2019 Volvo S60 Sedan and V60 Wagon: Pure Swedish Performance

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

The current stage of Volvo’s product assault has come to fruition with the introduction of the all-new 2019 S60 sedan and V60 wagon which are designed and engineered with a focus on powertrain electrification. I know it sounds cliché but the mid-sized premium Volvos truly drive like dreams as I discovered on the energetic roads of Southern California. Offered in four trims – Momentum, Inscription, R-Design and Polestar Engineered – the “60” series is another shining example from the ubiquitous Swedish lineup that includes award winning SUVs, stately sedans, multi-talented wagons and inimitable performance variants.

Yes, the Volvo product range is young and refreshing, yet innovative and captivating. The automaker is far more than just a safety pioneer. Volvo has become an industry tech leader by spearheading “sustainable resource” movements, simplifying the vehicle purchase process and diversifying manufacturing by way of cultural explosion at its newly built U.S. factory outside of Charleston, South Carolina where the S60 is built. [Read more…]

2019 Volvo XC40: Refreshing SUV Delight

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

What fun times were had in Austin, Texas in cold, wet weather while test driving the all-new 2019 Volvo XC40 as I explored the eclectic and artsy city to connect the SUV’s urbane, Scandinavian Design with local fashion innovators, music studios and inventive carpenters. The vehicle was conceived for city commutes to handle abrupt turns and stop-n-go traffic, but also fares well on the outer banks as we discovered throughout our day-long journey.

It seems as though Volvo has completed their SUV family transformation which includes the XC90, XC60 and now the present day XC40. The Swedish automaker is set with premium utilities for every customer type with each representing innovation in the field of technology, safety, styling and human interface. In fact, you will see a cadre of premium features from the larger XC90 and midsize XC60 trickled down into the XC40. This is important because the compact, premium SUV category is currently as red hot as Chili peppers. Expect the segment to continue increasing exponentially as manufacturers from BMW to Infiniti keep adding to the melting pot. [Read more…]

2018 Volvo XC60: The Urban Automotive Experience

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

During a recent exploration through the vibrant metropolis of Barcelona, Spain I relished the sites and sounds from the driver’s seat of Volvo’s city friendly, premium, midsize SUV otherwise known as the 2018 XC60. Interesting enough, my lifestyle is centered around nomadic travel — whether stateside or internationally — clean eating, higher learning and automotive technology presented in the form of advanced safety engineering, assertive styling and smart infotainment. Suffice it to say I was highly pleased with the Swedish package. [Read more…]

2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country: Urbane Adventure Seekers

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

I’m an adventurous individual and seek thrills and excitement in all aspects of my lifestyle from family rearing and nomadic travel to sports and entertainment activities. Energizing my physique while stimulating brain cells is routine for the life I live. Transfer that equation into the transportation world and the same rules apply. For these reasons and more, a vehicle that offers the capabilities adequate enough regarding the aforementioned essentials will always win my affection. This is why I respect and enjoy the capabilities of the all-new 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country.

Combine the dynamics of two very unique products and the end result is a vehicle with special DNA and defining characteristics welcoming for those looking for true luxury and “go anywhere” dynamics. Volvo’s heralded Cross Country range has already revolutionized crossover wagons with the capabilities of SUVs. The universal S60 sports sedan also holds its own against a crowded field of special European, Japanese, American, and now Korean performance sedans that offer style, opulence, and the latest technological wizardry. Yet, can they compete against both the S60 and the Cross Country when you commingle their traits into one vehicle? Not really.

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To explore the tangibles of the new S60 Cross Country the Fit Fathers and Automotive Rhythms teams were invited by Volvo to Sausalito, California for summer drive opportunities of this vehicle as well as the 2016 S60 Inscription and 2016 V60 Cross Country. Situated at the Cavallopoint Lodge at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, I felt right at home in an area ripe with activities appeasing to my needs. The former U.S. Army post at Fort Baker immediately became reminiscent of morning boot camps and afternoon drills. Surely the S60 Cross Country would not have a problem challenging the hills and landscape of the Bay Area. Without hesitation I ran the 6-mile round trip trek from base camp, up to the bridge, across the bridge, and back. Now I was ready to drive!

