2019 Cadillac XT4

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is a compact luxury SUV with a starting price of $34,795. Competing in a crowded segment, the XT4 goes up against the likes of the BMW X1, Lexus NX, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. What sets the Cadillac XT4 apart from the competition is bold styling borrowed from the famous Escalade. Available in Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport trims.

The mid-level trim should suit most as it comes with leather, park assist and a power liftgate. The Sport trim is primarily comprised of cosmetic updates, like a unique grille design and larger wheels. Front-wheel-drive is standard, with all-wheel-drive being optional on all trims. Ride and handling characteristics are unknown, however it is expected that the XT4 will take after its larger XT5 stablemate, which offers a firm but composed ride.

Pros: Great Exterior Styling, Roomier Interior Than Competitors, Good Fuel Efficiency

Cons: Mostly Boring Exterior Paint Selection

Looks Best In: Twilight Blue exterior/Sedona/Jet Black interior

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Competition: BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Infiniti QX50Lexus NX

Safety Score: As of publication date the 2019 Cadillac XT4 has not yet been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Summary: The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is a stylish and compelling choice within its segment. Offering a number of interesting available features like adaptive cruise control and a heated steering wheel.

[Images: Cadillac]

Design Analysis: 2019 Volvo S60

For 2019 Volvo completely restyled its S60 sedan. Adopting the design philosophy that debuted on the Volvo XC90, Thor’s Hammer headlamps, sharply creased contours and a minimalist tail light design are all present an accounted for. Compared to the last generation design the 2019 S60 looks better-proportioned, especially up front where the grille is better matched to the headlamps and the front overhang is significantly reduced. Pricing starts from an MSRP of $35,800.

2018-2019 Volvo S60 profile

Inside the interior design is now aligned with the rest of the vehicles in Volvo’s stable. The clean design is accented with available open-pore wood and generous brightwork. The interior now ranks among the best in its class in terms of aesthetics. Stacked up against the aging BMW 3 Series, the S60’s interior looks fresher and less button-heavy. The Audi A4’s center stack lacks the warmth of the Volvo. Perhaps the closest match is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which artfully incorporates bright finishes and organic shapes into the cabin design.

2019 Volvo S60 interior

2019 Volvo S60 interior

2018 Audi A4 interior

2018 Audi A4 interior

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class interior

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class interior

2018 BMW 3 Series interior

2018 BMW 3 Series interior

Overall, the 2019 Volvo S60 looks to be a formidable competitor in the compact luxury class. The exterior design is both graceful and aggressive, removing all the awkward proportions and angles found on its predecessor. Inside, the latest Volvo design brings the cabin to the front of its class, alongside the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Look for more details on the 2019 Volvo S60 from ThirdAuto.com as its on-sale date approaches.

2019 Volvo S60 exterior rear

RELATED: Street Sighting: Early 2000’s Volvo S60

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[Images: Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi]

Street Sighting: Early 2000’s Volvo S60

In our last Street Sighting we reported on the quirky Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe of the early 2000’s. Now, as Volvo prepares to release the all-new third generation S60 sedan, Third Auto revisits the original S60 model that was sold through 2001-2005 model years.

Volvo S60 front

Volvo boldly entered the turn of the century with a sleek new design language that debuted with the large S80 sedan in 1999. The curvy lines and shapely contours replaced the brand’s iconic boxy design and made a style statement that reached its zenith with the midsize 2001 S60. The more compact proportions of the S60 was a template for Volvo to be more daring with their design philosophy, as evidenced by the exaggerated hipline curve and emboldened taillight treatment compared to the conservatively executed S80.

Volvo S60 rear

Also available in wagon form, known as the V70, the S60 sedan competed against the likes of the Acura TL, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac CTS and Infiniti G35 in the entry-level luxury sedan category. Of all the vehicles within its class, perhaps the Volvo aged best, especially when equipped with larger wheels.

The crème de la crème of the S60 range was the R model. Equipped with performance and aesthetic upgrades, the radical S60 R was powerful and imposing. At a time when BMW 3 Series were the ubiquitous luxury performance sedan, the S60 R offered an eccentric alternative.

Volvo S60 R rear

Available in a range of compelling colors and equipped with glorious wheel designs, the Volvo S60 has style that has stood the test of time and still looks fresh 17 years on.

