Tag Archive | "Volvo"

Driving The Volvo V40

Whilst Volvo continue to put safety first, their cars these days are much more entertaining and modern to drive. The model featured in our pics is the V40 1.6L D2 SE Lux Nav with the Powershift auto gearbox.  For a small family hatchback it is not the cheapest on the market and with the plentiful optional extras packed into it our car costs a slightly eye-watering £31,730.

MB1 Driving The Volvo V40Crucially though, and as always, you get what you pay for. The subtle grey colour is augmented by the blond leather interior. The soft-touch plastic across the dash is textured which helps to soften the effect. There is very little hard plastic but where it exists it seems to of the solid and robust variety. The seats are very comfortable and the perfect driving position is easy to achieve. The interior is good quality and includes all the expected connectivity and dashboard features.

The safety highlights include BLIS, a blind spot warning system that, instead of having the illuminated warning in the door mirror, has it on the quarter light. I found this worked well because it was well within my peripheral vision. A plus point. Volvo’s SOS/On Call feature is on this car. I didn’t have occasion to use it thankfully but it seems to me to be an absolute must-have for emergency and breakdown situations. Help is just a call away.

We experienced the Level 1 collision warning alarm, inadvertently. This was during the first exploratory outing and we were unaware that it was featured at all. Red LED’s started flashing on the dash and klaxons blasted. It is certainly dramatic. The upshot of this is that whilst the system really has merit, especially in traffic, it seems to be ultra-sensitive and can be triggered by parked cars as on this occasion. Certainly keeps you on your toes though.

Elsewhere, the boot is roomy and has a false floor and, joy of joys, a proper temporary spare wheel. There’s plenty of hooks to secure luggage and the rear-seats split for bigger loads. It’s comfortable in the back with ample leg and head-room for a full sized adult.MB3 Driving The Volvo V40

The 1.6L diesel engine fitted to this model is robust (there are petrol and diesel alternatives) and has some pulling power. The car’s not quick (11.5 seconds for the auto) but it is clean and once up to speed proved to be a classy ride. Our car emitted just 102g/km of the nasty stuff and with the manual transmission is apparently cleaner still at a tax-busting 88g/km. Out on the road the engine is willing provided you keep the revs up. There is a ‘sport’ option on the gearbox which is handy for overtaking performance but it is not why anyone would buy this car. With its attractive, streamlined shape the Volvo V40 looks to be a genuine contender. Well worth considering.

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Three Million Mile Volvo

Just once in a while it is nice to come across a story that demonstrates in this hurly-burly disposable world that some relationships are built to last. Such is the case with 73 year old Irv Gordon and his 1966 Volvo P1800.

Fans of ancient creaking TV shows will know that this is the car similar to that driven by Roger Moore as The Saint. Fans of the P1800 know that this programme formed the basis of, in the UK at least, the popularity of this car which remains an eminently collectible classic today.

Forty seven years ago, on a Friday, Irv went to his local Volvo dealer and purchased his brand new, shiny red P1800; and he’s lovingly kept it ever since. The real beauty of this story is that he didn’t hide the car away for posterity, it was his daily driver. In the first weekend of ownership he put 1500 miles on the clock.IRV2 Three Million Mile Volvo

The retired science teacher hails from Patchogue N.Y., and he holds the Guinness Book of Records recognition for the most miles driven by one owner in a non-commercial vehicle. When working, he had a daily round trip that covered 125 miles which meant he clocked up a not inconsiderable 500,000 miles in just ten years. Most car owners would be happy with that.

Not Irv. He has devoted absolutely total dedication to his car. It has been meticulously serviced and maintained. His dealer reckons that Mr Gordon takes better care of his car than his own person. To date the car has reached 2.99 million miles and is still in regular use. The owner thinks he’ll achieve the magic number by September.

What is really good about this story is Irv’s attitude to the whole thing. To him it is not so much about the car and his dedication but rather what the car has done. To quote him, “The best way to explore America is by car. I challenge everyone to go out and see as much as possible. No matter how many roads I’ve been on, there’s always one I haven’t taken. That’s what makes it exciting.”

