Small Moonroofs Are So 2001


Test-driving the latest cars on a weekly basis is generally wrought with highs and lows; there are moments of being surprised and impressed as well as being totally disappointed and wondering "What were they thinking?" One of those regular disappointments lately is the small moonroofs that still seem to be hanging around. They're just as sad as Vanilla Ice's new home improvement show on the DIY network.

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I drove the 2015 Volvo V60 recently. While I generally loved the familiar feel of its ride quality, I was baffled by how small the "normal-sized" moonroof looked. If Volvo can put a panoramic moonroof in the XC60, why not carry this feature through to the V60? Panoramic moonroofs are indicative of contemporary automotive design and certainty not something that's a budget-buster. The Toyota Venza I drove recently had not only one but two small moonroofs, as if that's any better.

By Kristin Varela | March 11, 2014 | Comments (6)

Volvo Makes Life Easier with Roam Delivery Service


In the past, Volvo's one and only message to the consumer was safety, safety, safety. While today's consumers are still safety conscious, they've also tech savvy and on the lookout for ways to simplify even the smallest details in life. Volvo is adding a new goal to its platform: to make life simpler and easier for the Volvo car owner.

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What could be easier than having packages delivered directly to your car, no matter where it's parked? That's actually proven feasible in a pilot program of Volvo's Roam Delivery Service, which uses an app to allow a delivery person one-time access to an enabled car.

By Kristin Varela | March 5, 2014 | Comments (3)

Apple Unveils CarPlay for Volvo, Mercedes, Ferrari at 2014 Geneva Motor Show


Having already revolutionized the way people around the world buy and listen to music, communicate with one another and generally manage their daily lives, Apple is taking its innovation on the road. The tech giant today at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show announced the rollout of its latest bid to dominate the in-car operating-system market: Apple CarPlay — touted as "the best iPhone experience on four wheels." Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will lead the way in offering CarPlay to their customers starting this week, to be followed later by BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota, according to Apple.

AAA Wants to Protect Personal Data With Connected-Car Bill of Rights

The system allows iPhone users to access all of their content while in the car, with minimal distraction, Apple stated in a news release. CarPlay is available as an update to iOS 7 and works with Lightning-enabled iPhones, including the 5s, 5c and 5 models.

"Once iPhone is connected to a vehicle with CarPlay integration, Siri helps you easily access your contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails," Apple said in a statement. "When incoming messages or notifications arrive, Siri provides an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands, by reading drivers' messages and letting them dictate responses or simply make a call."

By Matt Schmitz | March 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Volvo S60 Polestar Photo Gallery (21 Photos)


This isn't just a standard-model sedan with a token badge and some performance styling cues. The 2015 Volvo S60 Polestar sedan — now bowing at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, along with wagon sibling the V60 Polestar — takes its track-ready theme seriously, particularly with regard to its turbocharged six-cylinder engine, which provides 345 horsepower and thrusts the sedan from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.

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The performance-ready powertrain is assisted by new suspension, brakes, chassis and engine hardware, while the standard six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system work in tandem with new steering-wheel-affixed paddle shifters. No pricing is available yet on this limited-release vehicle, but it should be available closer to its summer dealership date. Check out the gallery below; photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | February 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Volvo V60 Polestar Photo Gallery (31 Photos)


It's still not the Antartic Blue sports wagon the Griswolds were supposed to get instead of the Metallic Pea Wagon Queen Family Truckster, but the Rebel Blue-colored 2015 Volvo V60 Polestar now appearing at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show could've gotten the family from the Windy City to Wally World a heck of a lot faster. The high-performance variant of the luxury-brand wagon has a turbocharged six-cylinder engine that makes 345 horsepower and sprints from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, great for blowing past lame roadside attractions and annoying cousins' houses.

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To match its performance theme, the V60 Polestar has aerodynamic enhancements including new front and rear splitters for increased down force, as well as 20-inch wheels and a new rear spoiler and diffuser to streamline airflow. Only a small number of the wagons are expected to be available in the U.S. this summer, so interested buyers might want to plan their cross-country vacation accordingly. Check out the gallery below; photos by Evan Sears.

By Matt Schmitz | February 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volvo's Quickest Cars Yet To Have Extremely Limited Supply


Volvo's notoriety as a performance brand is practically non-existent compared to its reputation for safety. We've seen a few R-Design models in the past with sporty intentions, but that name is more bark than bite with mostly appearance add-ons.

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Enter Polestar, Volvo's performance tuner that co-developed 2015 Polestar editions of the S60 sedan and V60 wagon to the tune of 345 horsepower that's good for zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds; Volvo says the pair are its quickest production cars to date. More than simply a badge and fancy wheels, the S60 and V60 Polestars have new suspension, brake, chassis and engine hardware to amplify performance credibility.

Volvo announced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show that only 120 examples of the sedan and wagon are planned for sale in the U.S. when Polestars arrive at dealerships this summer.

By Joe Bruzek | February 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Volvo V60 Review

2015-volvo-v60 reviewer and admitted wagon lover Kristin Varela says there's a lot to like about Volvo's new wagon, but there's also a few things missing. The 2015 V60 delivers a comfortable ride and great cargo flexibility, but intrusive wind noise and a less-than-competitive amount of backseat legroom disappoint. Click the link below to read more.

2015 Volvo V60 Review

By Jennifer Geiger | February 4, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volvo Concept XC Coupé Photo Gallery (22 Photos)


Volvo says its new concept, the XC Coupé, showcases the company's future design direction and if that's the case, we like where the brand is going. According to Volvo, the XC Coupé concept's design was inspired by the look of modern sports equipment, but that theme is hard to pull out of the XC's sleek lines, chunky matte chrome grille and  slit-style headlights.

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Volvo says that we can expect the next generation of the XC90 to wear some of the concept's cues, though its two-door, four-passenger setup certainly won’t make it to the production version. The large SUV should premiere later this year. Check out the gallery below.

By Jennifer Geiger | January 14, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2011-12 Volvo S60


Vehicles Affected: Approximately 30,929 model-year 2011-12 Volvo S60 sedans manufactured between June 22, 2010, and May 14, 2012; only five-cylinder vehicles with a vehicle identification number code of 62 are affected.

The Problem: If the engine oil pressure becomes low, the vehicle may not alert the driver. This could damage the engine and cause it to stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Dealers will update the affected software for free.

What Owners Should Do: Volvo has already started notifying owners. Owners can call Volvo at 800-458-1552 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

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By Jennifer Geiger | December 30, 2013 | Comments (0)

Volvo's Safety System Detects Pedestrians, Cyclists


Volvo is known for its forward-thinking safety features, and the automaker seems determined to keep up its reputation with its Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection system. While Pedestrian Detection has been in Volvo's lineup since 2010, Cyclist Detection is new. The all-new Volvo V60 wagon will be among the cars in the Swedish automaker's lineup to offer the system.

I was able to check out the V60 wagon at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. This good-looking wagon's family appeal has increased with the addition of this new safety system.

By Carrie Kim | December 18, 2013 | Comments (0)

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