See more coverage of unusual 2000’s cars in our “2000 & Late” series:

2000 & Late: 2002-2005 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor

2000 & Late: 2002-2004 Nissan Altima

[Images: ThirdAuto.com, Wikipedia]

2018 Volvo S90

The 2018 Volvo S90 is a mid-size luxury sedan that slots above the compact S60 in Volvo’s lineup. The S90 deliveries a tech-rich cabin with the brand’s famously comfortable seats. All-wheel-drive is available, as is a hybrid version. Pricing starts from an MSRP of $48,100.

Pros: Artfully Designed Cabin, Roomy Interior, Available Hybrid & All-Wheel-Drive

Cons: Ride Comfort, Overly Complex Tech Interface

Looks Best In: Mussel Blue exterior/Amber interior

 

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Competition: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Lexus LS, Audi A6, Cadillac CT6

Safety Score: Although the 2018 Volvo S90 received good crash test ratings, it was letdown by weak headlamps in an evaluation by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Summary: While some competitors offer a more refined ride and better infotainment interfaces, the 2018 Volvo S90 is a compelling choice in the mid- to full-size luxury sedan segment in that it offers distinctive Scandinavian design and a cosseting cabin filled with materials that are tactile and beautifully crafted. If you can work you way through the infotainment system and stick to smaller wheel sizes to keep the impact harshness from entering the cabin then the S90 is worth serious consideration over some of its more commonplace rivals.

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[Images: Volvo]

2018 Volvo XC60

The 2018 Volvo XC60 is a compact luxury SUV that is positioned between the subcompact Volvo XC40 and mid-size Volvo XC90 in the brand’s SUV lineup. The XC60 has a suite of advanced safety features and has a luxurious interior outfitted with minimalist Nordic design. The XC60 has a stiffer ride than some of its buttery smooth competitors, especially when equipped with larger wheels. So, be sure to take the XC60 for a test drive across road surfaces to ensure goodness of fit. Prices start from an MSRP of $41,500.

Pros: Excellent Seats, Artful Interior, Available Hybrid Model, Advanced Safety Features

Cons: Stiff Ride, Cabin Is Louder Than Some Competitors

Looks Best In: Fusion Red exterior/Amber interior

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Competition: Lexus RXInfiniti QX50, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Cadillac XT5

Safety Score: The 2018 Volvo XC60 was awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick distinction.

Summary: The 2018 Volvo XC60  exhibits classic Volvo qualities like an understated design, a focus on safety innovation and a secure driving experience.  Although not as pillowy soft as the competition, drivers looking for a more engaging driving experience may appreciate the taught ride.

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[Images: Volvo]

2018 Volvo XC90

The 2018 Volvo XC90 is Volvo’s full-size luxury SUV, now in its second generation, it underwent a recent redesign. Packed with safety and technology features, it has a nicely appointed cabin and classic Volvo exterior styling, meaning its appears stoic and understated. Prices start at an MSRP of $46,900 and slots above the midsize XC60 and compact Volvo XC40 in the brand’s SUV lineup.

Pros: Safety Features, Style Inside & Out, Available Hybrid, Third-Row Seat

Cons: Reliability, Fuel Economy/Power Balance With Base Engine, Smaller Than Some Competitors

Looks Best In: Maple Brown exterior/Amber interior

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Competition: Acura MDX, BMW X5, Infiniti QX60, Honda Pilot, Audi Q7

Coolest Feature: Thor’s Hammer Daytime Running Lights are nob to Scandinavian mythology.

Volvo XC90 Thor's Hammer Daytime Running Lights

Summary: Loaded with luxury features, safety gear and gizmos, the 2018 Volvo XC90 is a first-class family hauler. There are larger and less expensive three-row SUV’s available, however the craftsmanship and quality that goes into the XC90 makes it worth the premium. Shoppers may want to consider leasing the XC90 however, as early reports indicate there have been some reliability issues  with electronics, which could turn into real headaches years down the line.

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[Images: Volvo]

2019 Volvo XC40

A brand new model for 2019 and on sale this year, the Volvo XC40 is the brand’s first compact SUV, slotted below the midsize XC60 and full-size XC90. Much like the Lexus NX, the Volvo XC40 is designed to appeal to millennial shoppers as they gain more purchasing power. Styling is hip and modern, inside and out. Especially noteworthy is the optional Lava floor carpet option, more on that below. Prices start at an MSRP of $32,200.

Pros: Stylish Inside & Out, Solid Construction, Tech Features

Cons: Road Noise, Slow Base Engine

Looks Best In: Black Stone exterior/Charcoal interior with Lava (!) carpet 

2019 Volvo XC40 exterior2019 Volvo XC40 interior

Coolest Feature: The optional panoramic moonroof lets natural light flood into the cabin.

