2018 Volvo S60 T5 Dynamic – The Perfect Daily Driver

In 2017, car buyers have plenty of options to choose from. They can purchase a sedan, crossover, full sized SUV, or hatchback, but it gets even more difficult when you narrow it down to a specific category within the automotive market. For luxury sedans, consumers can go with BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo, Lexus, Acura, and Jaguar, but for the person who wants a compromise between safety, luxury, and performance, the Volvo S60 is the ideal car that suits the needs of many Americans.

Monday I got to spend time with a 2018 S60 T5 Dynamic, courtesy of Volvo Village in Danvers, Massachusetts. If you’re familiar with the second generation S60, you know that over time its appearance has become more aggressive and sporty. Starting with the 2017 model year, the Dynamic trim was introduced, and with that brought a slight change as the 2018 I got to review had the 18″ Tucan Diamond Cut Black Alloy wheels that come standard.

Volvo has integrated sporty qualities to compliment the luxurious aspect on the S60 by providing sport seats standard that will literally hug you while you’re driving. Combined with the fact that they’re leather and heated, no matter what time of year or the weather, your experience behind the wheel will be an enjoyable and comfortable one. Adding on to the luxury appeal for the interior, you get a Harman/Kardon premium sound system, a navigation system, dual zone climate control, and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

Passengers in the back will be greeted with very comfortable and supportive bench seats that will keep them in place, and give them good leg room. They’ll have rear cup holders that fold down from the center seat, along with a storage compartment that can fit smartphones and other small items.

When it comes to Volvo, safety is the number one priority. Blind Spot Information System, Brake assist, Rear Park Assist Sensors, Rear Park Assist Camera, and anti-whiplash front head restraints highlight the safety features on the S60.

For performance, you’ll get a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine with 240 hp and 258 lb feet of torque. An 8 speed automatic transmission w/Geartronic comes standard, but paddle shifters are optional. When it comes to fuel economy, you can expect to receive 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Volvo also offers two drivetrain variants on the S60, FWD and AWD, with front wheel drive getting slightly better gas mileage.

The S60 I got to review was the base AWD trim with the heated front seats and steering wheel package. One of the options that Volvo offers include: the $1000 Sports Package that gets you paddle shifters, sports chassis, electric power steering personalization, and 19″ Portia Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels. The Technology and Vision packages offer additional safety features, such as Collision Warning w/ Full Auto Brake & Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control w/ Queue Assist, Lane Keeping Aid, and Driver Alert Control to name a few.

Overall the 2018 Volvo S60 T5 Dynamic is a great daily driver. You get safety, luxury, and performance, along with AWD as an option. The MSRP of the S60 I reviewed is $41k, but the front wheel drive variants start around $34k. It’s reasonably priced, making the S60 a serious competitor to the BMW 3 Series and others in its class. Volvo has made strides against their German counterparts over the past few years, and with their resurgence in the luxury market, Volvo can no longer be overlooked.

Volvo S40 T5 – The Perfect Car For The Driver Who Wants A Manual

In the car community, having a car with a stick or being capable of driving a manual car, is an added bonus to show your knowledge and legitimacy as a car enthusiast. Often we discuss what car with a manual transmission would be perfect to learn and or own. The Mazda Miata is always brought up for many reasons, including the fact that it’s essentially a street legal go-kart which gives drivers the sensation of being connected to the road. There are many other candidates, but one that is never mentioned nor given credit as being a fun car is the Volvo S40 T5.

I know what you’re thinking, but much like the C30, the S40 can be fun to drive, and in fact could be the perfect car to learn how to drive a stick. Many S40 owners complain about the close proximity between the brake and gas pedals, as you’ll most likely accidentally tap on of them. This dilemma actually brings up the perfect opportunity to start heel-toeing, which will make you a better driver and help train you to shift through the gears smoother. The S40 T5 has other benefits as well, including performance and modification capabilities.

