Tag Archives: Volvo

Local Unveiling – The Fisker Karma Comes to Minneapolis

This Thursday the up coming Fisker Karma sedan will have its local unveiling.  The sedan will be shown to the public at Borton Volvo which will be the Twin Cities only Fisker dealership.

Quick run down –

WHO: Created by acclaimed Danish designer Henrik Fisker,  who also designed the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB8,  the Fisker Karma combines plug-in hybrid technology with stunning design and sports car performance.

WHEN: Thursday, June 10, 2010 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Borton Volvo/Fisker, 905 Hampshire Ave. S., Golden Valley, MN 55426


  • Combines world-class luxury and sports car-like performance with industry-leading economy and zero tailpipe emissions in electric mode.
  • With 403 hp, it can reach 60 mph in six seconds and a top speed of 125 mph.
  • Achieves more than 100 mpg.
  • Lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in as little as eight hours from any electrical outlet.
  • A gasoline generator provides electric propulsion when the battery is low

Cars & Café – June 5, 2010

Another month means another gathering for Cars & Café out at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen.  As I woke up at 5:50 am to get ready and then hop into the 300ZX, I looked out the window to see rain coming down.  I instantly decided taking the 300ZX was not happening – not this month.

By no means did this mean I was not going, rather I just did not feel like taking the 300ZX out in the rain.  I went back to bed, because the reality is if you do not plan on showing a car, getting to the AutoMotorPlex ridiculously early is not a huge deal.  After getting a little more sleep, I found myself pulling into the event at 9 am.  Things were already hopping.  There was a line of cars still flowing into the complex, although a few Porsches were actually leaving.  As I was walking down the hill, a Carver County Sheriff pulled in and asked if he could show his car (jokingly of course).  Gotta love the panther cars!

The fact that the weather was not amazing did not stop car lovers and onlookers alike from flowing in and filling up the AutoMotorPlex.  In fact, certain cars ended up being turned away to park at the top of the hill due to the sections filling up.  Notably missing (at least I did not see it) was the Scion XB with the taped on LED strips to the headlights.  I also did not see the 240SX with the zip tied body kit.  That was all fine because the first thing I saw was a black BMW Z8 and I just love that car. The license plate on the Z8 read HOUSPMT, and while I did not meet the owner the car was in great condition.

Other notable cars included a terrific looking Saab 900 (I assume a Turbo but it was debadged and the hood was not open).  I was really digging the car – until I saw the rear which has what can only be described as – you know those aftermarket lights that can go on trucks, with four squircles to make it look similar to a Corvette?  Yeah, those!  Anyways, they were um …well ugly compared to the traditional taillights or even some other aftermarket options.  The rest of the car, I lust after.  A very nice R Design Volvo C30 was in attendance with the license plate BORK.  That is just classic.  I really loved the Audi GT Coupe with great blue paint.  A very nice black 300ZX Twin Turbo was there – and while it may be fast its not Uncs Z (that story is coming someday).

A 1964 Volkswagen 1800 convertible was being shown and it was just classic.  A true Michelle Naranjo vehicle if I have ever seen one – she probably dreams of it now that I sent her a picture of it.  Another cool car I had yet to see in the flesh was a Shelby GT500 Super Snake.  Blue with a black and white interior the car was just gorgeous.  Other cool appearances included the VW Bus that been at all three Cars & Café’s so far this year.  I spoke with the owner and he mentioned a new paint job would be coming towards the of the summer.  Sad, because I actually dig the current look.

Overall, the turnout was great.  Even though it rained the lot was packed.  Good times, donuts, coffee and great people – all with a common passion.  Maybe next month we will get sunshine instead of clouds and rain.  Until next month,  heres to good motoring and safe driving.

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 21: “Luxury Like”

Episode 21 starts by introducing this weeks guest, Justin Loyear joining us from Cheers and Gears.  Justin kicked us off by telling us a little about himself along with Cheers and Gears.  Moving into the garage Justin had a Camaro SS recently which  he discussed and I talk about the Silverado 1500 I was in for the past week.  We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

We then proceed to the clip of the week segment.  This week we featured Chryslers new heavy-duty Ram ads.

