Posts from ‘Volvo’
With new-car prices ever on the rise, the average new-car buyer might find it nigh on impossible to enter the luxury market. Hold on to that dream, dear readers, because here are five vehicles you can buy right now that allow you to have that premium feel without too much of a hit to your bank accounts.
While some examples in this list are from mainstream brands, their ambiance and driving experiences are decidedly more upscale. As such, we at Consumer Guide place them into our “Premium” categories. The only other “rule” is that these vehicles must carry a sticker price of less than $40,000, including destination fee. The figures listed here do not include options, but several of these vehicles can be equipped with extra-cost items and still come in under the above-mentioned threshold.
Acura TL Base
Its look remains polarizing, but under its skin is a premium-midsize sedan that’s powerful, has a solid ride/handling balance, and comes with a lot of features for the money. While I would have loved to use the sportier TL SH-AWD model, its price creeps just past our self-imposed $40,000 barrier. Still, the Base model is no slouch, thanks to its 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and slick 6-speed automatic transmission. As a final bonus, TL benefits from parent company Honda’s reputation for reliability and strong resale value.
After remaining idle for several auto shows, Volvo is announcing a major product offensive in New York. Most of its lineup will be significantly freshened for the 2014 model year. The company also plans to sell the station wagon version of its S60 sedan in the United States.
Though exact specifications were not announced, Volvo officials are confirming that the 2014 V60 Sports Wagon will be available in the U.S. The 2013 New York Auto Show marks the global debut of the sporty R-Design version of this car, and we have to believe Volvo will make it available both here and in its European home market. Keep checking back with us for more information as it becomes available.
The other news coming from the Swedish car maker is a near complete revamp of its product lines. The brand’s compact XC60 crossover, volume S60 midsize sedan, SUV-like XC70 wagon, and flagship S80 large sedan all receive major updates for 2014.
Though the vehicles look mostly familiar, they get fresher styling and some new performance, safety, and convenience features. While the drivetrains largely stand pat, revised transmission programming for the supercharged T6 models promises faster acceleration. Gains in the 0-60-mph acceleration run range from 0.2 to 0.4 seconds versus the outgoing 2013 models.
Note: This report supplements Consumer Guide Automotive’s full report on the 2013 Volvo S60 a premium-midsize car that starts at $31,750.
Test car came equipped with: Climate Package. Total MSRP with $895 destination = $45,495.
Powertrain: 325-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive.
Acceleration: Volvo says the T6 R-Design does 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, versus 5.8 for the regular T6 AWD. Both claims seem quite credible. (FYI, Volvo quotes the 5-cylinder T5 as taking 6.4 with front drive and 6.6 with the optional AWD.) The main report credits the regular T6 with having near-zero turbo lag, lively throttle response and excellent passing power, enhanced by a crisp, smooth automatic transmission. These traits naturally pass to the R-Design, whose extra power comes simply from slight alterations to spark timing and turbo-boost pressure.
No matter. This is another of those still fairly rare cars whose powertrain elements are so well harmonized for normal driving that I felt no need to use the manual-shift mode—although I did try it and it works as one expects.
Presumably, if you’re shopping for a used car, dollar value is a priority for you. Not that value isn’t a priority for most car shoppers, new or used, but used-car folks tend to ratchet things up a notch.
I get that. My wife and I have purchased more one- to two-year-old cars than we have new ones. Generally, we have sought out premium rides that, for whatever reason, have depreciated far faster than other cars in the same class.
Some cars simply aren’t worth seeking out used. Acura’s excellent RDX, for example, retains a stunning 71 percent of its retail value after 24 months. The Lexus RX 350 retains a mind-boggling 80 percent of its value over the same period of time. Those numbers are crazy, and they make buying a new RDX or RX much more attractive.
What we’re looking at here is a list of arguably cool luxury rides that, after two years in use, have depreciated to such an extent that they are now compelling buys. Whereas the aforementioned Acura held on to more than 70 percent of its value, we’re seeking out cars that are going for 50 percent or less. Worth noting is that after 24 months, most of these cars still have another two to three years of warranty remaining in force.
Don’t look now, but summer is almost over. Labor Day has passed, and that means the summer cruise night season is soon to be ending in many parts of the country. Did you partake in one yet? If not, you should—either as a spectator or a participant. Most urban areas have weekly informal car gatherings; most are evening cruise nights, and some are early-morning weekend get-togethers (such as the “Cars and Coffee” show series), but all are great ways to enjoy cars without all the formality of an organized car show. The best part about these cruises is that you never know what rare or interesting vehicle might show up. The photos seen here were taken at the last two editions of the Monday Night Car Show, which kicked off this past June at the Westfield Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, Illinois. . . . .. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ever since the introduction of the Volvo Turbo in 1981, the company has proclaimed, “We’re not boring.” Fast, turbocharged Volvo: we’re not boring. Volvo convertible: we’re not boring. Volvo coupe: we’re not boring. After 30 years of such advertising, we should have forgotten that Volvos are safe and practical. Yet the Volvo press kit felt the need to tell us that the S60 is “the sportiest, most dynamic Volvo ever.” The consumer website advises that with stability control set in Sport Mode, one can “get a little more naughty.”
S60 Is Not Boring
Volvo is telling the truth. For starters, the S60 is turbocharged. The slowest S60 T5 can accelerate 0-60 in 6.6 seconds, while the T6 R-Design lowers that time to 5.5 seconds. The S60 is also nimble with precise steering. Those qualities help make it an entertaining sport sedan.
S60 Doesn’t Look Boring
Rather than Volvo’s packing-crate styling of the 1970s and ’80s, the S60 is in line with contemporary sport sedan trends. The front end is sculpted, and the rear roofline sweeps downward. The cabin includes aluminum accents and optional wood trim. The interior can be spruced up with nicely grained, two-tone leather.
While doing research for my article “It’s Diesel’s Time to Shine,” I was astounded to learn how far today’s diesel-powered cars have advanced over the diesels of the Eighties. The old diesels were noisy, smelly, and slow, and they often didn’t start on dead-of-winter days. The fuel would turn to jelly.
Today’s turbodiesel cars, which are sold in the U.S. only by German automakers (Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen), are quiet, reliable, and remarkably fuel efficient. But what makes me chuckle is how much faster they are off the line.
A 2012 Volkwagen Golf TDI has a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds. That’s about a second and a half slower than the gas-engine Golf, but it’s light-years better than the old diesels could muster.
Check out these diesel times from yesteryear, courtesy of zeroto60times.com:
1979 Cadillac Eldorado (Diesel) 16.8 seconds
1980 Chevrolet Caprice Wagon (Diesel) 19.5 seconds
1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel 19.3 seconds
1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Diesel 18.1 seconds
1981 Volvo Diesel 18.4 seconds