Volvo XC90 earns Top Safety Pick PLUS

2014 Volvo XC 90

2014 Volvo XC 90

BY GERRY MILES

There’s not been much news at Volvo since Irv Gordon passed the three million mile mark in his vaunted P1800 this summer.  The new models are mainly refreshed and with the promise of new power trains and such on the way, this may amount to a large yawn – since Volvo is as synonymous with safety as some golden arches are with hamburgers – it would be more remarkable if they didn’t receive a top safety listing.

That preamble said, or typed, the 2014 Volvo XC90 luxury SUV earned a TOP SAFETY PICK+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Institute’s top safety award.

To earn TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must pass a series of crashworthiness evaluations, including the small overlap front test — a real-life scenario that replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object.

In its evaluation of the XC90’s performance, IIHS noted:

  • Good structural performance in the small overlap front test
  • Low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of high severity
  • Side torso and side curtain airbags both deployed.

“The XC90’s structural performance was good in the small overlap front test, and the driver’s space was maintained well,” said IIHS in a released statement. “While many vehicles have had to undergo significant structural changes to earn good ratings in the small overlap test, the XC90 has had the same basic platform since 2003.”

An all-new XC90 will debut at the end of 2014 and go on sale in 2015. 

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Is Irv Gordon Volvo’s 3 million mile version of Peggy Lee?

Irv Gordon and his 1966 Volvo P1800

Irv Gordon and his 1966 Volvo P1800

BY GERRY MILES

Good for Irv Gordon.

Good for Volvo.

Good for all who have ever owned, driven, liked and for those especially survived a crash – and death-defying in the case of several friends several times – who have walked away with nary a scratch.

Yet for all of Gordon’s news of longevity with a fastidiousness to his near-maniacal mechanic maintenance, there’s no there “there” for the 2014 Volvo line.

Sure there’s plenty of safety stuff that I’ve written before on. The electronics will surely save the lives of both motorist(s), bicyclists and pedestrians alike. There’s so many distractions to driving today the connectivity we crave drives us – almost – crazy. No pun intended.

Yet Gordon – and I’ve seen, met and liked him immediately – and his P1800 are Volvo’s best stories for the upcoming model year. Or am I missing something?

I’ve read the Gordon legends about stopping at Waffle House for coffee but he’s never even had one.

He even likes New Hampshire’s road and their drivers. (He made no live free or die statement, smart man that he is).

Yet Irv made his achievement in Alaska, near Turnagain Arm, (a place I’ve been years ago), perhaps to be near his “turning the odo over again” and not in any place near the dealership in New York where he bought the P1800. For some reason, I thought he’d get close to the 3,000,000-mile mark and then go ’round the block or cross a finish line in Manhattan before doing talk show gigs on the morning TV shows, Kelly and Mike and more.

Volvo’s hired PR guns had tweets, fans post their pictures, all good, but now that it’s over I have to wonder, what else is there for the new model year’s excitement?

As Peggy Lee asked in a song, “Is that all there is?”

How Swede it is to Tweet with Volvo man Irv Gordon Aug. 27

Irv_Gordon_SwedeSpeak

BY GERRY MILES

While he nears the 3-million mile mark on his treasured 1966 Volvo P1800, the Swedish car maker posted on its blog that their monthly Twitter chat on August 27 will feature Irv Gordon from 2-3 EST.

Volvo would like to get some good great questions ahead of time from their blog followers.

Of course, you can follow it live via Twitter and ask Irv whatever – within reason – you’d like to ask the 3-million-mile man: (http://www.twitter.com/Volvocarsus). Use the hashtag #SwedeSpeak

Skol!

Volvo’s 2014 model pricing announced

2014 Volvo S 60

2014 Volvo S 60

New U.S. Volvo lineup features design enhancements, adaptive digital TFT display, new safety features, including cyclist detection

BY GERRY MILES

In Volvo’s own words, there are many model renewals for the 2014 year … that’s code for exterior freshenings, changing the styling on the outside and tweaking a few things on the inside. Adaptive digital TFT display as well as pedestrian/cyclist detection systems – another hook for Volvo’s vaunted safety connections are worthwhile additions.

