Volvo’s vivacious V60: A great avant

The V60 is one of the wagons that is simply here to stay; the latest generation ushers in some of the Swedish marque’s finest technology in terms of engines and safety features.

Design-wise, the V60 is a very modern interpretation of a sports wagon, especially with those large 19-inch wheels filling the wheel arches. Gone are the days of Volvo estate cars looking too square and boxy.

 Inside looks a bit like a Scandinavian vodka bar with the light hues being offset by dark leather. The ambient lighting also adds to this impression with lights around the steering wheel, centre stack, door panel and cup holder areas adding a glow to the cabin.

There’s still the signature ‘floating’ centre console which houses the climate control and just above, is the infotainment system lifted from the V40 hatchback, which is also evident in the instrument panel. One thing that’s certainly improved is the Bluetooth. On the older vehicles it was slow and difficult to connect to but now it is up to standard.

The seats are incredibly comfortable, while the 430 litres of space in the rear section makes the V60 very practical indeed. This means the V60 is as practical as an SUV but does not have the ground clearance. Personally, I just feel this makes it handle better while the ground clearance is not missed as most SUV’s never make use of it in any case.

I received the V60 T5 on test; its 2.0-litre direct-injection engine produces 180kW/350Nm. It provides a decent amount of poke and is relatively frugal as I returned figures of 9.2 litres/100km during my week with the car.  The eight-speed Geartronic gearbox was a joy to use and a massive improvement compared to its predecessor.

This engine and gearbox form part of the brand’s Drive-E initiative, which is a term to group certain technologies that provide increased power, better fuel consumption and emissions and the same driver enjoyment. It isn’t close to the likes of the 3 Series or C-Class in terms of dynamics, but in terms of quality and comfort, it’s up there with the best.

Safety is an area where you’re always in good stead with a Volvo; the V60 comes with things like pedestrian and cyclist detection. When the system recognises a potential threat the brakes are automatically applied. There is also the driver alert control function, which detects whether you’re tired or distracted.

Cross traffic alert warns the driver of vehicles approaching from either side when reversing out of a parking space.  The road sign information supports the driver by displaying road signs in the instrument display. The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and city safety system are also great pieces of equipment.

My test unit also featured Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and lane keep assist, which ensured that when I was cruising along the highway, I could put in as little effort as possible. It’s all very relaxing.

The price is a bit steep, even with all the kit. I think the V60 is a bit of an unsung hero, much like its S60 sibling. The stylish front-wheel-drive Swedes are often overlooked in favour of the rear and all-wheel-drive Germans, which is a bit of a shame, really.

The Volvo V60 comes with a five-year/100 000km warranty and a five-year/100 000 maintenance plan.


Ugolini Global Design – Conceptual vivacity

“There is a key to victory: prompt action plus powerful ideas. So we’re not afraid to take on the giants. Because we offer our customers something extra, something absolutely different”. Roberto Ugolini, a 40-year-old mechanical engineer from Rimini has a true vocation for design in all its manifestations and no desire to tilt at windmills. On the contrary, his pragmatism is what has enabled him to build up a little empire all his own.

Today Ugolini Global Design owns two autonomous yet complementary design centres, one in Rimini (since 1988) and one in Milan (since 1996). Together they cover 1300 sq.m., employ 30 specialist designers and design engineers and are endowed with ultra-sophisticated equipment for everything they do: advanced design, engineering and product marketing.

“Even when I was at Bologna University”, says Ugolini, “I knew exactly what I intended to do: custom-tailored design for clients.

I actually won my degree by designing the Tesi moped, a revolutionary prototype created for Bimota in Rimini and still in production. But it was Leonardo Fioravanti and later Lorenzo Ramaciotti who really set me alight. It was during a period of study in Pininfarina that I learned how to marry inspiration to practicality. And on that basis I set up the Ugolini Studio in 1988.”

So he was off on the great adventure, at first mostly working for motorcycle manufacturers (not just Bimota, but also Cagiva and Honda Europa). Opening the Milan premises broadened his horizons. First he established relations with big firms in Italy and then found that some of the big international players were showing an interest. But he always had a clear-cut plan in mind: to offer creative work plus engineering.

