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History of Volvo estates

A history of Volvo estate cars

History of Volvo estates

For many years, Volvo estate cars have been synonymous with green wellies, Labradors and the good life. Indeed, a 145 was the choice of wheels for Jerry and Margo in the hit BBC TV series, The Good Life.

So, hot on the heels of the launch of the new V60 Cross Country, we take a nostalgic look back at a history of Volvo estates.

Volvo PV445 Duett – 1953

History of Volvo estates

From 1949 to 1953, the PV445 formed the basis for small lorries, vans and estate cars, all of which were available through independent coachbuilders. In 1953, the PV445 Duett was introduced – a car widely regarded as the godfather of all Volvo estates. It was one of the first Volvos to be exported to the US and was even immortalised on its own Swedish postage stamp.

Volvo P210 Duett – 1960

History of Volvo estates

The P210 Duett was introduced in 1960 and was essentially a continuation of the PV445 Duett. Times were changing, and although the P210 was available as a van or estate, the popularity of coachbuilt special editions was in decline. Production of the P210 continued until 1969, with sales focused on Nordic markets.

Volvo Amazon – 1962

History of Volvo estates

While the P210 enjoyed success in Nordic countries, the P220 – or Amazon – would become Volvo’s international bright young thing. Unlike Volvo estates of old, the Amazon wasn’t based on a delivery van and was more elegant as a result. It was practical, stylish and rather nice to drive.

Volvo 145 – 1967

History of Volvo estates

In 1967, Volvo launched the car that would lay the foundations for one of the most iconic shapes in the automotive world. The 145 was the estate version of the 140 Series and featured a near-vertical tailgate. At launch, the 145 featured a split in the rearmost side window, but this disappeared in 1970.

Volvo 1800 ES – 1971

History of Volvo estates

The 1800 ES was a shooting brake version of the beautiful P1800 coupe. It arrived in 1971 and featured an extended roofline and a profile reminiscent of an estate. Now, 1800 ownership was open to more people, with the ES offering four seats, a sizeable boot and decent levels of performance. Sadly, the 1800 ES died in 1973 – a victim of American safety legislation.

Volvo 245 – 1974

History of Volvo estates

Is this the archetypal Volvo estate car? Absolutely. Launched in 1974, the 245 would live on until 1993, by which time it had cemented itself as the favourite amongst soccer moms and the middle classes. In 1981, the 245 Turbo became one of the fastest estate cars in the world, and the first to be fitted with a turbocharged engine.

Volvo 265 – 1975

History of Volvo estates

The Volvo 265 was the more upmarket version of the 245, fitted with a more powerful six-cylinder engine. It would enjoy a 10-year production life, offered with both 2.6- and 2.8-litre engines.

Volvo 66 – 1975

History of Volvo estates

In the mid-seventies, Volvo took total control of DAF Car BV, and the first car to benefit from the change in ownership was the DAF 66. In 1975, it became the Volvo 66, featuring rear-wheel-drive and the famous Variomatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Volvo VCC – 1980

History of Volvo estates

In 1980, Volvo launched its VCC experimental vehicle. The VCC – or Volvo Concept Car – was built to test concepts in the fields of energy and consumption and was equipped with monitors in place of a traditional dashboard. The VCC was a test bed for the 760, which would arrive in saloon form just two years later.

Volvo 260 – 1983

History of Volvo estates

The Volvo 260 of 1983 was the result of little more than a badge-changing strategy, with the 265 becoming the 260. The Volvo 264 was replaced by the 760 GLE in 1982, but with the estate version still three years off, the five-door 260 estate remained in production until 1985.

Volvo LCP Concept – 1983

History of Volvo estates

If the Volvo LCP 2000 had the whiff of fish and chips, this was no coincidence. The LCP – or Light Component Project – was Volvo’s vision of a lightweight and fuel-efficient car of the new millennium. It was fitted with a choice of engines, including a 1.4-litre unit that could run on rapeseed oil – hence the smell of Britain’s favourite takeaway.

