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Volvo close to completing renewed portfolio with new S90 and XC60


New York, NY – Recently, Volvo has been on a sales tear, rejuvenating its luxury brand in the process. The sale surge has been stimulated by two new platforms: Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) that has assisted in creating a path to design success best exemplified by the Volvo XC90 – the 2016 North American Truck & Utility Vehicle of the Year. 

At the 2017 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), Volvo's new design language continued with two North American unveils: its refreshed 2018 S90 mid-size sedan and all-new XC60 compact crossover. 

The S90 – formerly known as the S80 – is the flagship four-door sedan for the Swedish brand that was newly named and re-made in 2016. For the new model year version, the S90 retains its SPA-built stunning exterior – most noteworthy being its increased long wheelbase by 12 cm, sleek coupe-like silhouette, bold metallic grille and stunning "Thor's hammer" LED headlights - with changes coming in the form of additional powertrains and segment-leading rear legroom. 

As planned in its roll-out, Volvo has added a T5 and T8 powertrain on top of its already offered supercharged and turbocharged, 2.0-litre four-cylinder T6 that produces 316 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. 

The T5 will become its base option coming with a turbocharged, 2.0-litre four-cylinder pumping out 250 horses; while the T8 adds some electrification to the mix with use of the same 2.0-litre engine coupled with an electric motor for a range-topping 400 hp. In Canada, all of the engines will work exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive capabilities.


As for the interior, Volvo adds a panoramic sunroof as standard equipment and increases rear seat legroom by 115 mm to a total of 1,026 mm. The expansion in legroom instantly becomes segment-leading with help from a 12 cm wheelbase increase. 

Another North American first, was the reveal of the all-new 2018 Volvo XC60, marking it as the first vehicle in the new 60 series lineup. As aforementioned, the compact SUV takes on similar design cues from the XC90, S90 and its variant wagon, the V90. 

Just like the S90, the XC60 will offer three powertrains with the same horsepower numbers coming from its 2.0-litre engine: the T5, T6 and T8. They will all be matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive will be standard in Canada. 

Three vehicle trims will be available at launch: Momentum (T5, T6); R-Design (T6, T8) and Inscription (T6, T8). No breakdown of features were discussed, but two new safety technologies have been added: Steer Assist and Oncoming Lane Mitigation. Steer Assist mitigates head-on collisions; while Oncoming Lane Mitigation reduces the risk of lane-changing collisions through the use of Steer Assist and Blind Spot Information System. 

The 2018 Volvo XC60 will arrive in showrooms in the fall with a Canadian starting price of $45,900. The 2018 S90 will be available at some point in the second half of the year with pricing to be determined closer to that date. That leaves the XC40 - to be released in 2018 - as the last vehicle to be renewed, completing Volvo's product-led transformation. 


Scion FR-S becomes the Toyota 86

Toyota has announced that the Scion FR-S will become the Toyota 86.

After the discontinuation of Toyota's youthful Scion brand, we always new the vehicles that were continuing on would be re-badged. The one thing we didn't know was that they would be given new names.

For now, the FR-S is the Toyota 86, which is not a big change considering that the 86 is the name of the FR-S in other parts of the world.

"When we announced the transition of the Scion models to Toyota we hadn't planned on changing the names of our cars, but by popular demand, for our sports car, we decided to adopt the global name of 86," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division Group Vice President.

The 86 will come to light in North America as a 2017 model year car with the same rear-wheel drive sports car setup, but with other enhancements. According to Toyota, the 86 will receive a more aggressive front fascia, a new rear bumper and LED headlights and taillights. The bold look is finished off with new alloy twist-spoke wheels and the 86 logo on the front fender and front headlamps.

Inside, new “Grandlux” material will be added on the instrument panel, accompanied by new seating materials with silver stitching and a sporty steering wheel also donning the 86 logo.

The looks are a big factor for this car, but it will also receive some enhanced performance, well at least for the manual version. For the manual option, its 2.0-litre boxer-four engine will increase production to 205 hp and 156 lb.-ft. of torque, which is an uptick of 5 hp and 5 lb.-ft. of torque. In addition, Toyota has setup new gear ratios for the six-speed manual transmission in order to enhance its performance.

The new 2017 Toyota 86 will be on display at the upcoming 2016 New York International Auto Show, alongside the Toyota C-HR crossover concept.

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