Ugolini explains his philosophy as follows: “What we call it hardly matters. What we offer is a total design partnership and not just industrial design. We work in interdisciplinary teams, starting with market analysis and then following the entire process through, sometimes even taking total responsibility for the product, right down to die management if that’s needed. It’s a bit like Giugiaro did with cars twenty years ago. Without wishing to appear presumptuous, I think “industrial design” is too restrictive a term for what we do. What we do have is agility that can help us work miracles and have fun at the same time”.

“What restricts large-scale operations”, he explains, “is that they often care more about the label than the substance. What I mean is that the artistic interpretation of the article assumes greater importance than its function. So that you end up with products that are designed for emotional impact, not for use. There’s far too much styling around. By contrast, we start out by eliminating the aesthetic factor. We begin by imagining the object and then we explain it and how it would be made, without giving our customer any idea of what it would look like. It’s only later when we’ve proved that it works that we unveil and fine-tune the look of the thing”.

If You Read One Article About Cars, Read This One

How to Determine the Best Ford Dealer If you can buy the right Ford truck at the right price, chances are that you’ll never regret your decision ever. Nonetheless, purchasing the right car starts with understanding what you want and determining a dealer that can meet your wants. Below are some tips for picking out reliable Ford dealerships in NJ. You want to buy your vehicle from a dealer that provides a broad range of choices, most definitely. If you desire to buy a brand that makes a lot of models that satisfy different styles for different buyers, you want the options to be there for you too. Choices should also encompass the opportunity to purchase new as well as pre-owned cars. Another important aspect to consider when choosing a car dealership is customer service. Even before you can commit your money to buying any car, you can tell if you’re receiving the attention you deserve and need to make the right choices as a highly esteemed customer. The best dealership is committed to offering you a great experiencing when buying your car. You will want to engage dealership employees that are courteous, while at the same time providing you with expert guidance.
Vehicles: 10 Mistakes that Most People Make
Many vehicle buyers have confidence to shop in Ford dealerships in NJ that have experience. Car dealerhips are in business, and taking into account harsh financial conditions, some dealers may collapse way before they can check your car for its first servicing. A credible auto dealer is the sort that stays in operation for years, guaranteeing that you can find them for any issues that related to car they sold you.
Discovering The Truth About Automobiles
Don’t forget to consider financing options when picking a car dealership. No matter how attractive the car prices are, the vehicle you buy may end up being a liability if you’re unable to fully finance its acquisition. That being the case, go for a dealer that has the financing alternatives that cater to your financial circumstances, for example, credit facilities. You’d want the ideal car dealer to allow access to credit from different lenders, enabling you to land the most lucrative credit terms as well as the lowest interest rates. Since you’ll need your car dealer for servicing in future, you require guarantees that they can provide high quality spare parts and experienced repair mechanics. The dealer should also possess modern fault diagnosis and servicing systems. It’s also essential to identify Ford dealerships in NJ that operate professional websites. These websites offer prospective buyers a view of available stocks, and in most cases, you’re able to make up your mind about if to go to a showroom of a certain dealership you spotted online, without having to leave your home or office.

Resistance Is Futile – Your Vehicle Will Be Maintained

I wonder how many of you pondered the challenge of promoting and selling ‘Preventive Maintenance’ to your customers. It’s quite amazing when you think about it, the way your customers can really dig their heels in. They just stubbornly resist your every good intention to part them from their money…

Oops! Did I say that out loud?

I meant to say, your every good intention to protect their vehicle and help them avoid that nasty of nastiest… like the 3 AM rain-soaked, dark and lonely, solo roadside picnic while awaiting the tow truck driver.

Because that’s the reality of it. Preventive Maintenance is all about avoiding the inconvenience of waiting around. Of being stranded somewhere when you’re on your way to somewhere else. Of losing time. Of missing something important. Of… heavens forbid… being late!

And that’s the problem, they (the general public) don’t quite ‘get it’ – well, to be fair, some do. But on the whole, the majority simply think you’re out to part them from their hard earned money.

They don’t seem to understand regularly inspecting a vehicle helps identify problems before they become serious, and to be fair, most of them don’t really understand the true cost of vehicle ownership.

For example, most people are either paying a loan or a lease payment, and of course they’re paying insurance and gas. So the thought of paying an additional ‘unnecessary’ preventive maintenance expense is somewhat irritating to them. They take the position ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’

I bet if you were to ask a dozen of your customers how much they should budget annually for vehicle maintenance repair they’d have no solid idea. The more confident ones might guess, but I’m betting they don’t really know what the industry standard amount is.