With a turbocharged 5 cylinder engine producing around 227 horsepower, you’re going to have a decent car right off the bat. It won’t beat a fully stock MazdaSpeed3 but you’ll have more horsepower than a stock Volkswagen GTI. This now leads up to modifications, and here are just a few S40s that are out there where the owners brought the Swedish sedan to the next level.

You can also go with body kits from Heico to add a more sporty appeal to the S40

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Overall the S40 is a great car to start out with, whether to daily drive or learn how to drive a manual. It’s a safe car, the interior is cozy, and the seats are absolutely comfortable. Perfect for the driver who also wants to step into the entry level luxury segment. Despite not being a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes Benz, it’s definitely an alternative if you don’t want to buy a Japanese car, but with that does come costs at the repair shop.

Right now you can find S40 T5s around $5k – $6k. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an S40 T5 R-Design don’t pass it up. Not only are they rare to come by these days, but you get some added goodies in terms of aesthetics. They’re also holding their value slightly better and can be purchased for around $12k.

Most importantly, you’ll have a novelty car. Not many S40 T5’s are out there on the roads, let alone a modified one. It’s safe to say that at a local car meet, you’ll have the only S40, but it will be unique which just adds to the appeal and the whole package of owning one.

Auto Sales Get Decimated In October – A Sign Of Things To Come?

The month of October was not friendly to most car manufacturers, as overall sales in the United States dropped 6%. This sharp drop can be attributed to volume sellers who saw declines that haven’t been posted in quite sometime. Is this a reason for concern moving forward? Is a slowing auto market going to be the new reality that manufacturers will face for at least the short term? New car sales have been slowing over the past few months, but October’s sudden drop in overall sales is nothing that should be taken lightly.

It should be noted that October of 2016 had two fewer selling days than October of 2015, but with some of the percentages that were posted, not even two extra selling days could change the outcome of a bleak new car market.

Fiat-Chrysler Massacre

It has not been a good year for the Fiat-Chrysler group, and October magnifies the downward trend in sales for most of the brands. Chrysler posted a decline of 44.7%, Fiat down 24.3%, Dodge -16.4%, and Jeep -6.6%. Three out of the four brands listed are down on the year for new car sales, while Jeep is still maintaining an increase of 9.7%. With Dodge ending the Dart and Chrysler no longer producing the 200, sales figures being down was to be expected, but for the auto group as a whole, there’s not much excitement for any of the brands, besides Dodge which produces the Challenger and Charger.

BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo and Land Rover Experience Sales Decline

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Volvo and Land Rover, two manufacturers who are both up on the year in new car sales in the United States, saw sharp declines in the month of October. Volvo, a brand that has been revived thanks to the all new S90 and completely redesigned XC90, experienced a 14.6% drop in sales. Land Rover saw a decline of 23.2% in October. Despite the sharp drop in sales in the United States, Volvo and Land Rover are still having a fantastic year overall, and shouldn’t be too concerned about the final quarter of the year, unless lower sales figures overall in the automotive market becomes a trend.

BMW may be the biggest surprise for lower volumes in sales, not only for October, but for the year of 2016. Down 18.4% last month, and down 9% for the year, BMW is the only brand out of the big three luxury manufacturers in Germany that has experienced declines. Mercedes Benz and Audi are still strong, and while sales were flat in October, the loss of two sales days could be a contributing factor. Volkswagen on the other hand has not recovered from Diesel Gate, and with a loss of 13.5% on the year and another double-digit loss last month, it just continues to get worse for the German auto brand.

Bentley, Jaguar, Maserati, and Porsche Have Strong October

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Not everyone is reeling from the October blues, there are car brands that had a fantastic month with Bentley, Jaguar, Maserati, and Porsche having double and even triple digit increases in sales. The British are leading the way and Jaguar’s 226% sales increase can be attributed to the F-Pace and XE, which have both taken their respective markets by storm. The F-Pace is Jaguar’s first attempt at making an SUV, and so far it has been a great success, while the XE, which is the British’s answer to the BMW 3 Series, is seeing strong sales since it’s arrival to the market earlier this year.

