 engine was developed in house by Volvo and meets Euro 5 emission standards while increasing performance, lowering emissions and improving fuel economy compared to the previous five cylinder diesel.

It is also available in the XC60.

Both petrol and diesel engines in the XC70 drive all four wheels through Volvo’s adaptive six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.

Standard features on both models include hill descent control, ABS brakes with brake assist, electronic brake distribution and an electronic park brake.

Inside there is leather upholstery including the steering wheel and gear selector, heated front seats and the driver’s seat is electrically adjustable with memory. The rear seat splits 40:20:40 and have two stage built in booster seats, alloy centre stack, cruise control, trip computer and dual zone climate control air conditioning and an eight speaker sound system with iPod and USB interface and controls on the steering wheel.

Volvo’s safety package includes six airbags, whiplash protection, dynamic stability and traction control, an alarm guard and electronic engine immobiliser with integrated remote central locking.

The XC70 comes with a three year unlimited kilometres warranty and seven year anti corrosion warranty and sells from $79,990.

Volvo increase XC60 model range in NZ

November 25th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo XC60 R-Design fq

Volvo has widened its all-wheel-drive XC60 model range for 2010. The model made famous for its City Safety System is now available in four different versions with a choice of a new twin turbocharged diesel motor, a 3.2 litre petrol engine and two turbocharged petrol models.

With 151kWs and a beefy 420Nm of torque, the new D5 engine has lower fuel consumption and emissions that meet Euro 5 standards from its 2.4 litre capacity.

Developing 175kWs and 320Nm of normally aspirated power, the XC60 3.2 litre six cylinder offers more refined performance. And the turbocharged T6 with 210 kWs and 400 Nm is available in a standard specification and as an R design model. All engines are mated to a six speed adaptive Geartronic automatic transmission with All Wheel Drive.

All XC60s now come with a power-operated tailgate providing greater ease of operation and improved convenience for driver and passengers.

Other standard features include ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, ready alert brakes and an electronic parking brake, front fog lights, roof rails, rear park assist, electric heated retractable door mirrors and 17 inch alloys on the diesel and 3.2 model and 18 inch alloys on the T6 versions.

Inside there is leather upholstery, an electric driver’s seat with memory, 3 way split folding rear seat, leather steering wheel and gear lever, height and reach adjustable steering column, cruise control, trip computer and electronic climate control air conditioning.

Apart from the industry leading City Safety low speed accident prevention system, all XC60s also have roll over stability control, dynamic stability and traction control, six airbags, whiplash protection, built in child booster seats and three point seat belts with pre-tensioners on all seats.

There is an alarm and engine immobiliser, remote central locking with panic button and approach lights activation.

All XC60s are Euro5 emissions compliant with three way catalytic converters and have a three year unlimited kilometres warranty with roadside assistance and seven year anti-corrosion warranty.

The two T6 models also come with bi-xenon headlights, hill descent control and rain sensing wipers. And the R design version gets unique door mirrors, wheels, instruments, centre console, sports pedals and body kit.

The XC60 model range is priced from $76,990.

To read a Car and SUV review of Volvo’s XC60, click here.

Click here to visit the Volvo NZ website and find out more.

Could an R-car return save Volvo?

November 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo S60R concept

Volvo has recently wandered a broken and bumpy road, but now there’s some fresh speculation surrounding the troubled automaker. After a tough last couple of years that saw the Swedish brand suffer falling sales while parent company Ford desperately tried to sell the brand to the highest bidder, Volvo has gotten as far away from producing performance vehicles. All the while, its competition from Germany, Japan and the U.S. have boosted their luxury lines with mid-level or super high-performance cars like the BMW 335i/M3, Audi S4/RS4 and Cadillac CTS-V. Volvo, meanwhile, has only focused on more refined design and naturally, safety.

Unfortunately, every player in these segments has upped the ante with their designs and superior safety is no longer solely the domain of Volvo.

So it’s all getting back to the Volvo’s sports brand of R cars. Volvo had some success with the 850R in the mid-Nineties, which was a mildly sharper version than the standard box sedan on which it was based. After that, the P2-gen S60R and V70R got a solid following with their complex Haldex all-wheel-drive system, 300-hp motor, adjustable 4C suspension and Brembo stoppers. But then the R cars disappeared and were replaced only by “R Design” packages that offered the high performance look but nothing under the sheet metal to back it up.

In the home of Volvos, Sweeden, there is a big call for a return to proper R cars with the arrival of the all-new S60, and rather than be crazy quick, should offer mid-level performance like the original 850R did. Pictured is a rendered speculation of a reborn S60R from the Swedespeed website.

China’s Geely preferred Volvo buyer

October 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

China Geely

It’s been rumoured for months that Chinese automaker Geely looked likely to pick up the Volvo brand from Ford, and yesterday it was confirmed. Geely was named as the preferred bidder and negotiations are commencing. However, this is not going to be an easy deal to close. Ford isn’t interested in keeping any stake in the Swedish company, although it does hope to continue some product cooperation.

Despite desperately wanting rid of Volvo, Ford doesn’t want it to die off and wants whoever buys it to have the resources to make it a going concern. One difficult issue will be intellectual property concerns. Any time a manufacturer sale like this happens, the seller is worried about leaving too much information lying around, and that concern is understandably intensified when dealing with a hungry Chinese company. There is no word on when a deal might be closed but it’s sure to take some time.

Volvo developing full electric C30

September 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo developing full electric C30

It looks like a regular Volvo C30 and it features the very same safety and space as the standard car. The difference is that it is powered solely by electricity, entirely without exhaust emissions, and has a range of up to 150 kilometres.

Volvo Cars’ ambitious electrification strategy is beginning to produce results. In addition to the market introduction of a plug-in hybrid in 2012, work is currently under way on evaluating the viability of an entirely electric-powered car known as a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle).

A small number of prototype versions of the C30 BEV have been built and tested internally by Volvo. In addition to focusing on performance and safety, much of the focus is on integration of the electric propulsion system with the rest of the car.

“The Volvo C30 is the first model we will try out with electric power. This car’s excellent properties in city traffic and its relatively low weight make it particularly suitable, since electric cars are primarily expected to be used in and around cities and for daily commuting,” says Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.

Technical solution

Electricity is highly suitable as a fuel for passenger cars. It is the superior energy efficiency of the electric motor compared with the combustion engine which suggests that electric cars will become increasingly common in the future as fuel prices rise and demands for low CO2 emissions become ever more stringent.

The Volvo C30 BEV is powered with a Latium-Ion battery that is charged via a regular power socket found in most homes.

Recharging an entirely depleted battery via the regular household power supply system (230V, 16A) will take about eight hours. If the car is charged with renewable electricity this means that emissions – all the way from electricity production to its use out on the road – will in principle be non-existent.

The electric motor is housed under the bonnet, just like the engine in a conventional car. One of the priorities within the BEV project is to find the optimal placing of the battery. Most likely is the prop shaft tunnel and the place where the fuel tank normally is located the best places. These locations are within the car’s optimised crumple zone in the most common collision scenarios. Since the car runs solely on electricity, it requires a larger battery with higher capacity (24 kWh) than in the case of the plug-in hybrid (12 kWh).

Battery capacity

The C30 BEV is limited to a top speed of about 130 kilometres an hour, which will be more than sufficient for most users of this type of car. Acceleration from 0 to 100 kilometres an hour will take less than 11 seconds. The car will have a range of up to 150 kilometres. This range is longer and far better than the distance 90 percent of all Europe’s motorists drive per day.

Check back as we bring you more info on Volvo’s efforts in developing a fully electric model.

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