Volvo offers but three engines in a move to simplify things, unless you’re angling for the more powerful R-Design and you get 325 hp under the hood.

Truthfully, the most erstwhile news Volvo has going for it right now is the assault on the 3,000,000-mile mark of Irv Gordon in his 1966 P1800 within the next few weeks.

The bones of the Volvo press release follow below:

 

2014 models arrive with new designs, upgraded features and new support systems. Volvo’s engine roster includes:

  • the 250 horsepower T5
  • 3.2-liter, 240 hp, naturally aspirated 6-cylinder
  • turbocharged T6 at 300 horsepower.
  • R-Design’s 3.0-liter, 325 hp, turbocharged 6-cylinder, owns 354 lb.-ft. of torque.

Bolder Design Features Across Lineup

The front of the S60 has been redesigned sporting all-new exterior panels from the A-pillars forward including a new hood, front fenders and fascia. A wider grille with a larger Ironmark is flanked by new headlights while a larger, wider lower front intake gains bright accents and horizontally mounted LED daytime running lights. New LED light guides on the taillights and new integrated exhaust pipes can be found.

The 2014 S60 lineup starts at $32,400 for the front-drive T5, while the T6 AWD lists for $39,250. AWD with Instant Traction is again available on the value-leading S60 T5 and can be added as a stand-alone option, with a price unchanged from 2013 at $2,000. A new sport package comprising sport seats, paddle shifters, 18-inch titania alloy wheels and dynamic chassis is standard on the T6 AWD and optional on the T5. The S60 T6 R-Design starts at $42,700.

For the XC60, changes begin on the outside, where the popular crossover sports a new hood, front fenders and fascia that emphasize a wider and more confident appearance. Redesigned headlights flank a bold new grille sporting a larger Volvo Ironmark. These significant exterior design changes emphasize the dynamic, capable nature of the XC60. With careful attention to detail, the designers have increased the XC60’s road presence. The popular XC60 crossover starts at $34,850 in 3.2 FWD and the T6 AWD starts at $39,250. The XC60 R-Design starts at $45,800.

Volvo brings the XC70 into sharper focus with redesigned front and rear styling, including a new grille with a bolder, wider proportion, a larger Iron mark and LED daytime running lights, updated front and rear matte silver décor trim, rear skid plate décor and new taillight design. This bolder XC70 starts out at $34,500 in 3.2 FWD and $40,950 in T6 AWD. Among the more interesting safety features on the XC70 are the dual, fully integrated booster seats in the rear seating area. They are height adjustable, so they adapt as a child grows. What’s more, they look like normal seats.

Changes to the S80 begin on the outside, with a new front fascia incorporating a new grille design with larger Volvo Ironmark and grille pattern. Below the new bumper, a redesigned lower front intake stretches the visual width of the car to create a bolder, wider horizontal stance. New LED daytime running lights are positioned at the outer edges of the intake while the headlights also receive a new look. Following up at the rear is a redesigned bumper and new taillight design sporting LED graphics. S80 starts at $39,900 in 3.2 FWD and $43,950 in T6 AWD. Dressed in optional Inscription package, featuring Sovereign Hide soft leather, ventilated front seats and branded interior touches, the T6 AWD with Inscription represents Volvo’s most luxurious offering.

With standard seating for seven, versatile cargo solutions, extensive safety features and a choice of front and optional all-wheel drive with Instant Traction, the XC90 remains an outstanding value. All XC90s are equipped with Roll Stability Control (RSC); Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC); Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) with side airbags and Inflatable Curtains for all three rows. XC90 starts at $39,700 in 3.2 FWD.

New Instrument Cluster Offers Driver Choice

Select models get a new Adaptive Digital TFT Display instrument cluster that allows drivers to choose between three themes with different configurations and functionality:

  • Elegance has a traditional appearance with a large, circular speedometer bordered by secondary displays.
  • Eco features green background illumination with an Eco meter displayed on the left.
  • Performance has red background illumination for a more dynamic look. A tachometer replaces the speedometer while vehicle speed is shown digitally. The right display includes a power meter gauge that informs the driver how much power is available and how much is being used at any given moment.