Bentley’s impressive gain of 158% in sales last month is all thanks to the Benteyga, which is Bentley’s first ever SUV. In October, the Benteyga contributed more than 33% of sales for the Bentley brand. While the British luxury car maker is down on the year by 6.8%, the entrance into the luxury SUV market has yielded strong sales figures, with the Benteyga making up about 50% of Bentley’s sales in the US since it’s debut on the market in August.

Maserati, much like Bentley and Jaguar, has seen strong sales numbers since entering the SUV market as well. The Levante, which also brought in about 33% of sales in October for Maserati, has received raved reviewed by journalists and consumers. Maserati has hit a home run with their luxury SUV, and that is starting to trickle down to other cars in the lineup. The Ghibli had a strong month alongside the Levante, leading to Maserati’s 11.8% increase in sales for the month of October.

Porsche had the best month out of all German brands in October, with luxury SUV’s again being the main contributor for strong sale. Up 10.7% in October and 3.2% for the year of 2016, Porsche has seen tremendous sales figures and it’s the Cayenne and Macan that is carrying the once sports car dominated lineup.

Strong sales across the board for luxury brands could be a good sign, despite the slowing of overall sales in the market. While Fiat-Chrysler, BMW, Volvo, and many others struggled in October, there’s no reason to panic just yet. If the fourth quarter of 2016 continues a downward trend and that transitions into the new year, then there would be a legitimate reason for concern. As for right now, we can only hope that October isn’t the start of a trend, and that the holiday season and the incentives that come with it could motivate consumers to buy in November and December.

Is Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz Styling Becoming Lazy?

Remember when you were walking back to your car with groceries and saw a Mercedes Benz and knew exactly what model it was? Have you seen two Audis parked next to each other and could distinguish the difference between the two from a distance? Do you also remember when BMW’s numbering system actually made sense? Those were the days. Now German automakers just extend or shorten the length of models, stick on a different number, and sell it with some added gimmicks or lower price tag. Anyone else see a growing problem from the German luxury market?

Needless to say, the interiors that Mercedes Benz offers is in a league of its own. A comfortable and welcoming environment could make the idea of living in an S-Class sound reasonable. Audi’s updated cabin that’s now noticeable in the 2017 Q7 and A4 will put them in the upper echelon when it comes to stylish and luxurious interiors. But when you take a look at the outside of most of the models the big three German manufacturers offer, you begin to realize just how lazy automotive design has become.

Starting with BMW, the 3 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series all had a slightly different face a few years ago. You could tell they were from the same family, but the siblings were not identical. Today with the recent addition of the 4 Series, the two door coupe and convertible are essentially the sportier versions of the 3 Series sedans. But it doesn’t stop there. With the 435i Gran Coupe, BMW has effectively created a dilemma where a four door has been given a number that was supposed to symbolize the difference between the coupes from the sedans. There’s no value proposition that the Gran Coupe offers, in fact you pay more for what is a 3 Series with an extended trunk.

Lately, car enthusiasts have had to ask themselves, “What is Mercedes Benz doing to their lineup?” There was once a time when the C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class were all distinctive. As recent as 2014, the C-Class and E-Class from front to back were completely different, with the C-Class clearly being more of an entry level sedan, and the E-Class having a very upscale presence, both in terms of the exterior and interior. Now with the 2017 models hitting showrooms, the C-Class sedan, and more noticeable with the coupe, have the same body style as the S-Class. The redesigned E-Class has become the middle child, having a very similar appearance to it’s bigger and smaller siblings. Mercedes Benz has defined the term “German luxury” for the past decade; there was no reason to make carbon copies of their models

Audi might just be he laziest of them all, despite BMW and Mercedes Benz attempts to claim the thrown on producing identical cars. Park an Audi A6 and A8 next to each other, same color and year, and you’ll have a 50% chance of guessing the correct model. If you subtract the A7, TT, and SUVs from the Audi lineup, you’re left with three sedans and one coupe that all have similar body styles and faces, but only differ in size. At some point, an executive at the corporate level must take a look at the lineup and think, “Maybe we need to stop being so mundane”.

