Volvo models have some of the best reputations for reliability in the entire car market, but it is their safety innovations which have truly marked the manufacturer out as unique. Having invented the three-point safety belt in 1959 and releasing the patent for free for others to use, there’s also the fact that in 2018 it was revealed that no one had ever had a fatal collision in a Volvo XC90 in the 16 years the car had been on sale.
Below we’ll look at a brief history of Volvo as well as which models make up their current range…
A brief history of Volvo
Volvo was founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson, with the open-top OV4 the first model produced.
Volvo PV 444 released
Post-war, Volvo revealed the PV 444. This was the first small car released by the manufacturer, with 2,300 orders placed for ‘the little Volvo’ in two weeks.
First estate car launched
Volvo is synonymous with the estate bodystyle, with the Volvo Duett their first.
Three-point safety belt invented
Volvo was founded on principles of quality and safety, and the pinnacle of this is the invention of the three-point seat belt. Volvo waived the patent rights so everybody could benefit, and it is estimated to have saved over 1 million lives since then.
Volvo P1800 launched
While Volvo launched their first sports car in 1956, the P1900 only received a short production run. Fame was found with their next launch, the P1800, which was famously used by Roger Moore in the influential TV show ‘The Saint’.
Further safety innovations
Volvo continued to innovate throughout the 60s and 70s as they expanded globally. This included the introduction of crumple zones, rear-facing child seats, side-collision protection and more.
Volvo 400-series launched
The Volvo 480ES was launched in 1986. Marketed as a premium sports car, it was the first series-produced front-wheel-drive Volvo car.
Ford purchase Volvo
Volvo had previously attempted to merge with Renault (1993) and Scania AB (1999) but both deals didn’t proceed. Volvo then sold their car division to Ford.
Geely Auto purchase Volvo
After a decade of stagnated growth and mismanagement under Ford, Geely Auto purchased 82% of Volvo in 2010.
Commitment to electric
Since the purchase by Geely, Volvo has refocused its product line-up. Since 2019 they have committed to all new models will feature an electric motor in their powertrain. In 2021 they announced plans to completely stop selling fossil fuel-based cars by 2030.
Sensible, safe, roomy, the V60 ticks all the words synonymous with Volvo car models.
Most recently refreshed in 2019, the Volvo V60 is sleek erring on Shooting Brake in design. Dynamic yet elegant, its sculpted side profile emphasise these elements of its character ending in a roof spoiler at the rear.
Step inside the V60 and you’re faced with a layout that emphasises form and function. The dashboard is uncluttered and yet dominated by a 9-inch iPad-esque touchscreen infotainment. All of these put the driver and passengers at ease, offering comfort and refinement unmatched in its segment. Add to this a square bootspace ideal for loading and it’s as practical and versatile on top of comfortable.
Versatility is the name of the game, with the V60 range also offering a V60 Cross Country. With a slightly more rugged design over the traditional estate, it features skid plates and fender extenders and a slightly raised ground clearance. Add to this all-wheel drive technology for improved off-road ability, and it’s a can-do estate.
Both the V60 and V60 Cross Country are available with mild-hybrid petrol and diesel drivetrains. The Volvo V60 Recharge offers a plug-in hybrid choice featuring 455hp and around 50 miles of zero-emission driving.
The Volvo V90 ups the game slightly by offering drivers that little bit extra size and practicality that some drivers might need from an estate.
A well-rounded, complete and ultimately comfortable car, the V90 is a car that combines powerful aesthetics with everyday practicality. Both the interior and exterior are personified by chic Scandinavian design where minimalism and calm is key.
With an extra element of style and presence, V90 Cross Country is a car that enhances any adventure. Aimed at outdoorsy types, it offers All-Wheel Drive, increased ground clearance and an advanced chassis, all of which helps tackle rough roads, challenging weather and tough conditions with confidence.
Once again, both the V90 and V90 Cross Country are available with mild-hybrid petrol and diesel drivetrains. The Volvo V90 Recharge offers a plug-in hybrid choice with a fuel consumption of 353mpg and an zero-emission range of 53 miles.