Volvo 740/760 – 1985

History of Volvo estates

The Volvo 760 GLE was powered by a 2.8-litre ‘Douvrin’ engine it shared with Renault and Peugeot, but customers were given the option of four-cylinder turbocharged and six-cylinder diesel units. Unlike Volvos of old, the 4 and 6 in 740 and 760 no longer referred to four- or six-cylinder versions. Instead, the ‘6’ was the more luxurious of the two.

Volvo 940/960 – 1990

History of Volvo estates

The 940 was introduced in 1990 and was – along with the S90/V90 – the last rear-wheel-drive Volvo to be built. The 960 was the more upmarket of the 900 range and was offered with a new aluminium 24-valve six-cylinder engine.

Volvo 850 – 1993

History of Volvo estates

The 850 estate was unveiled in February 1993, two years after the launch of the 850 saloon. This was a significant car for Volvo, not least because it heralded the dawn of a new front-wheel-drive future for the brand. It was the first car in the world to offer a side-impact protection system (SIPS).

Volvo 850 T5-R – 1994

History of Volvo estates

Keen to shake off its staid and dependable image, Volvo turned to Porsche for help. The Stuttgart company assisted with the engine tuning, transmission and interior of the 850 T5-R, helping it to a top speed limited to 155mph. The ultimate Q-car, assuming you didn’t tick the box marked Cream Yellow paint.

Volvo 850 BTCC – 1994

History of Volvo estates

This is without doubt one of the most famous racing cars of all time. The Volvo 850 BTCC car was the first factory-entered racing estate car and it made its debut at Thruxton in April 1994.

Volvo V40 – 1995

History of Volvo estates

The V40 – mechanically identical to the S40 – arrived in 1995. Not to be confused with the current Volvo V40, this was a compact estate car built at the Nedcar factory in the Netherlands. The S40/V40 was actually based on the same platform as the Mitsubishi Carisma, meaning it is also related to the Proton Impian.

Volvo 850R –1996

History of Volvo estates

When it was launched in 1996, the 246hp 850R was the fastest and most powerful Volvo ever produced. Unlike the 850 T5-R, the 850R was not a limited-edition model and it is thought that between 5,000 and 7,000 were actually built. A future classic in the making.

Volvo V70 – 1996

History of Volvo estates

In 1996, the Volvo 850 seamlessly morphed into the V70, retaining its now familiar near-vertical tailgate. It may have been based on the 850, but the V70 spawned a few rather special editions…

Volvo V70 XC – 1997

History of Volvo estates

In 1997, Volvo introduced the X70 XC, which would later become the XC70. Alongside Audi and its Allroad model, Volvo pioneered the premium 4×4 estate car segment, combining the on-road dynamics of an estate with the off-road capabilities of an SUV.

Volvo V70R – 1997

History of Volvo estates
The V70 XC was developed off the back of the all-wheel-drive Volvo V70R. Up to 300hp was available, depending on the model year, with AWD tech successfully managing to harness the potential of that glorious five-cylinder engine. The 90s was a golden decade for fast Volvo wagons.

Volvo V90 – 1997

History of Volvo estates

Although it featured some new interior and exterior colours, the original V90 of 1997 was little more than a badge-engineering exercise, designed to bring the 960 in line with the new model-name strategy. Just over 9,000 of these six-cylinder estate cars were built between 1997 and 1998.

Volvo PCC2 – 2001

History of Volvo estates

Could this be the best looking Volvo estate car never built? The PCC2 – or Performance Concept Car 2 – was introduced at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show and featured a 300hp five-cylinder engine and a trick suspension system. The V70-based concept was finished in Laser Blue.

Volvo ACC 2 – 2002

History of Volvo estates

Another year, another concept car. According to Volvo, the Adventure Concept Car 2 (ACC 2) provided a “glimpse into the future of extreme winter transportation” and featured studded tyres and GPS-controlled headlights, which would automatically adjust for left- or right-hand-drive traffic conditions. The interior was said to be inspired by the Swedish Ice Hotel and the Swiss Army Knife.