The lack of creativity and originality is frightening to say the least. Yes the Mercedes Benz AMG’s, BMW M-Series, and Audi S-Line make our mouths water and we crave more power, but at the end of the day, the German automakers are beginning to lose their speciality. Right now we’re living in an era where the i8, R8, and GT-S are the only iconic cars that we’ll look back on and remember. Twenty years ago, the BMW M3 and Mercedes Benz 190E Cosworth were attainable sports cars that we could all enjoy. Today there’s not a special car within the reach of the average American.

German cars will always be looked at as the very best in luxury. However, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for a car that is unique. Jaguar and Volvo are beginning to find a foothold, and once their new and updated lineups are completed, the Germans will have stiff competition coming from Britain and Sweden.

Volvo Dealerships, Listen Up

In the month of April, Volvo was outsold by Porsche in the United States, 5,217 cars to 4,636 sold by the Swedish automaker. This is very alarming, especially since Porsche’s prices are higher than Volvo’s, and also their vehicles were once rarer. What happened? It wasn’t too long ago, 8 years ago in fact, that Volvo’s yearly sales were in the six figure range. In 2014, the annual sales were at 56,366, which was a 5,000 car drop from the previous year. Volvo is heading into a very dangerous time, and you could say that the new XC90 will keep the company afloat until the major lineup changes take affect in 2017, but I don’t think you can wait another two years before sales figures could, and I stress could, rebound.

Mercedes Benz, Audi, and BMW are in contention for the number one spot, steamrolling over any car brand that even tries to compete with the German luxury car market. But the fact that Volvo was outsold by Porsche is a major concern, and here’s why. The Porsche Macan, Cayenne, and Panamera made up a huge portion of sales in the month April, which means they’re successfully selling their four-door vehicles. The bulk of Volvo’s sales came from the XC60 and S60, with the V60 and V60 CC chipping in with a combined total of just over 700. Now that we’ve seen what’s working for both automakers, it’s time to look at how Volvo dealerships can help improve car sales for the brand. Yes, you the dealerships can play a major role in your car brand’s overall sales.

I’ve had the pleasure of being inside the Volvo S60, and quite honestly, it was enjoyable to drive and sit in. Comfortable interior, and being the owner of an S40, I didn’t feel like I was in a drastically different car, which I liked. With 240 horsepower for the base model, that competes with and beats some of the German competitors in terms of power. You’ve got to let the consumer know that. Brand perception is still holding strong with the “It’s a family man’s car” or “For the Middle-aged adult”. I was at the car show in Boston this past January and there were more than just families in the Volvo section. Twenty-five year olds were surrounding the S60 Polestar, and they didn’t just sit and stare at it, they read the description next to it. There was a genuine interest.

Looking at the various lease options for the S60 from a number of local Volvo dealerships, the S60 is also cheaper to lease monthly than the Audi A3 and A4, Mercedes Benz CLA, and C-Class, and in some cases even cheaper than the BMW 320i X-drive. The S60 beats the competition, not only in power but also price. You have to make that known to the customer, and by advertising and posting content on social media, you can help spread the awareness.

The XC60 seems to be your best seller, and for good reason. But very rarely do I see Volvo dealerships making the XC60 a main focal point on social media. I know that the XC60 is due for a platform change that should happen in 2017, along with the S60/V60, but with a two year buffer, you have to continue pushing the crossover SUV. Porsche is clearly beating you to the punch, and consumers are willing to pay extra if need be to get a luxury crossover or SUV.

The V60 is another car that I don’t see being pushed much on social media, or even in other forms of advertising for that matter. The V60 Cross Country almost outsold the XC70, while also being 87 cars behind the V60 variant. In terms of luxury the V60 is one step higher than Subaru, and again, Volvo isn’t playing this up to their advantage. The V60 CC could have seen stronger sales, especially after the winter we experienced here in the Northeast. But again, Volvo dealerships missed a golden opportunity to promote their off-road capable station wagon.

