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February 11, 2014

Viva Volvo Las Vegas: Notes from Volvo's 2015 S60 Drive-E Reveal

2015_Volvo_S60_Las_Vegas-frontviewFront Page News:  The Volvo Car Group is undertaking an $11 billion strategy to boost the Swedish automaker’s position in the global marketplace.

New for 2014: The Swedish company just revealed a trio of 2015 Volvo 60-series models with the new Drive-E powertrains.  The trio consists of the V60 station wagon, S60 sedan, and XC60 crossover.

The skinny? In what's noted as the largest refresh in the company’s history, the four-cylinder lightweight, low-emission engines were developed in Sweden and will be implemented on each new model that Volvo rolls out in the near future.

2015_Volvo_S60_Las_Vegas_rearviewVolvo's V-8 engine is extinct: At the recent reveal in Las Vegas, Bodil Eriksson, new Executive Vice President Volvo Cars North America, remarked, “Intelligent engines will turn V8 engines into dinosaurs.” 
Yes, we saw that coming! The four-cylinder engines are smaller and lighter by almost 100 pounds (on the higher performance model). Volvo is offering two versions: a 302-horsepower turbo- and supercharged T6 maps a mpg of 24 city / 35 highway. Meanwhile, the 240-horsepower turbocharged T5 chills at 25 city / 37 highway. Furthermore, the engines are prepped for future electrification.  (The first model to offer this combo will be the all-new Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid).

Holly & VolvoWhat women will like: #1 I find that, for the most part, women like Volvo for both its wholesome philosophy and safe cars. The new engine adds a lot of punch to the drive.
#2 Bodil Eriksson, the new Executive VP for Volvo, is a hip, approachable woman who has been with Volvo since the late 90s. 
#3 Lastly, there were three Volvos to review so the goods were split between me, Brandy Schaffels (Chief Editor, and Sue Mead (writer). You’ll get a different voice for each vehicle!

 My drive: The S60 T6 sedan. It was given a refresh inside and out for 2014. What’s new for 2015 is Drive- E engine.

The outside: Viewed as the “Volvo with an attitude," the four-door coupe has a slim roofline and sculpted shoulders with LED lighting technology that creates distinctive light streams in the front and rear.

Volvo Las Vegas A
On the inside: What we respect about the quintessentially Swedish Volvo is its refined simplicity. The cabin feels airy and cozy at the same time. A floating center stack that houses the controls has a pass through behind it that holds everything from cell phones to purses. The seats are designed like Swedish furniture--functional yet beautifully simple--and molded to fit your back.

Safety:  Pedestrian and blind spot protection with a full auto brake blind spot has been upgraded along with all of the other safety software. 
The new lane departure available on the S60 and V60 uses a forward looking camera to keep the driver in their lane. The system applies torque (pressure) to the steering wheel to guide the car back into the lane.

City Safety, Volvo’s low-speed collision-avoidance technology that debuted on the 2010 Volvo XC60, is now standard and works up to 31 mph. The camera-based system can detect pedestrians in front of the car, warn the driver if anyone walks out into its path and then automatically activate the S60’s full braking power if the driver fails to respond in time. Another system for cyclist detection brakes automatically if a cyclist swerves in front of the car.

The Blind Spot Information center is now radar-based. The system can monitor and alert the driver to rapidly approaching vehicles behind the car, as well as blind spots on both sides.

Volvo Las Vegas BVolvo’s future: Volvo has been at the vanguard of vehicle safety since their introduction of the first three-point seat belts in 1959. And like every other car company, Volvo is positioning itself for autonomy.

“Time is probably our biggest challenge,” Joe Haslem, Brand Manager for Volvo’s Drive-E trio, stated. “We’re all talking about power and efficiency but we need to simplify; we need to work on connectivity and still make it fun to drive.”

To that end, Volvo just signed an agreement with the Swedish city of Gothenburg. The goal is to have 100 autonomous cars in the metropolis for 2017.


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