Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Not too long ago, Volvo effectively replaced three models with one. Those were the C30, S40 and V50, and their replacement came in the form of the V40. While its predecessors were available (at some point, anyway) in North America, the V40 isn't. And that's something that Volvo's players in the US would like to change.
According to Automotive News, both Volvo Cars of North America and its dealers are pressing the factory to reverse its decision and prepare the V40 for an American assault on the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3. It's a game they won before with the current V60, which hasn't been available here, but is set to make the transatlantic voyage come the start of the new year.
This time, though, Volvo Cars of North America may have a bigger fight on its hands, because the V40 wasn't designed to meet US regulations. Getting it up to spec, then, may be a bigger challenge than it's worth. But if the American importer and dealer network makes its voice heard, the V40's replacement could be designed with US regulations in mind.
After decades of cat-and-mouse battle waged between Holden and Ford, Australia's V8 Supercars series has expanded considerably. Mercedes and Nissan both joined the grid last season, and Volvo has followed suit this year. So when 2014 championship kicked off earlier this month in Adelaide, everyone was watching to see who would come out on top.
The answer is Holden, which took first place in all three of the weekend's races. In fact the General Motors division locked out the podium in the first and third races and took first and third places in the second race, letting just one other manufacturer onto the podium the entire weekend - and that was Volvo. The Polestar S60 scored second place on its first race weekend, beating all the Nissan Altimas, the Mercedes E63 AMGs, the Ford Falcons and most of the Holden Commodores.
Now that's hardly winning the championship, but it's a very solid debut. And that point was not lost on the people back at headquarters in Sweden, who are already thinking about making a roadgoing version of the race-spec V8 Supercar.
The 2014 model year is going to see big changes for the Volvo lineup. The biggest news is that the "60 cluster" models (the S60, V60 and XC60) are receiving some substantial updates despite not being all that old, and Volvo is also refreshing the S80, V70 and XC70 models. Of course, the 2014 model year also marks the departure of the C30 and C70 from its lineup, and we still have at least a year to wait until we see the redesigned XC90.
Except for the XC90, all of the 2014 Volvos will be getting noticeable design updates. The S60, V60 and XC60 get more in-depth changes, including a full front facelift. All will use an evolution of the "naughty" design that debuted on the S60. The rear of all three cars get some changes, too, most notably consisting of the reshaped rear fascia with the integrated exhaust outlets. S80, V70 and XC70 will get more minor changes - mostly to bring them in line with the fresher models. The XC70 keeps is rugged plastic cladding, but it gets some stylish wheels with what look like arrowhead accents.
Inside, all of these updated models will new in-car technology such as the Sensus Connected Touch infotainment system and the adaptive digital display with a TFT (thin film transistor) screen. This reconfigurable screen allows the driver to choose between three different themes - Elegance, Eco and Performance - which changes the color and layout of the background. Other new features include heated windshields, Active High Beam Control for the headlights, paddle shifters for a little added driver involvement and IntelliSafe active safety systems (City Safety, Pedestrian Detection and Road Sign Information) The S80, V70 and XC70 will also add heated steering wheels to their respective options sheets, too.