Lastly, with the XC90 being the most iconic car for this generation of Volvo’s, it’s been somewhat disappointing to see dealerships not emphasizing the importance of this car, while also building up excitement for its release. Right now dealerships are doing the best they can, but hopefully with the new XC90 hitting showrooms, Volvo dealerships will give customers an inside look of their cars, whether that be at local events, or on social media.

Social media is vital to your car brand’s success. You have to utilize Facebook and Instagram. I see the passion for Volvo’s by current owners. They need a reason to go back to the dealership and consider trading in their old Volvo for a new one. The new Volvo’s are absolutely beautiful and I find them to be a dark horse in its market. You have to bring them to light, and make consumers aware of the better options your car company can provide.

Volvo’s Plans Are Becoming Clearer, Ghent Factory Part Of Future

Owners of the Volvo S40 in the United States know that their Volvo didn’t come from Sweden, but that it was manufactured in Ghent, Belgium. Today, there are rumblings and rumors that the S40’s siblings will be coming to America by 2018, and yes, they’ll be manufactured in Ghent just like their predecessor. Motor Authority broke the news that the V40, which is already sold in Europe, should be landing on our shores later this decade, while also introducing the all new XC40. These two new models are just the tip of the iceberg for the Swedish automaker, as Volvo has a 5 year plan to take on other luxury brands in the United States.

With the news that Ghent will play a role in Volvo’s revival in the US, there’s also rumors that China might come into play, as Volvo still hasn’t given up on the idea of selling Chinese-made vehicles. So far it appears that Ghent is the top priority. With that being said, Volvo is also building a new plant in the United States, possibly manufacturing the larger models, but no official word as of today.

Volvo’s other plans consist of new changes to the S60/V60 and XC60, introducing their new flagship, the S90/V90, and discontinuing the S80. With their German counterparts grabbing market share and continuously adding on to their lineups, Volvo has been forced into action as they’ve experienced some adverse times. Clearly, this isn’t Saab, and by entering markets that consumers are buying in, Volvo can experience revitalization, but there’s a lot of work ahead of them.

Right now, there are no official plans to reintroduce the Volvo S40 to the United States. While Top Gear did report that the S40 was in future plans, it appears that the compact sedan isn’t a top priority at this time. However, taking on the Audi A3 and Mercedes Benz CLA would be a wise move, as they also can offer the V40 and XC40 variants to appeal to consumers in that market.

The next few years should be interesting, and it will be exciting to see what will be coming out of Sweden, Ghent, and the United States factories by 2018.

Volvo Building Manufacturing Plant In The United States

So much for all the concerns and drama over Chinese-made Volvo’s invading dealership lots stateside in a few years. Volvo has recently announced that they will be building a manufacturing plant in the United States. Very little has been released on what models will be manufactured there, but with all the hype surrounding the Swedish automaker after the new XC90’s debut, and their five year plan released a few months back, speculation could run wild as Volvo will be introducing new models to their lineup by 2019.

It’s been said that Volvo was trying hard to get a plant built in Mexico, but those plans fell through, leaving the United States as the next best option. Volvo would be following in the footsteps of Mercedes Benz and BMW, who are already producing cars here in America. Most notably, the BMW X-series is made in the United States. Volkswagen has also moved some of their production to our side of the Atlantic Ocean as the mid-sized sedan Passat is made in Tennessee.

Volvo has plans of reintroducing the S40, leaving the door open for a V40 debut, while also adding an XC40 to the lineup by 2019. The S60/V60 and XC60 will be seeing major changes and will be built on a new platform, raising speculations that maybe these will be some of the cars that will be manufactured here. Depending on when this plant gets built, one could also speculate the all new S90/V90, the new flagships for the automaker, could be made in the United States. BMW and Mercedes Benz manufacture some of their bigger models in the US, so why not Volvo?

The Swedish automaker is going to be busy the next five years, and with a new chief executive for North America, Volvo looks to be more aggressive heading into 2020 to compete with other luxury brands in their market.