Irv believes that the magic number will be reached when he is visiting Alaska later this year – in his Volvo obviously. It is one of only two States he has yet to see. Both the American media and Volvo are taking a great interest in this story and why not. It just goes to show that real motoring doesn’t have to always be about performance or the latest thing. It can be about the pleasure of driving. From the great cities and plains of America through to the small town diners so beloved of writers, Irv has been there. He says that if you live in America and send him an ‘invite’, he will be happy to meet up for a coffee. Irv Gordon – a true petrol head.

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A Sign Of The Times At Volvo

When it comes to buying a used car many potential customers prefer to use an approved scheme from a main dealer for greater peace of mind. They know that the cars will have undergone a thorough check and will be backed up with some sort of satisfaction guarantee. It makes a lot of sense.

Volvo understand this and are extending their Approved Used Car Programme to include vehicles up to seven years old, an increase of two years on their present scheme. Although they are presently marketing a range of excellent new cars and are bringing on stream a new super-efficient range of engines they know that some would-be buyers simply can’t stretch the finances that far. They also know that they’ll take in a variety of used Volvo cars in part-exchange in the general run of business, so it makes sense both ways.

The Company have noticed that statistics show the average age of cars on the road is increasing. In 2011 the average was nearly seven and a half years – an increase of two months on the previous year. Drivers are realising that today’s cars are considerably more reliable than in days of yore and are willing to spend their hard-earned cash on something a little older. Fifty thousand miles on the odometer would once have put buyers off but these days is nothing on a car that has been correctly serviced and maintained.

Buying a car is probably the second biggest expense after house purchase and it is clear that consumer behaviour is changing as motorists keep their cars for longer under the present dire economic conditions. The Volvo Selekt scheme will offer cars that are up to seven years old, with full service histories and less than 100,000 miles on the clock. That’s how confident they are in their product; so much so that as part of the deal the Company will upgrade the vehicles’ systems with the latest software, coupled with a 100 point check.47855 1 51 300x181 A Sign Of The Times At Volvo

If that wasn’t enough there’s a MOT warranty worth up to £750; twelve months roadside assistance and a thirty day or 1500 mile guarantee. That’s a cracking offer and once the word gets round it should induce canny drivers into the Volvo fold. This is turn will no doubt encourage the future purchase of new vehicles. All Volvo main dealers are participating. Definitely worth a look.

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New Cars At The New York Show

2013 seems to be producing a bumper crop of new cars, despite all the recessionary woe. At the latest show in New York the trend continued with a selection from Kia, Jaguar, Audi, Volvo and Mercedes.

The Kia Soul is a car that is either loved or hated for its looks despite being practical and roomy with a decent boot. It strives for a trendy image but has been let down by a mediocre ride and economy. The company have now announced the replacement which will arrive on our shore early in 2014. That’s it in the picture. It is probably a coincidence but it looks a bit like the new Fiat 500L; not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Suspension and handling have been improved for a better ride and the whole car has a more premium feel to it. Mini owners won’t be trading in but this new car should attract plenty of new fans.

A surprise addition to the Audi range is a saloon version of their excellent A3. It has to be said that it is hard to understand the purpose of this car but Audi rarely put a foot wrong. The company say that the car is aimed at ‘young professionals’ looking for a ‘sporty but fun car’. So why not choose the brilliant sport back then? Audi see their market for this car to be predominately in Russia and the far East and, to a lesser extent, Europe. Early reports say that it’s a roomy car, slightly longer than the hatchback.

Sweden is represented by Volvo and a new set of R-Design cars based on the recently updated 60 series. All three cars get new faces, a new rear diffuser, sports seats and an R-Design exhaust system. The S60 and V60 models have a sports chassis and lowered suspension whilst the XC60  gets a better handling kit of springs and anti-roll bars.

If all this is a bit tame for you and you feel the need for 355bhp then how about the new Mercedes CLA45 AMG express. This car looks fabulous (especially in white with black) and in the traffic light grand prix will whisk you to 62mph in a ferocious 4.6 seconds. Despite this performance Mercedes are claiming 40mpg and emissions at around 160g/km. If that’s a fact then it is quite an achievement and bodes well for performance cars of the future.

It seems that scarcely a week can go by without there being a new Jaguar – and here it is. This time it’s the super-hot XKR-S GT which the company describe as the ‘ultimate road-going XK’. Presumably until the next one. Only thirty will be built and they are all going to North America. If there’s enough clamour in the UK then a small run of LHD versions could be built but don’t hold your breath.

