Thirty years ago Volvo produced pretty average cars, both solid and reliable and the sort of car that would be driven by an assistant bank manager.
Sales were about average but nothing spectacular happened. Back in 1990 – the year of the H plate – Volvo’s sales were dominated by its 740/760 and 940/960 saloon and estate car ranges, along with the style-setting 480 hatchback.
The company was pushed from pillar to post as it was bought and then sold until the Chinese moved in and turned Volvo into one of the best car manufacturers in the world.
They now have a comprehensively renewed model range, both distinctive and contemporary designs, industry-leading safety and innovative technology which have now made Volvo a stand-out brand, where it remains one of the fastest-growing car manufacturers.
Bit by bit they have just got better and better and are able to challenge the German mafia in the guise of Mercedes, BMW and Audi.
Volvo Car UK recorded its best sales for 29 years in 2019, increasing their UK market share from 2.13 to 2.43% with 56,208 vehicles leaving their showrooms and the car is now being driven by the bank managers rather than just the assistants.
Volvo’s impressive 12% increase on their 2018 performance is set against a challenging market where overall sales dropped by more than 2% and the current Coronavirus is going to be another threat to the car market. Worldwide a total of 705,452 cars were sold, up nearly 10% on 2018’s achievement of 642,253 sales.
On the Volvo front it is the SUVs which are by far the most popular models. By contrast, the top-seller in 2019 was the compact XC40. The winner of multiple awards since its introduction in 2017, it amassed 15,445 sales in the past year.
The larger XC60 also had a five-figure total, with 11,766 sold, while the V40 hatchback took third place in the UK sales rankings with 8,337 units.
But there is their new saloon the S60 which is a cracker.
As Volvo winds down on the diesel front you can only get a petrol S60 version or hybrid with will give you considerably low CO2 emissions
The two litre petrol gives you 0-62mph in under seven seconds and a top speed of just over 120mph. Surprisingly the hybrid is even faster on the acceleration front. There is an eight speed automatic box as standard. You should be easily get around 40 miles to the gallon.
Prices start at £38,000 going through to the top of the range which is just short of £50,000. There are about 30 different variations.
The S60 is like all the other Volvos a comfortable ride, perhaps a tad harsh, but it handles well and has great steering.
All S60s have full LED headlights which point in the direction you are turning the steering wheel and the driver’s seat has a good back support for a good driving position. Visibility is excellent from all seats.
The S60 has the 9.0in touchscreen which when you get to understand properly is a driving bonus and a great driving assistance. All of the models have sat nav and DAB radio and the top of the range gives you Apple CarPlay and Android Audio smartphone mirroring.
Volvo’s central interface, Sensus, puts you in control of a wealth of advanced technologies; with its intuitive approach it makes the way that you interact with your Volvo so easy and natural. Sensus gives you all the information you need, when you need it, whilst connecting you to the world around you, making sure that when you are on the road you are never offline. Volvo’s reputation as leader in safety continues with its new models, offering a range of technologies designed to support your daily drive. Known as Intellisafe, these technologies prevent accidents and protect you, helping to accomplish our vision that by this year, nobody shall be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.
Volvo’s undeniable appeal further fuels demand for pre-owned vehicles, with the Volvo Selekt Approved Used Car service recording its best-ever annual sales performance. More than 33,000 Volvo Selekt Approved Used Cars were sold in 2019, an increase of 13% on 2018’s figures and the third consecutive year of growth.