Volvo Car Corporation is a Swedish automotive company based out of Gothenburg, Sweden, but owned by China’s Geely. Volvo sells cars and commercial vehicles worldwide, making them a truly global brand. Known from the start for impeccable safety, and later a touch of luxury and class, Volvo competes with Acura, Infiniti, Lexus and Saab.
Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson founded the brand in 1927, as a subsidiary under a precision ball bearing manufacturer SKF, which is still in business today. From day one, Volvo’s raison d’être was to make the safest vehicles possible. The 28 horsepower ÖV4 was Volvo’s first car and although it had several new safety features, it did not sell very well. A convertible in frigid Sweden probably had something to do with that. The hard top PV4 was released a year later and sales improved.
Volvo made several safe and stylish “saloons” (sedans) for the home market until gradually expanding into the rest of Europe. Volvo finally hit the States in 1956 with the funky PV444 sedan and the terrible-but-gorgeous P1900. The P1800 sports car followed and Volvo had a hit in the US. Here’s some trivia, the a P1800S holds the world record for most miles logged on a non-commercial vehicle, at three million miles.
Known, for boxy wagons in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Volvo was falling behind the new Japanese luxury makes by the 1990’s. In 1999, Ford provided a serious cash influx to the tune of nearly $6.5 billion for controlling interest in Volvo. Ford added Volvo to their Premier Automotive Group with Jaguar and Aston Martin. This lasted a decade until Ford needed cash and sold Volvo to China’s Geely in 2010. The Chinese provide a budget, distribution and R&D, but otherwise leave the design and manufacturing to the Swedes.
Unlike most manufacturers, Volvo uses handy naming conventions making it easier to know the type and size of a model. Coupes have an alphanumeric name that starts with a C, S is for sedans, V is for versatile which is used on wagons and XC is for cross country used on crossover SUVs. Couple the letters with numbers to indicate size, you know that the S60 and S80 are both sedans, but the 80 is bigger and more powerful.
The S60 is the current entry-level Volvo sedan, a Swedish alternative to the BMW 3-series. It has a choice of 5 or 6 cylinder turbocharged engines, and front or all wheel drive. The V60 is a rather attractive wagon version of the S60, and is one of the few offered in the market that isn’t trying to be a crossover. The S80 is Volvo’s midsize sedan, equivalent to the Cadillac CTS in dimensions, it offers a choice of inline 6 cylinder engines delivering up to 300 horsepower.
The SUV side starts with the excellent XC60. This compact SUV should be cross-shopped with low end Land Rovers. For the same price, the XC70 is not a larger SUV, but a wagon disguised as an SUV. This vehicle should be considered when the shopper finds the utilitarian Subaru Outback to be lacking in luxury. Finally, the XC90 tops the lineup and is the most Followed Volvo on Mojo Motors. Older models have the brilliant Yamaha-sourced 4.4-liter V8, but the current models from 2010 or newer with the turbo 3.2-liter are definitely not slow.
The unique C30 is on its way out, but a used C30 for sale can be found at dealerships. With distinctive styling and a hot Polestar edition, the C30 is one of the nicest “hot hatches” around and would be a great for shoppers that wants a unique and safe luxury coupe.
Volvo Certified Pre Owned Qualifications:
- Must be less than six years old
- Must have under 80,000 miles
- 130-point inspection