We continued with our newer section called tweetmeme.  This week we focused on the leaked photos of the upcoming 2012 Ford Explorer.

Next came our main topics.  This week the topics included discussion on the future direction for Cadillac and the possible partnership between Daimler and Renault-Nissan.

Last but certainly not least, we discuss the past week on both of our respective blogs, AutoBird Blog and AccelerateMpls.  The week in review included- my Chevrolet Equinox V6 review and Name That Car: Sebring or 200C?, along with the post on Colin’s blog about Pump Prices.

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AutoBird Podcast – Esp 15: “A better tomorrow?”

Episode 15 starts by introducing our first guest Chris Baccus.  We decided to move discussing the past week on both of our respective blogs, AutoBird Blog and AccelerateMpls to the end of the show. The week in review included- the Minneapolis International Motorcycle Show, my Volvo XC60 Review, First impressions on the new Ford Edge and Colin’s Chicago Auto Show: Thumbs Up/Down.  We move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • Chevrolet Malibu is a great car but sales disappoint?
  • American Top Gear still Lives?
  • Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring may get new names?

We then proceed to the clip of the week segment.  This week we featured the Super Bowl commercial from Dodge – Man’s Last Stand

Last but certainly not least, we discuss our main topics.  This week those topics included the Chicago Auto Show and Toyota’s a better tomorrow.

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Review- 2010 Volvo XC60

Volvo has had an interesting run lately.  Just a few years ago sales were good and profits were actually being made.  Now sales are nothing to brag about and the revenues, well, what revenues?  With the pending sale to Geely, the future is really cloudy but they say that letting Volvo be Volvo will be their plan.  That is definitely a plan, but as that may be, every new Volvo launch better go off without a hitch.  The XC60 is off to a good start as Volvo’s new entrant to the entry level luxury crossover market.  This is a hotly contested arena in which large players are throwing their weight around.  The XC60 is a fresh and dare I say, Swedish approach to this category.

The XC60 slots right between the XC70 and the larger XC90.  The interior is nearly the size of the segment champion, the Lexus RX.  The front is spacious with plenty of head and leg room.  The seats were terrific and the tilt and telescoping steering wheel made finding a comfortable driving position a cinch.  The interior is filled with soft touch materials and the gauges are easy to read.  The button lay out is very similar to other Volvos which is a good thing.  Overall, the interior is easily in the top of its class.

The exterior is typical Volvo with styling that stays with the family but pushes the edges a little. With curvy hips in the rear in place, the front is slightly more aggressive than the current line up.  This front clip is an evolution of the current styling, and we will be seeing these design cues on the 2011 C70 and 2011 S60.  Personally, I am a big fan of the use of light pipes next to the grille.  The fog lights actually provide a good amount of light on the ground, making a noticeable difference when driving at night.

Two engines are available.  The vehicle I was testing was equipped with the base 3.2 liter inline six cylinder putting out 235 hp and 236 ft-lb through the optional all wheel drive.  The optional engine is a 3.0 liter inline six cylinder with a twin-scroll turbo (T6) putting out 281 hp and 295 ft-lb.  Both engines feed the power through a six speed Geartronic transmission.  Geartronic is Volvo’s speak for automatic with self shifting capabilities.  The 3.2 liter is rated at 18/27 mpg while the T6 drops down to a rated 16/22.  I observed an average of 18.2 mpg.  All wheel drive is optional on the 3.2 liter while standard on the 3.0 liter turbo.  The XC60 weighs barely over 4000 lbs which is certainly no light weight.  It is still light when compared to its competitors.  Getting that large mass moving is no small task and the 3.2 liter inline six I was equipped with did its best.  Its best was not good enough to satisfy my urge to get going.  Things were better once started, it was the act of getting underway that took a little longer than I would have liked.  Slamming the gas incurred the vehicle to say, “Oh you want to go now? Ok we will work on that.”  I think the optional T6 engine would be a better choice for me personally.

While the XC60 may not be a canyon carver, it handled itself quite well when it came to quick lane changes.  The mass was kept in check and overall handling was good with less body roll then expected.  This is probably one of the “sportier” handling vehicles in the class.  The steering was not as light as I expected at parking lot speeds but it did feel natural.  On center feel was great while on the highway.  Volvo says the steering is speed dependent.  While I can definitely notice a difference between highway speeds and parking lot speeds, the steering never felt over boosted.

