Here we’ve compiled a list of the most popular Volvo models throughout its history.
If we think about what we associate the Volvo brand with, three things come to mind first: safety, efficiency, and practicality. Today’s best-seller of the company is undoubtedly the Volvo XC60, but there are other iconic models which are important from a historical point of view, as they played their role in advancing the brand’s reputation. Let’s recall those cars.
1. Volvo XC60
- Production: 2008 – present
This model has consistently topped the list of the most popular Volvos you can buy new. With the first generation of the XC60, Volvo introduced a new style for its 60 Series models.
The crossover is a perfect blend of all the virtues modern drivers seek: a choice of zippy engines (gasoline, diesel, and hybrid ones), dedicated safety, an upmarket roomy cabin and a spacious cargo bay, a comfortable ride, and an extended list of standard features.
2. Volvo 200 Series (240 and 260 Series)
- Production: 1974 – 1993
This mid-size car outperforms other Volvo models by sales: it was on sale everywhere, and people bought 2,862,573 million units in total worldwide.
Volvo offered three families of engines for the 200 Series: gasoline 4-cylinder and V6, diesel options mated to 3-, 4-, and 5-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Three body styles were available for the car: a 2-door or 4-door sedan, a station wagon, and a coupe.
The model went above and beyond to cut emissions, increase safety for occupants, to secure Volvo’s reputation as a manufacturer of safe and fuel-efficient vehicles. In terms of performance, certain 200 Series variants could outpace modern cars on track.
3. Volvo S60
- Production: 2000 – present
This is Volvo’s most popular sedan that offers a variety of powertrains (gasoline, diesel, diesel plug-in hybrid, and gasoline plug-in hybrid) through three generations. The S60 well represents Volvo’s engineering mastery. Apart from the sedan, the model has its own wagon variant – the V60.
The S60 lineage goes back to the iconic Volvo PV444, while specially-developed Volvo S60 racecars formed the history of the Polestar brand that eventually morphed into a standalone electric offshoot,
4. Volvo Amazon
- Production: 1956-1970
The automaker offered the Amazon in 4-door sedan, 5-door station wagon, and 2-door coupe body styles. All Amazon models were distinguished by a ponton (pontoon) styling. The car is a milestone in the evolution of the brand. It is a predecessor of the Volvo PV544 and the successor of the Volvo 140 Series.
The Amazon is the first car in the world equipped with front seat belts and three-point seat belts as standard. So, it was the very vehicle to help Volvo introduce its safety innovations and establish itself as a pioneer in safety.
5. Volvo PV444/PV544
- Production: 1944 – 1965
The Volvo PV series of 2-door 4-passenger cars were built with a focus on practicality, fuel economy, affordability, and reliability. The public accepted the model with enthusiasm.
Given a raw materials shortage during the war, Volvo designed the PV444 to use materials as efficiently as possible. The PV444 is Volvo’s first unibody car, and, moreover, it is the first Volvo car sold in America. The original PV444 had a 1.4-liter 40-PS inline-4 engine, afterward, the engine’s horsepower and displacement gradually increased to 1.6 liters and 70 PS by 1957.
The PV544 arrived in 1958 introducing a curved one-piece windshield instead of 2 panes of flat glass, Unlike the PV444, it brought bigger taillights, a ribbon-type speedometer, a 4-speed manual gearbox instead of the predecessor’s 3-speed one, and some other updates.
It was the PV series to bring Volvo into motorsports – rally championships and American racing series starting from the late 1950s. In particular, a PV544 won the Safari Rally in 1965.
Volvo sold only under 500,000 units overall. Today the model is considered to be the brand’s classic.
6. Volvo P1800
- Production: 1961–1973
The nice-looking 2+2 front-engine, rear-drive sports car, rather marketed as a touring car, is one of the most iconic Volvos. It is the model with the most mileage of all time: a 1966 Volvo P1800S was certified as the highest-mileage private vehicle driven by the original owner in non-commercial service. That car logged over 3.25 million miles!
The Volvo P1800 is also a movie car: British actor Roger Moore drove it in the 1962-1969 television series The Saint.
The car has an interesting history of creation. The person behind the P1800 project is Helmer Petterson who was responsible for the Volvo PV444 in the 1940s. The P180’s design work was done by his son Pelle (sailor and yacht designer) under the tutelage of a leading Italian car designer Pietro Flua. No wonder the Italian style is visible in the exterior of the Volvo P1800.
7. Volvo 850
- Production: 1991-1997
The Volvo 850R high-performance wagon with overhauled engine, drivetrain, and suspension was one of the most amazing sleeper performance cars of the 1990s.
The 850 model itself is a predecessor of the Volvo S70 and V70. Volvo sold a wide variety of the 850s: in sedan and wagon body styles, gasoline and diesel powertrain choices. It is the first front-wheel-drive Volvo car in the U.S. market.
Volvo launched the 850 under the slogan “A dynamic car with four unique innovations” meaning newly developed features: a 5-cylinder transverse engine, a Delta-link rear axle, a self-adjusting seatbelt reel for front seats, and a Side Impact Protection System.
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