In the R-Design versions, the Elegance theme boasts unique blue instrument dials.

Paddle Shifters, Quicker acceleration with Advanced Quick Shift

New paddle shifters will be offered – standard on most T6 AWD and R-Design models and available on T5 – letting the driver shift manually with both hands on the steering wheel. Coupled with Advanced Quick Shift (AQS), transmission optimization software that improves the speed of each gear change, acceleration also improves, increasing the vehicle’s performance potential.

AQS is now available on all T6 engines and activated when the transmission is set to sport mode or when using paddle shifters. Gear changes are faster for models equipped with AQS – as much as 50 percent between first and second, and as much as 30 percent on gear changes two through six.

This bolsters the sporty impression of the T6 and also produces fantastic acceleration results. Zero to 60 improves 0.2 seconds on the S60 T6 R-Design – from 5.5 to 5.3 on model year 2014 with AQS – while the XC60 T6 R-Design sprints 0.4 seconds faster – 6.6 to 6.2 seconds on model year 2014 with AQS – compared to model year 2013.

Trim Levels Offer Customer Flexibility, New Features Reflect Safety Leadership

As in the past, each trim level contains previously available optional equipment that has been grouped together based on historical customer preference for pairing of specific features. Three trim levels, Premier, Premier Plus and Platinum builds upon the previous. Each model remains available without the new trim levels. Customers retain the flexibility to select stand-alone option packages as well as single options.

Key safety features debut on the MY14 lineup, including Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake and Cross Traffic Alert.* In certain circumstances, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake helps the driver avoid collisions with pedestrians or cyclists. It is part of the Technology Package, priced $600 less than last year at $1,500.

A new radar-based Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)* also debuts for MY14. It uses sophisticated upgrades to monitor and alert the driver to rapidly approaching vehicles behind the car, while still informing the driver about vehicles in the blind spots on both sides of the car. Cross Traffic Alert is a new feature for MY14 that uses the radar sensors at the rear end of the car to alert the driver to crossing traffic from the sides when reversing out of a parking space. This is especially helpful in tight and crowded areas where the side view may be restricted.

New Volvos get warranty coverage for 4 years/50,000 miles, as well as free, factory-scheduled maintenance at 10,000 miles, 20,000 miles and 30,000 miles.

* On S60 and XC60 only.

Model

MSRP

S60

S60 T5

$32,400

S60T5 Premier

$34,900

S60T5 Premier Plus

$35,500

S60T5 Platinum

$38,250

S60 T6 AWD

$39,250

S60 T6 Premier Plus

$39,900

S60 T6 Platinum

$42,600

S60 T6 R-Design AWD

$42,700

S60 T6 RD Platinum

$45,700

S80

S80 3.2 FWD

$39,900

S80 3.2 Premier Plus

$41,400

S80 3.2 Platinum

$44,100

S80 T6 AWD

$43,950

S80 T6 Premier Plus

$45,450

S80 T6 Platinum

$48,150

XC70

XC70 3.2 FWD

$34,500

XC70 3.2 Premier

$37,900

XC70 3.2 Premier Plus

$39,450

XC70 3.2 Platinum

$41,950

XC70 T6 AWD

$40,950

XC70 T6 Premier Plus

$42,950

XC70 T6 Platinum

$45,650

XC60

XC60 3.2 FWD

$34,850

XC60 3.2 Premier

$37,950

XC60 3.2 Premier Plus

$39,250

XC60 3.2 Platinum

$41,950

XC60 T6

$41,550

XC60 T6 Premier Plus

$42,850

XC60 T6 Platinum

$45,550

XC60 T6 R-Design AWD

$45,800

XC60 T6 RD Premier Plus

$47,100

XC60 T6 RD Platinum

$49,800

XC90

XC90 3.2 FWD

$39,700

XC90 3.2 Premier Plus

$41,200

XC90 3.2 Platinum

$43,900

XC90 3.2 R-Design FWD

$42,700

XC90 3.2 RD Platinum

$45,400

Volvo’s Irv Gordon: New Hampshire drivers are most friendly in US and other things after 3 million miles of seat time

Irv Gordon and his 1966 Volvo P1800

Irv Gordon and his 1966 Volvo P1800

BY GERRY MILES

OK, first things first these days seems to be issuing a fair and balanced disclaimer when you like something. Here goes: I’ve met Irv Gordon, sat in his P1800 (but never drove it) and I live in New Hampshire. And, I write about cars…a lot.

