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Volvo V60 a very nice wagon that claims off-road strength

It almost seems as if station wagons are an endangered species in North America. Oh sure, there are hatchbacks, and "crossovers" but honest to goodness wagons seem limited to European manufacturers these days and even those are hard to find on Canadian streets.

I love wagons. They give you everything good that you can find in a sedan (such as the convenience of four doors) and add a lot of the storage you can get from an SUV. And because they're (mostly) still as low as a car they can offer sports car handling and fun.

That's why I own a wagon, and undoubtedly why companies such as Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo still offer them. Well, that and profitability, which is undoubtedly why these companies don't offer all their wagons here; Audi, for example, only offers a jacked-up version of its A4 as a wagon in Canada (called Allroad now instead of Avant), while in Europe you can wagon the car right up to the  awesome RS4 Avant variant That's about as hot as a wagon as one could want.  

When Volvo Canada offered me some quality seat time in their new V60 Cross Country I jumped at the chance. Not only do I love wagons, but I was a fan of Volvo's vehicles when I got to review them in the past. Alas, that honour hasn't happened for about a dozen years – other than a half hour or so at AJAC's Canadian Car of the Year TestFest a few times since then – so I was doubly excited to pick up the V60 to see if the ghost of Volvos past were still Volvos to be enjoyed in the present.

After all, a lot has happened to Volvo since the "oughts" – including its metamorphosis from a subsidiary of Ford to its current Chinese ownership. Have the evolutions in ownership, car technology and design – and the competitive landscape – passed Volvo by or has the Swedish carmaker kept up? more...

New Volvo Crossover Worth a Look

If you weren't told it's a crossover (or, according to Volvo, a "family adventure vehicle"), you might think the third generation XC70 is "merely" a wagon because it isn't nearly as tall as most SUV's (including Volvo's own XC90). That's okay; you may lose the higher view of traffic you get from a "real" SUV, but it's easier for shorter people to get into and out of. And while you lose some hauling height, you don't lose much length. more....

Volvo's 2008 C30 – Pretty Looks, Pretty Sloppy Driving

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.

It's too bad. I love the way this car looks, from its handsome, low slug and recognizably Volvo front end to its outrageously grand glass tailgate that hearkens back to sporty Volvo wagons of my youth. This car will undoubtedly sell on its looks alone; it personifies that old cliché that it looks like it's speeding even when it's standing still. But it could have been so much more. more....

Volvo Flagship Offers Luxury, Performance, Safety

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 élan to their exterior styling.  Volvo describes the S80 as being a "reimagining" of the luxury sedan, and maybe it is. Volvo's take includes the advanced safety features you'd expect, including pre-emptive stuff meant to help you avoid accidents.  Add "the serenity and intuitive operation of Scandinavian luxury," and you have a darn nice car. more....

Volvo C70 Hardtop Convertible

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! more...

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

“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. more...

Volvo S40 - a Swede Ride

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 has 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. more...

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Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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