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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. 


Volvo and Uber partner up to produce self-driving fleet

Volvo and the ride-sharing company Uber have signed off on a partnership valued at USD$300 million for the development of self-driving cars.

The plan, similar to the deal struck between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Google, will see Volvo utilize their XC90 SUVs as ride-sharing vehicles for Uber. The deal may have just been announced, but action has already taken place with 100 XC90s delivered to Uber's tech centre in Pittsburgh.

According to Uber, the plan is to buy the XC90s from Volvo, and then its tech team will add the software and hardware that includes lidar, radar, more cameras and sensors, as well as detailed maps in order for the SUV to become a self-driving vehicle.

The self-driving XC90s are expected to publicly hit the road in the fall, but on-the-road tests should be starting within a month's time in Pittsburgh. According to Bloomberg, the test rides will be limited to downtown Pittsburgh and each vehicle will have an Uber engineer behind the wheel to monitor the drive.

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Volvo officially acquires Polestar brand

Volvo might have already been using Polestar to sportify the S60 and V60, but now they have acquired 100 per cent of the sports-performance specialist to exclusively come under the Volvo fold.

The Polestar name will stay the same, but Volvo believes with this new acquisition, it will be able to sell more of its sports-infused variant vehicles. It's a plan to focus more on road vehicles than the race track, as they've recently pulled the plug on various established racing events.

“Driving a Volvo Polestar is a special experience,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “We have decided to bring this experience to more Volvo drivers, placing the full resources of Volvo behind the development of Polestar as the model name for our high performance cars.”

Expectations for the V60 and S60 Polestars are that sales are expected to double next year from 750 units to between 1,000 and 1,500.

Volvo is already known as one of the leaders in plug-in hybrid technology in Europe, and now the Chinese-owned Swedish company hopes to improve on that with Polestar. The Polestar team will now use Volvo's twin engine electrification technology to assist in creating the next generation of hybrid performance.

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