Swedish firm Volvo has a reputation for safety, and its latest models are no exception, the Volvo XC60 and Volvo S60 get high tech systems which slow the car automatically if they detect an obstruction.
Volvo announced the arrival of the all-new Volvo V40 hatchback at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The striking new model will compete against the Lexus CT 200h and the BMW 1 Series in the premium hatchback segment. It will be offered with a range of engines - highlights include a diesel that produces emissions of 88g/km and a petrol that is capable of 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds, called the T5. All engine options will come with stop/start brake energy regeneration as standard. The Volvo V40 will also feature the world's first pedestrian airbag.
Volvo wants the Volvo S60 to be seen to offer a stylish, sporty alternative to rivals from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and it's not too far off. It's a good-looking car on the outside, while the interior oozes the simple, neat Swedish style that defines Volvo's cabins. It's more comfortable than sporty though, even if it does drive better than any Volvo before it. Good pricing and equipment work in its favour, too.
The Volvo V60 is based on the Volvo S60 executive saloon, so it looks stylish inside and out, with the addition of a versatile boot. However, while past Volvo estates have made a name for themselves with their cavernous load areas, the Volvo V60's boot is actually smaller than you'll find in most rivals. As with the saloon, the Volvo V60 is comfortable, well equipped and is competitively priced.
The Volvo V70 proves that Volvo knows a thing or two about building really good estate cars that work in the real world. The Volvo V70 doesn’t feature the biggest boot in the class, but it's still enormous and capable of swallowing virtually anything you throw at it. What's more, the Volvo V70 is superbly comfortable to drive, particularly on the motorway, and the DRIVe version offers fuel bills similar to a small hatchback's.
The Volvo S80 is more like Volvo's older cars. Instead of the sporty look of the new Volvo S60, the Volvo S80 is built for comfort, and makes for a big and relaxing, but rather unexciting, executive saloon. The Volvo S80 is similar to the BMW 5-Series in size, but is priced in line with top-spec Ford Mondeos, so you get a lot of car for your money. It's well made too, and features a large line-up of quiet engines; from the economical DRIVe model all the way up to a five-cylinder diesel luxury model.
The Volvo XC60 offers a pleasing mixture of off-road and estate car styling, which looks less aggressive than rivals like the Land Rover Freelander and BMW X3. The interior looks great, too, and offers a high driving position, comfortable seats and great visibility, plus lots of space for passengers and luggage. The Volvo XC60 drives more like a car than a 4x4, and while there are high-powered diesel engines, the frugal DRIVe version, which has front-wheel drive, returns an impressive 47.1mpg. All cars get City Safety, which is designed to help avoid collisions with pedestrians and other traffic at low speeds.
The Volvo XC70 is based on the proven Volvo V70, which means it doesn’t feature the biggest boot, but it's still enormous and capable of swallowing virtually anything you throw at it. What's more, the Volvo XC70 is superbly comfortable to drive, particularly on the motorway. The Volvo XC70 features jacked-up suspension, four-wheel drive and a rugged bodykit, and is a match for the Audi A6 Allroad when taken off the beaten track.
The Volvo XC90 was Volvo's first off-roader, and proved the firm's clever ability to build cars that are relevant to real-world drivers. Key to this is the fact that the Volvo XC90 comes well equipped and features seven decent-sized seats as standard, making it great for active families. It doesn’t handle as well as rivals like the BMW X5, but the Volvo XC90 is extremely comfortable on long journeys and offers good visibility. The Volvo XC90 tops this off with solid build quality and a powerful D5 diesel engine.
The Volvo C70 coupé-convertible certainly boasts plenty of style, particularly since it was revised for 2010 with a sharper front end. Its electric folding hard top means it offers better all-weather refinement than most soft-top convertibles, but it's quite dull to drive. This is partly due to the fact that the Volvo C70 is heavy, and although it comes with Volvo's largest petrol and diesel engines, it can’t match rivals like the BMW 3-Series Convertible or Audi A5 Cabriolet for prestige or driver appeal.