Volvo V50 – 2003

History of Volvo estates

The V50 was the replacement for the V40 and it shared its platform with the Ford Focus and the Mazda 3. Highlights included the availability of all-wheel drive and a five-cylinder 2.5-litre engine. It also featured Volvo’s signature ‘floating console’ centre stack.

Volvo V50 SV Concept – 2004

History of Volvo estates

This was the first Volvo to be built by the firm’s Special Vehicle department in Gothenburg and it made its debut at the 2004 SEMA trade show in Las Vegas. It was designed to appeal to a younger audience, with its 2.5-litre engine developing an eye-watering 340hp. Other tweaks included a 12mm lower ride height, AP Racing brakes and race-bred Pirelli tyres.

Volvo XC70 AT Concept – 2005

History of Volvo estates

A year later, Volvo unveiled the XC70 AT Concept. It featured a 408hp 2.5-litre engine, a six-speed automatic transmission and – as is probably obvious from the photo – all-wheel drive. The air suspension could see the ride height increased by as much as eight inches compared with the standard XC70.

Volvo XC70 Surf Rescue Concept – 2007

History of Volvo estates

Inspired by the surf vehicles of the Californian coast, the XC70 Surf Rescue Concept was another SEMA show special. With its 20-inch wheels and 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine, this thing was perfect for would-be Pamela Andersons across the world. A neat idea, but if Volvo ruled the world, we doubt anyone would ever find themselves in danger on the beach.

Volvo V60 – 2011

History of Volvo estates

In many ways, the V60 flied in the face of Volvo’s estate car heritage, majoring on style and performance, as opposed to outright practicality. That said, with the V70, XC60 and XC90 in the range, you’d forgive Volvo for introducing what was essentially an alternative to a large hatchback.

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid – 2013

History of Volvo estates

This was the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid, combining 48g/km of CO2 with a claimed 155.2mpg. The combination of a 215hp five-cylinder diesel engine and a 70hp electric motor earned it the right to wear a D6 badge.

Volvo V60 Polestar – 2014

History of Volvo estates

This was Volvo at its bonkers best. The V60 Polestar felt like an old-school performance wagon, lost in a new era for Volvo. But don’t let that put you off, because the combination of a 3.0-litre straight six engine and all-wheel drive made it one of the best all-weather wagons on the market.

Volvo Concept Estate – 2014

History of Volvo estates

Before it launched the all-new XC90, Volvo teased us with three glorious concepts. In our humble opinion, the Concept Estate was the best of the trio. A shooting brake finished in brown and blessed with a delightful interior – what’s not to like? Aside from the fact it was only a concept.

Volvo V60 Cross Country – 2015

History of Volvo estates

We didn’t see this one coming. In 2015, Volvo launched the V60 Cross Country – a soft-road version of the larger XC70. It was available in both front- and four-wheel-drive guises, but either way it offered a ride height increased by 65mm.

Volvo V90 – 2016

History of Volvo estates

Volvo might be doing a fine job of making some of the world’s best SUVs, but it’s reassuring to know that it hasn’t given up on the estate car. “In many people’s minds we are known as the definitive estate brand. While the Volvo brand today stands for more than estates, we are proud to carry forward this rich heritage with the V90,” said Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo’s president and chief executive.

Volvo V90 Cross Country – 2016

History of Volvo estates

Twenty years after the launch of Volvo’s first off-road estate, the Swedish company unveiled the new V90 Cross Country. It was developed to cope with the extreme Scandinavian climate, so it should be more than up to the task of dealing with some light drizzle and a stiff breeze. It also looks more appealing than a crossover. Discuss…

Volvo V60 – 2018

History of Volvo estates

Volvo won’t stop until it has built the most attractive cars within each segment. The V60, which goes into battle against the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4, combines all that is great about the V90, but in a smaller, well-proportioned package. In true Volvo tradition, it features a huge boot, offering 539 litres of luggage space with the rear seats in their upright position.