2018 Volvo XC40 panoramic roof

Competition: Mercedes-Benz GLA, Infiniti QX30, BMW X1

Summary: The XC40 takes all the expected Volvo qualities like understated style, ultra-comfortable seats and plenty of safety gear and boils it down to a smaller package.

Did You Know? With the 2019 XC40 Volvo launched a new subscription model called Care By Volvo, whereby a consumer pays one monthly fee that covers the price of the car and insurance.

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[Images: Volvo]

Luxury Brand Sales in October 2017

Wow, Lexus and BMW were neck and neck in October sales! Even closer were Audi and Buick, just a few hundred units difference. Mercedes-Benz numbers includes 2,446 van sales, when we remove those the monthly tall comes out to 29,623, still well ahead of second place BMW.

So, what is Mercedes-Benz doing so right to be this far ahead? A combination of a robust SUV lineup and its push downmarket with the CLA and GLA have postured the brand to acquire more sales than BMW, which currently has no sedan below the $34,900 3 Series, while Mercedes-Benz has the CLA starting at $32,400. On the SUV side, BMW has no GLS competitor, which Mercedes-Benz sold 2,920 of in October. We hear an X7 is on this way, however until then we expect Mercedes-Benz to continue to eat BMW’s lunch.

gls.jpg

Looking at the mid-level of sales, Cadillac and Acura are very close. Will the new XT5 allow Cadillac to power ahead of Acura’s aging SUV lineup? About one thousand units separate Lincoln and Volvo. With both brands experiencing a renaissance of sorts, who will move ahead and who will fall back, like whoa?

xt5

Moving on to the low-volume brands, Land Rover and Porsche  were within a few hundred units. Meanwhile, Jaguar is being encroached on by two newcomers to the U.S. market. Genesis and Alfa Romeo both accumulated decent sales numbers given their lack of presence in the marketplace. Behind Alfa Romero and rounding out the group is Maserati with just over one thousand units sold.

As the year-end push gets aggressive within throughout the final months of the year as automakers and dealers look to move as much metal as possible, it will be very interesting to see how the current state evolve. Be sure to check in with Third Auto as we track every step of the way.

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[Images: Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac]

2000 & Late: 2003-2006 Volvo XC90

Volvo designs with their stoic minimalism have traditionally aged well. A mid-90’s 850 sedan with its high trunk or 850 wagon with taillamps dominating the D-pillars, just like the latest Escalade, still look remarkably fresh over 20 years after their debut. Another enduring design released in the early 2000’s in Volvo’s first SUV, the XC90.

Released for model year 2003, the XC90 was a home run in terms of both sales volume and styling. Just enough height was added to make the car-based XC90 look rugged, while its fluid lines create a purposeful look. Penciled in during the brand’s “Revolovlution” era, a high water mark for Volvo design, the XC90 came together in a very cohesive package.

Plastic cladding was liberally applied, but to good effect, giving the XC90 a rugged appearance while simultaneously reducing visual mass, especially upfront where it was expertly incorporated to the bumper to give the design a sense of lightness that belies its size. Sadly, with the facelift in 2007 the front bumper adopted a more conventional look that took away from the athletic stance by removing the cladding beneath both headlamps.

XC90

2003-2006 Volvo XC90 styling was punctuating with tastefully applied cladding.

XC90facelift

A facelift saw much of the cladding replaced or toned down, which in turn added visual mass and made the XC90 look heavier and less rugged.

The first application of Volvo’s signature D-pillar taillamp design aesthetic to an SUV was quite successfully executed. The large taillamps with their narrow peaks leading down to the hipline where they widen, managed to look better here than on the V70 wagon of the same era.

A pre-facelift element that reduces visual mass was the circular turn-signal and reverse lamps mounted in a staged arrangement. It’s playful without being frivolous and aged better than the more traditional tiered arrangement found on the facelifted design that would appear in 2007.

XC90rear.jpg

Pre-facelift taillamps with staggered turn signal and reverse indicators lent the design a sense of levity as they almost appeared to be floating.

XC90faceliftrear.jpg

A more staid and conventional taillamp assembly was deployed for the 2007 facelift, which took away from the vehicle’s character.

The latest XC90 was released in 2017, and was the first major update for the nameplate. It builds upon the unique, albeit toned down over time, styling of Volvo first SUV.

[Images: Volvo Cars, Wikipedia]