Volvo On The Verge Of Revamping Their Lineup, New Models By 2019

Volvo, the usually very conservative auto manufacturer, is now a few years away from having a completely new lineup. Some new models will be introduced to the United States by 2019. The S80 will be replaced by the S90/V90, and the S60/V60 and XC60 will all be completely redesigned by 2018. With major changes underway, this adjustment in the lineup is very similar to a pro sports team rebuilding for the future to contend with powerhouses. Unlike their Swedish counterpart, Volvo has learned from Saab’s mistakes and they plan on taking the world by storm with a completely new look.

The unveiling of the new Volvo XC90 was just the beginning of the changes we’ll be seeing in the next four years. Even years after Ford’s sale of Volvo, the S60/V60 and the previous generation XC90 are all using Ford platforms. Starting this year the Swedish automaker is moving in a new direction, a path that is purely theirs, offering unique vehicles to consumers. The real question is, will Americans be enticed by what Volvo will be offering them in a few years?

Right now Volvo is playing catch-up in the automotive world. While Mercedes Benz and BMW are expanding every year, Volvo has maintained a minimal number of models the past three years. The S40, V50, C30, and C70 are no longer in production, leaving the company out of some major growing markets. While Volvo needed to change things around, getting rid of the compact S40 may have been a mistake to some degree as Audi and Mercedes Benz introduced the A3 and CLA two years later. Not to mention other luxury brands who have entered the small sedan market and created market share for themselves.

By 2019 however, we’ll be seeing the S40 making a reappearance to the United States, along with the V40, and all new XC40. With companies like Mazda making the CX-3, Audi producing the Q3, and BMW selling the X1, Volvo is already behind in the small crossover market. The XC60 is the closest thing Volvo has to a crossover, and while it’s the companies best seller, it’s still not selling enough to compete with the likes of other auto brands who are making smaller and more affordable crossovers. That’s where the XC40 comes in. Early reports suggest it should be priced around $30,000 when it hits the US market in 2019

2014 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design
qJake / Foter / CC BY-SA

The S60/V60 and XC60 will be completely redone by 2018 with the XC60 getting a new platform and look in 2017. Still influenced by Ford, Volvo is doing as much as they can with the S60/V60 and XC60, and for the time being it’s working. Moving ahead, Volvo has to make these changes to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack.

The S90/V90 will be the new flagship for Volvo. Sharing the same platform as the XC90, Volvo’s first order of business is the large sedan market. It’s actually a bold strategy as other car companies are going smaller, putting small sedans and crossovers as a top priority. The XC90 definitely needed a new look to attract consumers, and by the looks of it the SUV is making a huge splash already.

However, has the lineup change come too late? Has Volvo waited far too long to offer a new S40/V40, or introduce a smaller sibling of the XC60? Every other auto brand is lightyears ahead in terms of adding more vehicles to lineups and giving the consumer more variety. Volvo finds themselves among some very worthy and tough competitors, and with Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Audi duking it out, is their room for one more in a very heated auto market? These are the questions that are worth asking.

Saab’s changes came way too late in the game. Is Volvo the next Swedish automaker to make adjustments at the wrong time? Volvo’s have always been special, offering a comfortable ride that very few car companies could match. The direction their moving in is necessary to survive, but how close are they flirting to flatlining? The competition is steep, and a lot can happen in a few years. New markets may emerge, the small sedan and crossover classes could become saturated, or other auto brands replicate what made Volvo so successful.

Volvo’s lineup changes will be exciting to watch nonetheless. It’s going to be refreshing to see new models coning out of Stockholm, and hopefully with a revamped lineup, we’ll see the Swedish auto maker dominate once again.

Winter In New England: Never Buy A Front Wheel Drive Car

Have you had enough of winter yet? We sure have. Between shoveling out the driveway, getting stuck on unplowed roads, fishtailing down city streets, and not feeling invincible like the car ads show, makes us extremely tired of snow this year. But guess what? We still have another month or so of winter left, and with a front wheel drive car, patience has run out. Unless you’re a young kid who likes snow drifting in parking lots, RWD will get you nowhere in this weather, and at times FWD is no better. That leaves us with one choice. AWD crossovers, SUV’s, and sedans. Are we complaining? No.

