Grinding Gears Top 5 Rides of 2017

There are hundreds of new cars, trucks, and SUVs for consumers to choose from when purchasing a new vehicle. I do my best to evaluate as many of them each year and this can be a daunting task. Of the vehicles reviewed this past calendar year, here is a listing of my five favorites.

2017 Volvo XC90: Flagship for a Generation

The year is 2002, and North America is invaded by the Swedes. Volvo, to be more precise, and its all-new XC90 sport ute. That vehicle won every major automotive honor and caused many to rewrite the rulebooks – it even won Truck of Texas. We recently got to spend time with the 2017 Volvo XC90, and it’s still a winner.

2017 Volvo S90: The New Viking Flagship

I fibbed…a little. In my opening remarks in the last auto review, I stated that was my final rerun review for a while. Turns out, THIS is my last rerun review for a while. It is not a rerun for moi, but a rerun for GearDiary readers – the 2017 Volvo S90 sedan.

2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country: The Station Wagon Transformed

A few months ago we introduced you to a few new midsize vehicles from the Volvo portfolio, namely the S60 Inscription and Cross Country sedans and the V60 Cross Country wagon. The sedans were all new at that time while the V60 actually snuck in here midway through last model year, and recently we spent some more time in it.

Volvo: Proving the 60s Are Alive and Well!

This week was all about the 60s. Volvo Cars of North America is preparing to celebrate 60 years of bringing it’s Swedish-born vehicles to this continent. As part of the festivities the automaker is delivering some new 2016 models on the 60-series line–namely, the S60 Inscription sedan, the S60 Cross Country sedan, and the V60 Cross Country wagon.

2015.5 Volvo S60 and XC60 Get All Tech’d Out

Volvo again? It certainly seems I am on Volvo’s preferred reviewers list or something as the brand populates this test driveway quite often. In the past year or so I reviewed all the new models of the automaker’s middle class in the form of S60, V60 and XC60 and now I add to that 2015.5 versions of S60 and XC60.

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E Sport Wagon

The midsize S60 sedan from Volvo has become one of my favorite new vehicles over the past few years. Bolstering this middle segment from the Swedish automaker was also sibling crossover XC60. For 2015 Volvo V60 T5 brings a new sport wagon to the center of its lineup in the form of the V60 and it is quickly gaining favor.

2014 Volvo XC60 R-Design Polestar Puts the Sport in Sport Utility Vehicle

As most have probably already learned, there is very little sport in sport utility vehicles. Generally they lean much heavier to the utility side of the equation. Unless you are the new Volvo XC60 R-Design with Polestar package and that is exactly what Volvo recently sent us. Sport…Utility…Vee-hickle – a midsize luxury SUV with a real emphasis on sport.

Apple Announces CarPlay – a Smarter, Safer Way to Use Your iPhone in the Car

Apple announces CarPlay which makes extensive of their Siri voice control software to control your iPhone 5 (or higher) while driving. Available on select cars (initially Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, and Ferrari) in 2014, the system will allow hands-free control of your iPhone and important apps such as phone, music, maps, messages as well as select third-party apps.

More Debuts in Detroit at NAIAS

As media days for the 2014 North American International Auto Show come to a close, Detroit prepares for the onslaught of visitors to the show that is boasting some 50 concept and new model debuts from automakers. Before the doors open to the public in Motor City Jan. 18-26 we bring you a photographic look at the rest of what was debuted this year.

2014 Volvo S60 is Solid Midsize Sedan Upgraded

It has been no secret that in recent years, Volvo has become a favorite brand of mine and the S60 sedan has been a car I have really enjoyed driving. To be fair, Volvo has usually delivered something in an R-Design package but recently I was able to test the entry midsize offering and was not disappointed.

