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.

2016 Volvo XC90: Top Rankin’

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

My close friends, family and business associates understand my deep and profound love for reggae legend Robert Nesta Marley. The melodious rhythms and positive vibrations of his tunes ignite passion in my soul incessantly. So the first task upon entering the ambitious and opulent cabin of the 2016 Volvo XC90 was to connect my iPhone to the iPad-resembling Sensus infotainment center, select the Marley playlist and let the music reverberate through the amplified Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) audio system. From Jamming to No Woman, No Cry I cruised through Santa Monica, California feeling inspirational. Yet, both the mode of transport along with the audio of choice played a key factor in my upbeat mood. Possibly, could Volvo have unknowingly channeled the King of Reggae to become the Top Rankin’ 7-passenger luxury SUV on the American market? Yes, possibly. [Read more…]

Volvo Aims To End Crashes Between Cars and Bikes 

World-first technology by Volvo and POC connects cycle helmets with carsIn a ground-breaking collaboration, Volvo Cars, protective gravity sports gear manufacturer POC and Ericsson will present an innovative safety technology connecting drivers and cyclists for the first time ever.

The technology consists of a connected car and helmet prototype that will establish 2-way communication offering proximity alerts to Volvo drivers and cyclists and thereby avoid accidents. No car manufacturer has previously put a stake in the ground to help address the problem by using Connected Safety technology – until now.

The global growth in cycling continues unabated as commuters take to their bikes. This has resulted in an increase in serious cycling accidents, an issue that Volvo Cars and POC believes is unacceptable and requires an innovative and concerted effort to address. Volvo Cars’ City Safety system – standard on the all-new XC90 – is a technology that can detect, warn and auto-brake to avoid collisions with cyclists. It was the industry’s first step to seriously address cyclist safety. This commitment has paved the way for the innovative helmet technology concept, presented at the International CES 2015.

Using a popular smartphone app for bicyclists, like Strava, the cyclist’s position can be shared through the Volvo cloud to the car, and vice versa. If an imminent collision is calculated, both road users will be warned – and enabled to take the necessary action to avoid a potential accident. The Volvo driver will be alerted to a cyclist nearby through a head-up display alert – even if he happens to be in a blind spot, e.g. behind a bend or another vehicle or hardly visible during night time. The cyclist will be warned via a helmet-mounted alert light.

World-first technology by Volvo and POC connects cycle helmets with carsThe innovative concept is a result of an all-Swedish partnership between Volvo Cars, POC, the leading manufacturer of protective gear for gravity sports athletes and cyclists and Ericsson, the world leader in communications technology and services. The innovative, cloud-based safety concept has exciting development opportunities and will ultimately help save lives across the whole spectrum of unprotected road users.

Klas Bendrik, VP and Group CIO at Volvo Cars commented: “The partnership between Volvo Cars, POC and Ericsson is an important milestone in investigating the next steps towards Volvo Cars’ vision to build cars that will not crash. But now, by exploring cloud-based safety systems, we are getting ever closer to eliminating the remaining blind spots between cars and cyclists and by that avoid collisions.”

Stefan Ytterborn, CEO and Founder of POC added: “Our mission is to do the best we can to possibly save lives and to reduce the consequences of accidents for gravity sports athletes and cyclists. The partnership with Volvo Cars aligns very well with our mission and we are excited to see how we can contribute to cyclist safety and increase interaction between cars and cyclists alike”.

Per Borgklint, SVP and Head of Business Unit Support Solutions at Ericsson said: “There is perhaps no greater promise that the Networked Society holds than its ability to create connections that save lives. Our latest work with Volvo Cars to explore protecting the millions of cyclists on the road is just the latest example of innovation that can change the world. We are proud to support this critical initiative in conjunction with POC and remain committed to the pursuit of connectivity-driven advancements that create limitless new possibilities.”

Cycling statistics:

  • Globally, 132.3 million bicycles were sold in 2013 (source: NPD Group 2013)
  • Beijing government hopes, ¼ of people would use cycling to commute in 2015 (source: The Guardian, November 2013)
  • In the Swedish city of Gothenburg alone, the number of bikers raised 30% in 2013 (source: Göteborgs Posten, November 2014)
  • 4,533 cyclists were injured in Berlin only in 2012 (source: The Guardian, November 2013)
  • 55% of cyclist fatalities in EU-23 countries occur in urban areas (source: CARE Database, European Commission 2012). In US 69% of all cyclist deaths in 2012 occurred in urban areas (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/Traffic Safety Facts April 2014)’
  • (On the road) serious injuries for UK cyclists in 2013 were 31% higher than in 2009 (source: Department for Transport, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2013 Annual Report)
  • In US 726 cyclists were killed in 2012, an increase in 6.5% compared to 2011 and 49’000 were injured, +2.1% vs. 2011 (source: NHTSA/Traffic Safety Facts, November 2013)
  • The total cost of bicyclist injuries and deaths is over $4 billion per year in the US (source: National Safety Council 2012)
  • In Germany, The Netherlands and Poland more than 85% of cyclist fatalities occurred at crossroads (source: CARE Database, European Commission 2012)
  • In some countries, pedestrians and cyclists constitute more than 75% of road deaths (source: WHO Fact Sheet # 358, March 2013)

 World-first technology by Volvo and POC connects cycle helmets with carsVolvo City Safety- Since spring 2013, all new Volvo cars are equipped with Auto brake for cyclists. Volvo Cars’ system, a world first, uses radar and camera to detect cyclists and based on advanced sensor technology can apply full automatic braking should the car come close to a collision.

Volvo Cars Vision 2020 and beyond — Volvo Cars believes that fatalities and severe injuries in traffic are unacceptable. The Swedish safety pioneer has therefore declared its Vision 2020 – Nobody should die or be seriously injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020 –, and beyond this, to build cars that do not crash any more.

[Read more…]

Volvo Launches National TV Spot Featuring NBA Point Guard Jeremy Lin

Jeremy_Lin_Volvo_spotTaking the first step in its endorsement deal with NBA point guard Jeremy Lin, Volvo created a national TV ad highlighting the values that drove Lin from anonymity to stardom. His success story draws parallels to the commitment and values that make Volvo a unique luxury brand with an unmatched legacy of safety leadership. [Read more…]