What’s not to like about a Scandinavian designed ride? Volvos are savvy, unique, multi-talented, and of course safe as a bank. Known for its line of family wagons and SUVs, the Chinese owned automaker has already elevated the XC90 to elite status with continuous orders piling in. So the product assault continues. “The S60 Cross Country is the sole contender in the luxury crossover sedan segment. We have identified a clear niche in the market for a more capable sedan with rugged styling cues and a higher stance. The S60 Cross Country will appeal to people that are searching for an exciting and capable sedan, whilst enjoying the clear benefits that a crossover offers,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Customer Service.

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At a first look the Swedish vehicle is similar, yet smaller, to the silhouette of BMX’s X6. Basically, I view them as SUV Coupes. While the design is appealing to early adapters, it will have to wear on others who enjoy traditional vehicular features. With 7.9” of ground clearance, all-wheel drive with Instant Traction, and Hill Descent Control (HDC) you will have no problem traversing through national parks, campgrounds, gravel paths, muddy trails, or shallow beds of water. HDC is advantageous for climbing downhill since the vehicle takes control of the braking and slow acceleration while the driver steers the ship in the right direction. Keep in mind the steering wheel adjustments are manual, not electronic like you would expect in a vehicle of this caliber.

The urbane, yet tough packaging of the S60 Cross Country is perfect. Our $49,775 ($41,000 MSRP) Platinum Edition came replete with 19” BOR Matte Black Rims ($750) tucked in Pirelli Scorpion 235/45 R19 rubber (18” standard), a Honeycomb grille, front and rear skid plates with dual embedded exhausts tips, black mirror caps, a sunroof, and black fender flare extensions. Powered by a 2.5-liter 20-valve inline 5-cylinder turbo engine, the Volvo spits out 250-horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed Geartronic auto transmission with Adv Quick Shift (allows you to use the gear lever for manual shifting) is mated to the 2.5-liter. Power is good in all gears but steering feels a little floaty and the suspension is too soft for my taste. In regards to efficiency, the 2-liter in the Inscription achieves 37 highway mpg while the Cross Country accomplishes 28 mpg even though the 2.5-liter is only 10-horsepower stronger. Volvo says this is due to the new advancements in the 2-liter.

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Inside, the interior is as palpable as the exterior. In my opinion Volvo has some — if not the top — contour seats in the business. They ascertain your drive is comfortable, safe, and ergonomic for long hauls. Yet I would have enjoyed the additional 3” of rear legroom in the Cross Country that the S60 Inscription received. Thus far the Inscription has the most comfortable rear cabin I’ve spent extended time in within the sports sedan category. The intermix of clean metals, wood inlays, and “Agnes” leather makes for attractive quarters. The vertical and digital tachometer is refreshing but takes a bit adjusting to. For the first hour of exploration through Northern California I couldn’t place my site on the gear indicator which is embedded within the RPM gauge.

Safety and technology is always a highlight when you purchase a Volvo. The Harmon Kardon premium sound system that comes with the Platinum package is stellar and concert like, while Volvo On Call lets you start the engine remotely, lock and unlock the doors, check the trip computer, and integrate your iPhone into the navigation. Wi-Fi hot spot comes in handy when cellular data is out of range and Web surfing is still required. Additional advancements are offered in the form of the $925 Blind Spot Information System Package, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection w/Auto Brake and much more. The S60 Cross Country is just too smart for its own good.

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With over 200,000 Cross Country vehicles sold since 1997 the S60 variant adds another competitive contender to the lineup with amenities worthy for the most adventurous nomad. High consumer loyalty for the Cross Country will be key to the S60 Cross Country’s sales success. I’m betting on a winner.