The XC60 comes with some decent technology as standard equipment.  Both bluetooth handsfree for calling and HD radio are standard.  City Safety is the system that can help lessen or completely avoid an impact below 18 mph is standard.  The vehicle I had was by no means loaded but was nicely optioned.  Equipped with the premium package, climate package, convenience package, laminated panoramic sunroof, PCC (Personal Car Communicator), and integrated child booster seats.  Part of that climate package included both heated front and rear seats along with heated windshield washer nozzles.  A rain sensing system is also part of that package.  I did not get to test it due to the lack of rain and abundance of snow.  The convenience package gave me the power operated tail gate along with other niceties.  Oh, and that power tailgate might quite possibly be the loudest power tail gate in the history of power tail gates.  The panoramic sunroof is a crowd pleaser, though I could not test it due to frigid temps and the pile of snow sitting on top of the car.  PCC is pretty cool as a $550 dollar option.  PCC is essentially an advanced keyless remote that has two way communication with your XC60.  When you push the information button on the remote when within 200-300 feet of the car, the remote will “check in” with the car and inform you of the status, including whether the car is locked, unlocked, or a heartbeat is detected inside the car.  If you press the information button outside of the 200-300 foot range, the remote will report the last known status before you went outside of the range.  I have heard strong opinions on the optional navigation unit and will hopefully experience that when I test the T6 model.

Overall, the XC60 is a competent vehicle.  I would definitely rate this high in its class right next to the new Audi Q5.  Gas milage was acceptable with the 3.2 but from the ratings I know that the T6 is thirsty.  Truth be told, I am guessing that is the engine to have in this vehicle since 3.2 is a bit sluggish.  Though I am willing to bet that the general public will accept the 3.2 performance just fine.  In the end, I personally liked the XC60.  It is sportier than the Lexus RX while having almost as much room.  With a starting price of $32,995, the vehicle I was in had a sticker price of $40,645, and for that money you were getting a competent vehicle.  The XC60 is just a few tweaks away from a class leading vehicle.

Full Disclosure- Vehicle was provided for review by a local Volvo dealership.

Ford Finally Sells Volvo

Ford announced yesterday morning that all the major parts of a deal to sell Volvo to Geely have been settled.  They made it clear that details will not be made public yet, but that the deal will be signed in Q1 of 2010 and the sale will be done in Q2.

Many have speculated that Volvo would be sold to Geely and now it is a reality.  Some people seemed concerned about Geely’s resources for the future of Volvo.  When people raised concerns to Ford they responded with “the prospective sale would ensure Volvo has the resources, including the capital investment, necessary to further strengthen the business and build its global franchise.”  Geely is a Chinese car manufacturer and that worries some people as well.  Not known for quality or safety, many question what Geely brings to Volvo.  It seems Volvo brings things for Geely, mainly the safety technology.

With new product just arriving from Volvo (2010 XC60) and more coming soon (new S60) Geely bought Volvo at a decent time.  Some of the model line just received a face lift or is new/coming.  Chinese car companies have not made it into the U.S. and many are afraid this is the beginning to a bad thing.  While that is a valid concern as I mentioned earlier Geely is not known for safety or reliability.  Two things that many car shoppers care about these days.

Twitter was a buzz yesterday morning when the news of the sale hit.  Many Volvo fanatics were angered and saddened.  I even heard some say “There went Volvo.”  We have to examine what happened in a similar situation with Jaguar/Land Rover.  Tata bought the brands from Ford and really did not make many changes.  They liked what planned.  Deciding to take a wait and see approach is not a terrible idea.  So far it has worked for Tata and Jaguar/Land Rover is rolling out refreshed or new product.  Sales are up, and everyone seems to be happy.  If Geely plays things smart, they will let Volvo be themselves and stay somewhat hands off.  If left alone and not interfered with, Volvo could become profitable.

Something to keep in mind about this whole deal is platforms.  Many Fords ride on Volvo platforms.  They share so many, the deal must have clauses in place for platform sharing for at least the foreseeable future until new models arrive.  I assume the platform sharing will cease at in the future.  Other things are shared such as BLIS.  BLIS is Volvo’s blind spot detection system that Volvo developed and uses.  Ford has stated that they intend to work “closely” with Geely in the future.  For how long no one really knows but it can easily be assumed it is because of all the sharing of technology and platforms.