Volvo V60 Cross Country – 2018

History of Volvo estates

The V60 Cross Country sits 75mm higher than the standard wagon and features all-wheel-drive, hill descent control, corner traction control and an off-road driving mode as standard. According to Volvo, it takes the V60 from the suburb to the skogen (Swedish for forest).

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Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical carsWild concepts and crazy supercars might grab the headlines in Paris, but back in the real world, what are the cars you might be driving in 2017? We’ve selected some of the best practical cars at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Skoda KodiaqParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

A decade or so ago, it would have been crazy to start a motor show round-up gallery with a Skoda, but it just goes to prove how far the Czech brand has travelled. Without question, the Kodiaq SUV is one of the star attractions at the Paris Motor Show – it’s a car you know will sell like very hot cakes. The large off-roader was actually unveiled in Berlin earlier this month, but this is the first time the Kodiaq has been shown to the public.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but then the Kodiaq ticks a lot of very important boxes. It’s an SUV, so it enters a growing market; it’s a Skoda, so value is virtually guaranteed; plus it will be offered with a choice of either five or seven seats. It also helps that it looks cracking, especially under the bright lights of the Paris show. Bank on paying upwards of £23,000 when it goes on sale later this year.

Land Rover DiscoveryParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Do not adjust your set, this is indeed the new Land Rover Discovery. Much has changed since the first generation ‘Disco’ was launched in 1989 and the new one looks like a larger Discovery Sport. But is that necessarily a bad thing? After all, the Evoque and Discovery Sport are two of the most popular premium SUVs on the planet.

The Discovery had to change, of course. Faced with strong competition in the form of the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, the new Discovery has emerged with a fresh new look, a range of more efficient engines and improved technology. Prices start from £43,493 for the base Discovery S, but if you’re quick you can get your hands on a First Edition, priced at £62,695. Only 600 are coming to the UK.

Peugeot 3008Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

As expected, Peugeot is putting on quite a show at its home motor show, with the 3008 likely to be one of its most popular new models. It’s no coincidence that the new 3008 looks more SUV than it does MPV, because people carriers are like so yesterday, darling. The new 3008 is chunkier than before, with a raised right height adding a modicum of off-road ability.

The new Peugeot 3008 is actually smaller than the outgoing model, but thanks to a longer wheelbase there’s more space inside. It shows, because the cabin feels spacious, while the boot can swallow 520 litres of family life. Throw in a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, plus some class-leading technology, and we think the 3008 has what it takes to give the Nissan Qashqai a bloody nose.

Honda CivicParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Before the show got underway, the SMMT (Social of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) put on a display of British-built cars beneath the Eiffel Tower, one of which was the new Honda Civic. It’s fair to say that not everyone has welcomed the new styling, although it certainly stands out.

You may or may not like the exterior, but you’ll almost certainly appreciate the interior. The new cabin is a huge step forward, with a more premium feel and a semi-freestanding infotainment system. This is a big car for Britain, with the Swindon plant expected to build some 160,000 Civics a year, many of which will be exported around the world.

Audi Q5Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

This is a big deal for Audi, with the Q5 pushing even more upmarket and introducing a style that’s more in line with the Q7. The new Q5 switches from the MQB to the MLB platform, making it up to 90kg lighter than the outgoing model. Five engines will be available at launch, while a hot RS Q5 will follow in 2017.

Other big news from Paris includes the availability of air suspension – a first for the Q5 – along with LED rear lights and a future plug-in hybrid model. In common with other Audi generation changes, the styling is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but when parked side by side, we reckon the new Q5 will make the outgoing model look and feel a bit frumpy.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

The humble people carrier is dead? Not according to Vauxhall, which has just refreshed its popular Zafira Tourer. The Opel-badged cars on show in Paris showcase a new, mildly refreshed face, which to our eyes is less appealing than before. Not that this matters, because the big news is on the inside.