A Fond (and Fun) Farewell for the 2013 Volvo C30

Hot Hatches – boy, how I love ‘em, whether it’s the celebrated green chile pepper from New Mexico or a cool baby wagon from an automaker such as Audi, Mazda or Volvo. Unfortunately we have to bid farewell to one of them, the Volvo C30. C30 is the baby in the Volvo lineup here in the States. It was launched in 2006 to give Germany a run for its money in the premium sport hatch segment. It’s my guess that during development Volvo engineers nicknamed the C30 “Jack,” as in “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.” It certainly is. But…

2013 Volvo S60 R-Design AWD

When looking back on cars I have driven this year there are a few that resonate driving enjoyment and would be nameplates I would like to see in my own driveway permanently. One of the biggest surprises was a Volvo – yes, I said Volvo. The S60 sedan, delivered to me in funky Rebel Blue R-Design form, stood out enough to best the likes of BMW 3-series’ and Infiniti G. And while delivering one of the best-looking products in quite a long time, safety does not take a back seat with the new model. As Volvo has slowly evolved its…

Volvo Testing New Fast Charging System for EVs

Those of you disappointed with how long it takes to recharge your new electric or plug-in vehicle, relief may be right around the corner. The Volvo Car Corporation has announced it is testing a new “fast-charger” for electric cars that will significantly cut recharging times to a stunning 1.5 hours, some six times faster than units currently in use in EVs on the road today. The new charger is going to be installed and tested on a number of Volvo C30 electrics and utilizes a three-phase outlet with 32A to charge fully in the 90 minutes or deliver 80 km…

Slacklining Courtesy of Volvo and Adrenaline

Volvo cars may be known for being “boxy but good”, but I think their trucks need a better slogan…”boxy but stable enough to slackline across”? It’s a mouthful. Amazing, right? There is balance, grace, athleticism and courage, and then there is the mondo serving of all of the above that you need to walk a rope between two speeding trucks. That are about to go through two tunnels. And that will turn you into roadkill if you aren’t all the way across. Crazy! Via The Clymb

2011 Volvo S60 AWD Best Yet

When looking back on the list of cars I have driven this year there are a few that resonate driving enjoyment and would be nameplates I would like to see in my own driveway permanently. One of the biggest surprises was a Volvo – yes, I said Volvo. The new S60 sedan, delivered to me in All-Wheel Drive form, stood out enough to best the likes of BMW 3-series’ and Infiniti G. And while delivering one of the best-looking products in quite a long time, safety does not take a back seat with the new model. As Volvo has slowly…

What Would Santa Drive?

I began this annual ditty around the turn of the century and I find that I enjoy revisiting it each year as the world is buried neck-deep in the (commercial) spirit of the season. Looks like Santa’s load will be a bit heavier this year as early numbers indicate a bit more cheer in the air online and at the register. And the big guy will need to remember to bring along much needed accessories as wish lists are undoubtedly a bit tech-heavy this season. Right of the top I am going to disappoint a certain segment. Santa will NOT…

Volvo C70 Rocks the ‘Wow’ Factor

All photos courtesy Volvo A Volvo with “wow” factor and, dare I say it, sex appeal? One does not normally associate the three-letter expression of excitement and surprise with a Volvo vehicle but the C70 hardtop convertible coupe is changing all that. Re-introduced a few years back and refreshed last year, the latest C70 is built on a smaller platform than its predecessor, sharing the global Ford/Mazda/Volvo small car underpinnings found in the Mazda3, European Focus and Volvo S40 and V50. This is my favorite compact platform and I enjoy the smooth, sporty driving experience it offers. This same experience…

Grinding Gears top nine from 2009

This past calendar year has been an active one in the automotive industry. The federal government moved in to assist two of Detroit’s brands survive into the new year. We saw severe budget cuts, inventory and dealership reductions, reorganizations and a renewed push towards a “greener” future. As we prepare for 2010, much is still the same. Politicians are still politicians, we still have loved ones defending the world on foreign soil and consumers are still buying cars and trucks. Before the world turns the calendar to the “green teens,” here is a look back at some highlights – my…