Ford has to be happy right now.  They have no off loaded all the brands in their premier portfolio including Aston Martin, Jaguar/Land Rover, and now Volvo.  They have been trying to sell all of these and have now accomplished just that.  Letting them get the focus back on Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln.

Ford’s press release is below-


DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 23, 2009 – Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] confirmed today that all substantive commercial terms relating to the potential sale of Volvo Car Corporation have been settled between Ford and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited.

While some work still remains to be completed before signing – including final documentation, financing and government approvals – Ford and Geely anticipate that a definitive sale agreement will be signed in the first quarter of 2010, with closing of the sale likely to occur in the second quarter 2010, subject to appropriate regulatory approvals.

The prospective sale would ensure Volvo has the resources, including the capital investment, necessary to further strengthen the business and build its global franchise, while enabling Ford to continue to focus on and implement its core ONE Ford strategy.

While Ford would continue to cooperate with Volvo Cars in several areas after a possible sale, the company does not intend to retain a shareholding in the business post-sale.

More details will be made available once the expected definitive sale agreement is signed in the first quarter of 2010.

AutoBird Podcast Episode 7


This week, episode 7 discusses the week in review on both of our respective blogs, AutoBird Blog and AccelerateMpls.  The first topic is the Volvo XC60 that I drove this past weekend.  Our conversation moved on to the U.S. attacking Japan’s cash for clunkers program.  Next we talk about Volkswagen acquiring 19.9% of Suzuki.  The last topic we cover is the Ford Flex being anointed a future collectible by the National Automotive History Collection though we get a little off topic we have a fun conversation.

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Volvo’s City Safety

volvo-logoVolvo as of late has been on a bender.  Releasing new models and new technology as fast as a small Swedish company can.  Today we are not focusing on the cars rather a new piece of technology that only science can explain.  Many people seem to have a texting/emailing/not paying attention while driving problem.  This is an especially big issue here in the U.S..

Volvo has launched a new safety technology dubbed City Safety.  The new system comes standard on all XC60’s (Volvo’s new midsize SUV).

City Safety essentially attempts to stop the vehicle in the event of an imminent crash.  The system uses an optical radar located behind the rear view mirror mounting.  This optical radar projects forward at a rate of fifty times per second!  If the radar detects another vehicle and the crash is imminent, it will at the last possible second slam on the brakes.  The system only works when traveling between 2-18 mph.  I recently tested this system (see video below) and it worked flawlessly.  I was a little nervous as it had been raining and it was a tad bit chilly.  This made for a somewhat wet and possibly slick surface on the road, but the system worked.  The radar needs to be clean and the viewing path clear of debris.  The wipers actually cover the area when on, keeping the rain from covering it. The system is meant to lessen the amount of accidents in city driving when in heavy traffic. My only question is, what happens when the person behind you is not paying attention when your XC60 suddenly slams the brakes at the last possible second?

Full Disclosure-  The vehicle used in the video was provided by the local Volvo dealership.

AutoBird Podcast Episode 3


This week, episode 3 discusses the week in review on each of our respective blogs.  We discuss the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon I had this past week and the Lexus HS250 hybrid review that posted.  We then discuss announced Buick Regal and new Volvo S60.  We also spend a little time giving a report card on General Motors current financial situation.  We finish by discussing the upcoming Nissan Leaf.

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EuroCars Oktober Fest

2This Saturday EuroCars will be hosting their annual OktoberFest.  They have a few rare cars among their already nice inventory.  Notable cars that will be in the showroom include a Noble M400, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, a tricked out Acura NSX, and an Audi S8 and a Porsche 911 C4S.  Along with these they also carry other European (and Japanese) makes and models that will be on hand and for sale.  More then just cars, this event will have authentic German food, beer, and other assorted beverages.  They will be giving away Minnesota Vikings tickets and car detailing packages during the event.  Attendance is free and I think it will be a good time for all.  Bring the family and take a stroll through the showroom while eating some great food and meeting new people.