So when his list came about with his favorite places to eat, nicest drivers, cleanest restrooms and the like, I read it. I love lists … any “Top 10 _______” always draws interest and the resulting insults and how could you like X when you know Y is so much better. They make great water cooler fodder if not make it easy for a columnist on a hot day to type up the requisite 750 words to fill space.

Imagine my surprise when I read that Irv, who is closing in on driving 3 million miles in his beloved Volvo P1800 noted that New Hampshire drivers were the friendliest.

“New Hampshire has the friendliest drivers,” said Gordon. “I’m well out of New York’s busy highways by then, and it seems like I leave the stress at the state line. Drivers are courteous. They’ll switch lanes with their turn signals, let me merge, and even wave at me. It’s just a friendly, beautiful state.”

While that seems to be genuinely true, I wonder if he’s shot down 93 into Salem, NH near the Mass. line and would offer an opinion at that crossover?

WIthout further fanfare, here are some of Gordon’s favorites that he’s noted in some 47 years of experiencing culture, food and the like. And, another disclaimer is involved, this time by Gordon, he omitted his home state of New York to be objective. How can you just not like this guy, the car and his quest?

  • Favorite state for juicy steaks: “Missouri. There are a couple of steakhouses just off of I-70 heading toward Kansas that have the thickest, juiciest steaks.”
  • Cleanest restrooms: “Rest stops and welcome centers are always better than gas stations and fast-food restaurants. I’ve always thought the Southern states — particularly Virginia, the Carolinas, Alabama and Mississippi — had the nicest rest stops.”
  • Steepest roadways: “The longest and steepest drive was Priest’s Grade in California, heading up to Groveland and the entrance to Yosemite National Park. Jugs of water are waiting at every turn due to the number of cars that overheat on this scenic and remote road.”
  • Best southern cooking: “New Orleans. The jambalaya is authentic and spicy.”
  • Best clam chowder: “Cape Cod. They use lots of melted butter, corn and potatoes. I worked four summers in Cape Cod during college, so I’m a bit prejudiced.”
  • Best state barbecue: “The style and taste of barbecue varies state-to-state, but with Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis each offering their distinct flavors, Tennessee has the overall best barbecue. And, among the Tennessee versions, Memphis is tops.”
  • Smoothest rush-hour traffic: “There are no big cities with smooth rush-hour traffic, but if I had to name one city as the ‘least worst,’ it would be Portland, Ore. Their traffic flow seems to be in fairly good order there.”
  • Best city to drive through at night: “Chicago. It’s so jammed during the day, so you never appreciate the beauty of that city by the lake. At night, the Midwest skies are clear and the city looks like a portrait. Minneapolis is not as big, but it’s a close second.”
  • Favorite small town: “Green River, Wyo. It’s an isolated town, off I-80 on the way to San Francisco. Every time I make that drive, I always stop there. I don’t know anyone in Green River, but the people are extremely friendly and the town seems like a wonderful place to live.”
  • Best cup of coffee: “Nothing gets my blood going like an early morning visit to any roadside Waffle House for a cup of coffee, although I’ve never had a waffle there.”
  • Best interstate view of the Rocky Mountains: “There are so many options, but the I-70 drive between Denver and Grand Junction leaves a lasting impression in my mind.”
  • Best part of the Pacific Coast Highway: “The northern California stretch, after you’re out of the big cities and the road starts to get rough and windy. There are no traffic lights, just curves and waves breaking against the coves below.”
Irv Gordon reflects upon places and the spaces he's driven in the USA.

Irv Gordon reflects upon places and the spaces he’s driven in the USA.