The Zafira Tourer now boasts Vauxhall’s rather excellent OnStar personal assistant, while the clever Flex7 seating remains its standout feature. Aside from that it’s largely as you were. This truly is the mildest of midlife facelifts; a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If you fancy a ‘new’ Zafira Tourer, you’re in luck, because they go on sale from the 1st October.

Renault AlaskanParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Renault Alaskan is to the Nissan Navara what the Fiat Fullback is to the Mitsubishi L200. In other words, it’s a thoroughly Japanese pick-up that’s been treated to a European makeover. The pick-up market is buoyant, so it’s little wonder Renault has chosen to enter this part of the light commercial vehicle sector for the first time.

Thanks to that huge badge at the front, it certainly looks like a Renault, and the engines will be familiar, too. In the UK at least, we expect the Alaskan to be powered by the same 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine found in the Renault Master van. If you like what you see – and we certainly do – the Alaskan is expected to arrive in the UK in the first half of 2017.

Peugeot 5008Paris Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Wait, haven’t we featured this already? Actually, no, that was the Peugeot 3008. This is the 5008, Peugeot’s response to the Kodiaq. In other words, this is Peugeot’s new seven-seat SUV, which looks a whole lot better than the outgoing 5008.

It’s a cracking looking thing, especially at the rear, which is dominated by those claw-like lights and a rather striking design. Inside you’ll find a new i-Cockpit system, which is Peugeot’s version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, but with a French twist. It’s totally driver-focused and includes an 8-inch touchscreen and 12.3-in digital cluster. If this is the future of the MPVSUV, we rather like it.

Mitsubishi OutlanderParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been treated to a makeover, with a new EV priority switch, designed to keep the car in electric mode when required. You’ll also find an electric handbrake and auto hold function, plus support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is a welcome addition, because the current Outlander isn’t blessed with the greatest of infotainment systems.

The Outlander diesel now gets a PHEV-style full length console with electric handbrake, smartphone link and a host of new safety features. The new Mitsubishi Outlander diesel will arrive in the UK at the end of 2017.

Audi A5/S5 SportbackParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

If the Audi A5 coupe is a little too cramped for your liking, Audi has a ready-made answer in the form of the new A5 Sportback. Available as both an A5 and a sportier S5, the cars boast an additional two doors, as well as more cabin space.

The Sportback is 17mm longer than the coupe and it’s fair to say it’s not as attractive as the three-door version. But on the plus side, the cabin is noticeably larger, with more shoulder space and knee room, plus an additional 15 litres of luggage space.

Mitsubishi ASXParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

Ahead of its imminent launch, the Mitsubishi ASX has sharpened up its act with an interpretation of the so-called ‘Dynamic Shield’ visual identity. Highlights include a revised front bumper, chrome streaks and an upper grille that connects with the headlights. It’s a good look, right?

Other features include a shark fin antenna, more supportive rear seats and a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine. You can order your new ASX in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

Suzuki SX4 S-CrossParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a much improved car, although the jury is still out over the new face. Look beyond that ‘Vanden Plas’ grille and you’ll find the brilliant 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine, which replaces the old 1.6-litre unit. It’s a terrific engine: eager to rev hard when the mood takes you, but frugal when the mood doesn’t.

In common with other Suzukis, you get the impression you’re getting far more for your money. It might be a credible rival to the Nissan Qashqai, but the pricing structure is more in line with the Juke. And it’s well-equipped, too. Prices start from below £15,000 and the SX4 S-Cross is available from October.

Renault KoleosParis Motor Show 2016: the best practical cars

The Renault Koleos has made its European debut in Paris and the big news is, it’s coming to the UK. It is to the Nissan X-Trail what the Renault Kadjar is to the Nissan Qashqai. In other words, the Renault shares its platform with its Japanese counterpart, with the Koleos receiving a French makeover.

To our eyes, the Koleos is more appealing than the X-Trail, especially in the range-topping Initiale Paris trim shown here at the show. Renault is promising class-leading space for passengers and the latest four-wheel drive technology. It’s set to go on sale in the UK in summer 2017, by which time we should know more about the engines, specs and prices.