The Rolls Royce Wraith also featured as did the new Range Rover Sport that Motor Blogger featured on March 20th. As we said – a bumper year!

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Volvo Lights The Way

Here’s an interesting new development from the Swedish car maker.  Three of the six new cars that Volvo are showing at the Geneva Motor Show can be optionally fitted with their latest innovation to make driving at night a much safer experience. Volvo, of course, have always been at the forefront of safety and this new lighting system follows that lead.

The Active High Beam Control allows the driver to use high beam all the time because AHBC has an ingenious mechanism that prevents on-coming drivers from being dazzled because a specific area is shaded (see the image). Amazing. This makes redundant the need to switch to low beam when encountering traffic from the opposite direction.

The benefits of this include the ability to ‘see’ into the surrounding traffic area outside of the shaded area revealing hazards that might otherwise be missed on low beam. Unlit parked cars, pedestrians and cyclists will be more visible. This technology is bound to make motoring safer in the dark as the driver isn’t constantly having to flick the beam stalk and can concentrate on what’s really important – good driving.

This is cutting edge auto science. When a car approaches – or when your car catches up with a slower vehicle – the system shades out only as much light as is needed from the beam. AHBC works by utilising the camera located by the driver mirror which is already working with the collision technology and auto-brake system. It is so accurate that the on-comer will be ‘framed’ with only a 1.5° margin.

The control unit instantly relays the information to an ingenious projector module fitted in the Xenon headlamp. This in turns activates a tiny cylinder with metal pieces of differing sizes which deploy to the effect described. It works with two-wheeled vehicles as well, so owners won‘t be blinding motor cyclists. The AHBC will be available on the new Volvo S60, V60 and XC60. The cars will be introduced at Geneva along with three other new cars the V70, XC70 and the S80.

There is an argument which says there is simply too much technology on cars these days but it is hard to argue against a safety feature like this.


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As Green As Green Can Be

Life is unfair. Drivers, for example, are made to feel as if they must bear the brunt of responsibility for the social and ecological damage caused by cars. In fact, our contribution is pretty small. Energy is used and emissions created on an industrial scale throughout the process of making both fuel and cars before they even get to us, so don’t feel too bad about it.

Many people today consider the green credentials of cars when making a purchase. Unless the buyer is wealthy, the general expense of motoring means that economy, in its various forms, pretty much takes priority. Nevertheless, there are plenty of new cars out there that fit the bill. You really can have it both ways.

Some drivers have to travel tens of thousands of miles in a year and need some comfort and performance. They can’t possibly use a frugal city car. Fortunately, there is a wide range of executive motors that still offer very decent fuel economy and reasonably green stats. They’re all diesels of course but, if you’re doing more than 10k miles in a year then the fuel price premium will pay for itself. The car will also hold a better price on the used car market.

As an example of how motor manufacturers have upped their game, a long distance driver need look no further than the Volvo S60 DRIVe (the small ‘e’ is their choice). This comfortable, elegant car will do 66mpg (on the combined cycle), coughs up a tiny 114g/km of the bad stuff and, at the time of writing, only costs £30 in Vehicle Excise Duty. When we ‘re talking about quality cars that fit the green agenda we can’t leave out the ubiquitous BMW. The 3 Series F30 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon (pictured) running on standard wheels and tyres will achieve 69mpg, 109g/km and all on a £20 road tax rate. In a few short years the achievement is astonishing.

In the small car arena the competition is probably at its most fierce. Obviously the increasing amount of electric cars win the economy battle with offerings from Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and Mitsubishi all achieving the equivalent of over 200mpg with no emissions and no road tax costs – as yet. The argument that electric cars by nature of their production emissions – all those batteries – are not quite as green as they seem continues to rumble on. The only drawback is, as ever, range anxiety and cost, for now.

There are city cars and superminis, both petrol and diesel, that will now offer in excess of 70mpg with emissions below the magic 99g/km target. The VW Polo 1.2 diesel BlueMotion along with choices from Ford, Fiat and Skoda all fit the bill. In fact, across the ranges of family cars and estates, crossovers, SUV’s and even sporting models the canny eco-buyer can have his greens and eat them too!

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