Review: From Sweden To The Roads of New York!

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Well here it is everybody- my daily driver! It is a 2004 Volvo S60 2.4. Now as an exotic car enthusiast this obviously is nothing to boast about. The car carries a basic 2.4 liter engine that produces 168hp. The car was purchased right off the showroom floor ten years ago and is the most basic model for the S60. Yes, I know nothing too exciting and certainly nothing to be compared with the exotics in previous posts.

Volvo, a Swedish company has always been known more for their innovative safety rather than design and performance. The company was started in 1927 and produced just a few hundred vehicles a year. Since then the company has grown and now produces many vehicle models. Volvo also builds 18-wheelers, construction vehicles, luxury busses and even sail boats. Today, Volvo sits in the entry-level luxury vehicle category although strong, and successful efforts are being made to compete with Mercedes, BMW and Audi.

My car features affluent leather seating that helps make trips of all durations pleasant. The driver seat has great electronic memory, and at a push of a button will adjust both the seats and mirrors to the drivers pre-set position. I find this very useful when I return to the driver seat after another family member has been driving. Also, the stock radio has been replaced by a simple JVC unit. This was done about a year ago, as the original tape deck in the car stopped working and would no longer accept an MP3 connection.

The installed JVC unit.

The installed JVC unit.

The car has about 138,000 miles on it, but upkeep hasn’t been too stressful. There have a been a few costly repairs, the most recent was for about $1,000 and will most definitely be the vehicles last major fix. I do find that lightbulbs seem to constantly die out; but they are a quick, cheap, do-it-yourself fix. Of course, like any 10-year old vehicle there are the average dings and dents but the car was never in any serious accidents. The S60 was purchased for just over $28,000 in 2004. Kelly Blue Book has valued the car at about $1,200 for a trade-in.

The car drives pretty well, especially in the snow. My favorite feature of the car is the “W” mode the vehicle is equipped with. What this button does is slow down the acceleration of the car making sure that the front tires (FWD) do not spin to fast on ice. I find that driving in the snow is often easy. The car does slide around on occasion but traction control swiftly corrects any issues. The car does not have any sort of rear-window wiper, which sometimes makes visibility difficult under certain conditions. I am very surprised of how well it handles the bad weather. I very rarely find myself stuck or sliding, I always feel that I am in complete control.

Notice the "W" in the top left corner. A great feature.

Notice the “W” in the top left corner. A great feature.

In dry conditions the car handles like any luxury vehicle should. The ride is pretty tranquil and outside noises are well silenced. On hot summer days, the AC works fast, cooling off the often scorching hot black leather seats. The sunroof and moonroof allow for great airflow and do not cause any unnecessary noises. In the winter, the two-level heated seats for the driver and passenger offer great warmth as does the powerful heating system. I’ve noticed that the car does have a heavy steering wheel compared to other vehicles I have driven. The car will do 0-60 MPH in a sluggish 7 seconds but I find that once the car is up to speed (about 40MPH) it swiftly responds when more power is needed. The engine even gives a nice growl as it accelerates up to speed.

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The back seats are just as opulent as the front. Leg-room is not to great, depending on the seating position up front. Although the car seats three in the back I find that it’s better off with only two people. The trunk is absolutely massive and can fit multiple suitcases, camping gear or even an inflatable kayak with ease! The headlights offer unique “mini” wipers that help keep them clean anytime windshield wiper fluid is being used.

In summary, this 2004 Volvo S60 has stood the test of time and miles. The car continues to start perfectly, and rarely has any concerning issues. The car gets decent gas milage about 18 City and 21 Highway. I would most definitely recommend a Volvo for anyone wanting a well-priced luxury vehicle. If you’re in the market for a first car, or luxurious used vehicle, I would again recommend a Volvo at any milage. The new Volvo’s are a bit more pricey at $32,000 but are very delightful and even powerful. I definitely see where Volvo is competing with top luxury brands. They offer great vehicles for often less money than other competitors! Stop by any Volvo dealer and check out their new line up; you won’t be disappointed!

Look for the wipers on the headlights.

Look for the wipers on the headlights.

A snowy drive made simple.

A snowy drive made simple.

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Exotic Car Sales Rev Up

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It may be shocking to hear, but yes it is true! Exotic car sales are revving up. The economy may be struggling to fire on all cylinders but it seems as though the “1%” are doing just fine. It’s not just the United States that is seeing this market grow. According to CNN.com, the global sales of exotic vehicles are on the rise (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Partly, these heightened sales are due to the fact that China’s wealthy are just now getting much easier access to these beautiful machines.

With 2013 over and done with, Lamborghini says that they sold a whopping 2,121 vehicles globally last year. According to CNN, this is the third straight year Lamborghini has had a sales increase! The Italian company currently sells only two different vehicles, one – the 700hp, $400,000, Aventador and the other, a more modest 562hp, $225,000, Lamborghini Gallardo. CEO, Stephan Winkelmann mentions that the United States continues to be the number one buyer of these high-priced cars (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Personally, I would not be shocked to see the sale numbers increase yet again at the end of 2014 due to the release of the replacement Gallardo and a rumored SUV is in the making!

Need an exotic vehicle that can carry more then two people? And do it in opulent style? Well it seems the wealthy are in need of that. Rolls Royce, the fancy and sophisticated sister of BMW is also recording high sales. The very highly regarded brand sold 3,630 voluptuous vehicles this past year (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). This marks the fourth year in a row that the company recorded record sales numbers. Look for the new two-door Wraith, which seems to be the hottest car on the market for the wealthy who want to arrive in style.

The other luxury company to roll out of England is Bentley. They too recorded sales of more than 10,000 cars last year alone. Wolfgang Schreiber, the CEO of the company says that most sales come from China and that he expects them to continue to drive up sales in the coming years.

Yet again, it’s another company from England that is setting records. Aston Martin, has seemed to capture a huge audience of James Bond wannabe’s. The company sold 4,200 cars in 2013 (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). The British super car maker hasn’t seen numbers like that in nearly six years! 

Heading back to Italy, Maserati sold 15,400 cars last year (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Compared to every other exotic company listed here, Maserati offers the most “affordable” cars. The company even lessened its exclusivity and has released the Ghibli which will set back the buyer at least $66,000. This is the new entry-level vehicle and is meant to rival BMW and Mercedes. If you don’t want to be driving around in car that’s less than $100,000 please don’t worry as you can still buy an MC Stradale for $155,000!

If you’re curious as to why Ferrari didn’t make the list it’s because they’re actually cutting down on production. No, they’re not short on money. They just think that even if you have a few hundred thousand dollars to drop on a car, you should still have to search hard to buy a Ferrari.

With an inconstant global economy right now, who knows whether or not exotic car sales will continue to rev up in the coming years. I  certainly would not predict that any of these companies will mass produce their vehicles. They will always hold their place in society as rare, exclusive, and of course exotic!

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Reference:

Valdes-Padena, P. Exotic Car Sales Surge to Record High-Except Ferrari. CNN.com

Motivation Monday

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New post coming soon! In the meantime here’s some motivation on this cold Monday night! Work hard and get the toys you dream of. Here are three stunning Lamborghini Aventador’s I just so happened to stumble upon on a beautiful Long Island summer day. Yes, the car on the left has a license plate that reads “HULK” and the beauty in the middle has a plate that reads “DROPOUT”.

Which color best fits you?