The biggest issue with front wheel drive is that you have no traction in the back. You may make it around the corner, but the back end always gets loose, even with stability and traction control on. Older vehicles are more prone to these problems due to loss of power, and this is very noticeable when going uphill. The prime remedy is to always winterize your car, put on snow tires, and go the whole 9 yards, but weather chooses no favorites and it will stop you dead in your tracks.

When it comes to RWD, you might as well attach a RV trailer on the back of the car because it will expend all your energy and concentration to make it home in a timely manner. Because all the power comes from the back, you have to stabilize the weight ratio as the engine is in the front which causes a nightmare if you get stuck in a rut. Personally, we never understood why RWD was ever considered to be a great idea for driving in the northern reaches of the country, but that decision is up to the buyer.

After surviving six feet of snow in less than three weeks, we’ve decided that AWD and four wheel drive is the only answer to making it through unplowed surfaces. Go on Youtube and Instagram and you’ll find Subarus going through snow as if it was cotton candy, and a BMW dealership in Massachusetts showed the power of BMW’s AWD system as it made it out of a snowbank surrounding the car.

If you still want a RWD or front wheel drive vehicle after winter of 2015, all power to you. We’re done with fishtailing and watching drivers with AWD facing no adversity while we’re trying to correct the wheel because the rear tires feel like they’re on banana peels.

Some people would say all the fun cars are RWD, but we beg to differ. You can’t tell us that cutting through snow in a Subaru and feeling unstoppable for a season is better than snow drifting. Having to put a shovel in the trunk and constantly debating whether you can make it through that snow pile or up that unplowed street has changed our perceptions of winter driving. Yes, for the first storm it seems fun, but when you’re actually trying to get from point A to point B in one piece, AWD seems like the best alternative.

This winter will be over in a few months, at least that’s what we’re hoping. By then maybe FWD and RWD cars will seem more appealing, but for the time being, AWD systems, whether that be Quattro or X-drive, Subarus or Volvos, SUV’s or crossovers, are the only vehicles we want to be behind the wheel of until late April.

Volvo Has Caught The Cross Country Bug. XC S60 and XC V60?

Volvo is a company in transition. Under new ownership after being sold by Ford, Volvo has had difficulty in distancing itself from it’s past. Much of the designs and components of their older models such as the S60 and discontinued S40 were based off of Ford, and for the S60, there are major changes underway to get rid of the old blueprint and start fresh in 2015. Well they’ve certainly done that by unveiling their new XC version of the S60. With a height adjustment of 2.5 inches, Volvo is moving away from their traditional sedan and have suddenly come up with a Subaru-like, height-adjusted, tough terrain beating car and station wagon.

The addition to the XC family has already caused confusion with the media as there is an XC V60 and a XC60 now, but the difference being one is a station wagon and the other a crossover. What are Volvo’s future plans, what segment are they trying to enter, and who exactly are they competing against with their new XC lineup? These questions seem to go unanswered, but one could speculate that they’re trying to be the more luxurious Subaru by offering AWD across their product line, or their bringing Subaru-like engineering to the luxury car market, a segment that hasn’t been capitalized as of yet. But is there a demand for it?

Volvos primarily sell better in the states with winter climates as their AWD systems are a luxury during the late fall and winter months during the year. It’s very possible that they’re trying to target a specific market that either likes off-road capabilities or prefers something other than Subaru without sacrificing the AWD and year round durability.

However, the redesigned Volvo XC90 might contradict that theory as Volvo unveiled the R-design trim that will surely take on the BMW X5 and Audi Q5. It appears the Swedish automaker is trying to take on multiple segments at once, while also innovating along the way. They have a triple turbocharged engine in the works that could revolutionize the car industry while also continuing to perfect their safety features on their cars.

It will be interesting to see the reception the XC S60 gets when it enters Volvo dealerships early this year. Personally, I see the XC V60 doing better as Subaru has lived off the AWD station wagons for years, and it’s possible Volvo can experience that same success. Great things are happening up in Sweden these days, and let’s hope we continue to see these changes as Volvos have become very luxury-based cars over the past 5 years or so.