As you know, a suitable budget is about $100 a month. Usually consumed annually in two, maybe three visits to the shop. That’s an extra $1,200 to $1,500 your customer probably didn’t bargain on – so you can see why some are irritated at the idea.

Now I imagine some of you already have loyal customers who trust you implicitly – that’s fantastic. You may even have a stable customer base so that you seldom lose a customer, again that’s great.

However, remember approximately 10% of the local population moves yearly. This is according to the post office, they know because of the change of address requests. So this means most of you face the real possibility that 1 in 10 of your customers will leave every year or so.

So new customers have to be acquired and then retrained to trust you all over again. They might have had bad experiences with ‘lesser’ shops and on the whole you’ll need to carefully show them that you and your business are a solid, reputable and trustworthy place to take their vehicle.

You’ll have to gauge the right time to promote the concept of preventive maintenance too. You’ll need to educate and inform them about the true cost of vehicle ownership – if you’re brave enough you can take this article, make copies, and mail it to all your new customers. (You have my permission to reprint this article)

Include your business card and a hand written note. The hand writing part is important because it shows you care enough about your customer to personally take the time. Tell them you thought they’d appreciate the enclosed article because it’s an unbiased 3rd party opinion on this subject. And ask them to call you if they have any questions.

If nothing else, you would have established a unique relationship with this new client because you would have let them see ‘behind the curtain’ and this earns trust. They’ll read about the real costs and see the challenges you face and the reasons you try so hard to help them.

Mazda MX5’s Iconic Evolution that Makes Mazda Parts Distributors Like Parts Train Deliver the Best

Fresh from the wheels up, Mazda MX5 — the world’s favorite roadster remains true to the lightweight, fun to drive formula that sold more than 700,000 MX-5s worldwide since its introduction in 1989. The third generation Mazda MX-5 will be presented in October 2005 at the Geneva and Melbourne motor shows. Intensity of spirit possessed by very few sports cars – this was what Program Manager Takao Kijima has in mind when creating the all-new Mazda MX-5.

The all-new Mazda MX5 epitomizes the Japanese word Jinba Ittai (rider and horse as one).Jinba Ittai is akin to the bond between a single-seat formula-car pilot and his racer, which is the essence of Zoom-Zoom. The rider-and-horse idiom and the effort to create a car universally seen as “lots of fun” served as the focal point around the new Mazda MX5.

Mazda engineers realize the Jinba Ittai concept defined the five basic requirements: the car would be as compact and as light as possible while meeting global safety requirements; the cockpit would comfortably accommodate two full-stature occupants with no wasted space. Meanwhile, the basic layout would continue with the original’s front-midship rear-drive configuration with the engine positioned ahead of the driver but behind the front axle for 50:50 weight distributions. In addition, all four wheels would be attached by wishbone or multi-link suspension systems to maximize tire performance, road grip and dynamic stability and that a power-plant frame would again provide a solid connection between the engine and rear-mounted differential to sharpen throttle response.

Mazda engineers made every gram count when they very well knew that extra weight would have a dramatically negative influence on driving, cornering, and braking performance. Their “gram strategy” assessed weight in the smallest possible increments and carefully scrutinized weight-trimming opportunities. Other weight-saving tactics were employed as well. Advanced technology was applied where practical to achieve a light and rigid unibody design using materials that offered higher strength and lighter weight.

The MX5 iconic roadster has indeed evolved as evident on its bold new look. The classic “Coke bottle” shape of the contours was removed. The nose and tail are smoothly tapered but now the surfaces wrap smoothly between the wheels without narrowing. The fender arches of the new Mazda MX-5 are notably more pronounced for a substantially wider wheel track dimensions and a more athletic stance. Seventeen-inch wheels help define the corners of the car while there are modest increases in wheelbase (+65 mm), length (+20 mm), width (+40 mm), and height (+20 mm),

With Mazda’s new generation sport car architecture the car boasts 22 per cent more flexural stiffness and a 47 per cent increase in torsion rigidity compared with the former Mazda MX-5’s. Moving the engine rearward by 135 mm was a major step towards balancing front-to-rear weight distribution and reducing the yaw moment of inertia. The new car also benefits from ideal 50:50 weight distribution.