Irv Gordon: Driven to see the world in his Volvo P1800

  • Long Island Man’s Volvo Will Reach Three Million Miles in 2013
  • Record-Breaking Driver of a 1966 Volvo P1800, Aims to Reach Ultimate Driving Milestone
  • Visit www.3MillionReasons.com to Submit Your Reason to Believe
 BY GERRY MILES

If you’ve never met Irv Gordon, the million-mile driver, it’d be hard to believe that anyone

Irv Gordon

Irv Gordon

who has had a car since shortly after the Beatles played Shea Stadium in 1964, is in the same set of wheels and traveling the country and the world in a landmark Volvo.

To see the car and experience his down-home, aw-shucks kind of attitude, reinforces the press releases that speak of his easy-going nature and love of, well, just driving his Volvo that he bought in 1966. According to calculations, Gordon’s P1800 should crest 3,000,000 miles sometime this year.

To highlight the car and its heritage, as well as Gordon’s documented love affair of the P1800 and the Swedish car, Volvo Cars of North America (VCNA) is bringing the nation along for the journey with a special campaign in the months ahead.

The curious or auto aficionado can visit 3MillionReasons.com for additional information about Gordon’s story and a map and image gallery from his road trips. Utilziing today’s vast social media, lovers of all things Volvo are encouraged to submit their own reason to believe.

Irv Gordon's P1800 in front of the famous Hollywood sign in California...many miles ago.

Irv Gordon’s P1800 in front of the famous Hollywood sign in California…many miles ago.

“It’s not about getting to the three million miles; it’s about the trips that got me to the three million miles,” Gordon said. “I never had a goal to get to one million, to two million. I just enjoyed driving and experiencing life through my Volvo.

“The best way to explore America is by car,” Gordon added. “I challenge everyone to go out and see as much as possible. Find your own journey and reason to believe because you only have one life to live. No matter how many roads I’ve been on, there’s always one I haven’t taken. That’s what makes it exciting.”

Gordon, a 73-year-old retired science teacher from Patchogue, N.Y., holds theGuinness Book of World Records recognition for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle, and has driven more than 2.99 million miles in his shiny red Volvo.

“I bought my Volvo P1800 on a Friday, and immediately fell in love,” Gordon recalled. “I couldn’t stop driving the car. It was a long holiday weekend, and I brought the car back to the dealership the following Monday for its 1,500-mile service.”

With a 125-mile round-trip daily commute, a fanatical dedication to vehicle maintenance and a passion for driving, Gordon logged 500,000 miles in 10 years.

One reason for the car’s longevity is credited to the same Volvo tech doing the maintenance work for over 15 years. Nino Gambino, a technician with an “A” rating at Volvoville in Huntington, N.Y., the same dealership where Gordon purchased his car in 1966, said, “Because Irv follows the owner’s manual and truly cares for and loves his car, I have no doubt he’ll reach three million. Irv always says he takes better care of the car than himself! And he’s fun to ride with on trips because you don’t need a map.”

Irv Gordon has the "Highest Car Mileage". It's a 1966 Volvo P-1800. He is in the Guinness Book of Records. Photo: Thomas Engstrom

In 1998 with 1.69 million miles, Gordon made the Guinness Book of World Records for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle. In 2002, he drove the car’s two-millionth mile down Times Square to international media attention. For more information on Gordon’s journey, visit 3millionreasons.com/timeline.

As Gordon points his car to its three-millionth mile, “I’m realizing this will be a record that no one will surpass,” he said. “So, these next few thousands of miles will be special and sentimental for me. I’m looking forward to visiting my favorite places in big, beautiful America – from national parks to roadside cafes, from the Pacific Coast Highway to small roads that are miles from the Interstate. Send me an invite and maybe I’ll meet you for a cup of coffee.”

Based on his calculations, Gordon plans to reach three million miles in Alaska this September. America’s last frontier is one of two U.S. states Gordon has never visited and a fitting backdrop for his three million mile moment.

“For every mile Irv has logged in his Volvo, there have been just as many reasons why he’s been able to do it – from his meticulous care, on-schedule oil changes and his safe driving practices – all the way to Volvo’s legendary attention to engineering,” said John Maloney, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. “A distant predecessor to today’s models, the Volvo P1800 and Irv are the living embodiment that Volvos are enduring and designed around you. We look forward to following him on this journey, and finding ways to bring our customers and car enthusiasts everywhere along for the ride.”

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