The Volvo S60 is the manufacturers mid-sized saloon, and takes the hallmarks of the brand – safety and innovation – and applies them to this lucrative segment to balance dynamism with comfort and refinement.
Now in its third generation, the S60 adds to that mix a cabin focused on putting you in control, constructed from beautiful materials and with thoughtful details designed to improve your ride. These include Google built in to the infotainment unit negating the need for smartphone mirroring, driver assistance technology and safety assistance technology as standard.
The Volvo S60 is available with a front-wheel drive mild-hybrid petrol engine, or the Volvo S60 Recharge plug-in hybrid which couples the petrol engine with an electric motor to offer increased performance and efficiency.
The Volvo S90 is now available exclusively under the Recharge banner if looking at a new car lease, offering drivers the performance and efficiency of a plug-in hybrid with the elegance of an executive saloon. Used models may retain internal combustion engine use.
Volvo’s aim with the luxury S90 was to redefine the idea of luxury, not only offering more size than the S60 but additional levels of refinement and classy finishes.
This includes a handcrafted crystal gear shifter and soft-touch Nappa leather as well as features such as air purifier, Google built-in to the infotainment as standard, keyless entry and programmable seat positions for each driver.
All of this is powered by a plug-in hybrid offering 455hp with around 54 miles of zero-emission range. Elegance, craftsmanship and technology — this is what the S90 is made of.
Crowned What Car? Family SUV of the Year for a fourth time this year, the Volvo XC40 has truly been one of the most important car models launched in recent memory for the Swedish manufacturer.
Positioning itself as a vehicle built to help improve your life by making each journey an easy one, the Volvo XC40 has achieved this and more since its launch in 2018.
Offering something unique in the lucrative mid-sized crossover market, the XC40 offers high ground clearance for a commanding driving position, large wheels, and true SUV proportions. This gives it a powerful stance but its compact dimensions make it ideal for inner-city driving.
The interior offers Volvo’s usual level of comfort and refinement, surrounded by carefully crafted materials, where intuitive technology and inventive storage solutions are all to hand.
With a facelifted model due for release this year, the XC40 is available with a choice of mild-hybrid engines including a 127bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol in two states of tune. Two plug-in hybrid’s are also available, with both mating the 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and available in either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Two electric models make up the XC40 Recharge range, with the front-wheel drive model powered by a 67kWh battery pack which offers a maximum range of 264 miles. A four-wheel drive option is powered by a larger 75kWh battery pack and gets a twin-motor electric powertrain with an output of 402bhp and 660Nm of torque. That gives it a maximum range of 259 miles.
The Volvo XC60 aims to be the perfect balance between comfort and control, and has a long standing reputation as one of the most reliable true SUVs on the market.
The exterior mixes muscular dynamism with clean, elegant Scandinavian design that disguises how truly capable it is. The interior continues the theme of upmarket luxury, crafted using the finest materials such as driftwood décor and ventilated upholstery, with a cabin full of natural light.
Behind the wheel, a range of the most advanced safety technologies on the market will help look out for you, your passengers and other road users with highlights including side impact and whiplash protection, hazard warning, and a pedestrian protection system which mitigates any impact.
The Volvo XC60 is one of the few car models in the range which still offers a diesel engine offering 194bhp and four-wheel drive mated to a mild-hybrid battery. The rest of the range is made up of petrol engines in either mild-hybrid or Recharge plug-in hybrid form with all-wheel drive as standard.
The most iconic vehicle in the Volvo range, the XC90 is a seven-seater luxury SUV that exudes power and road presence like few other car models on the road.
But behind that presence is a car that is emboldened but its subtle design and luxurious materials. In the lavishly appointed cabin, luxurious materials and superb craftsmanship meet with uncluttered elegance. The airy interior gives you the luxury of space and calm – no matter which of the standard seven seats you are in – with its Google-powered nine-inch infotainment unit taking pride of place in the tailored dashboard.
Featuring a similar line-up to the smaller XC60, the Volvo XC90 is available with one petrol mild-hybrid and one diesel mild-hybrid with all-wheel drive capability across the various trims. The XC90 Recharge is the plug-in hybrid variant which offers nearly 60 miles of zero emission driving. All cars across the range are mated to an automatic gearbox.