Volvo stays an un­sung road warrior

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOTORING - PABALLO THEKISO

THE Volvo Polestar is fast and sporty but it has one sin, it does not be­long to the three big brands and, there­fore, it stands a chance of not re­ceiv­ing the at­ten­tion it de­serves.

It is like a chameleon, it changes char­ac­ter and the sports mode made me feel I was driv­ing a to­tally dif­fer­ent car.

Al­though Volvo has al­ways been known for safety and pre­mium class, the in­tro­duc­tion of the Polester has helped Volvo en­ter the sports car seg­ment with a se­ri­ous bang.

Volvo’s part­ner­ship with Polestar dates from 1996 when it was still known as Flash En­gi­neer­ing. This rich part­ner­ship had a sin­gle fo­cus on rac­ing and in 2005 the com­pany changed its name to Polestar.

2010 saw the birth of the first road car from the part­ner­ship and that was the Volvo C30, but in 2013 the el­e­gant classy S60 was given a boost when an on-road S60 Polester was in­tro­duced.

To­day, Volvo has ac­quired the per­for­mance di­vi­sion of Polestar, mak­ing that name­plate to Volvo what AMG is to Mercedes and the M range is to BMW.

This rich his­tory shows the jour­ney Volvo has em­barked on and it gives the big Ger­man play­ers BMW, Audi and Mercedes rea­son to worry.

For a long time since its re­lease, the Polestar was sold only in a few coun­tries but South Africa has been one of the for­tu­nate ones.

The car is fit­ted with all-wheel drive which takes the power from a 3.0- litre six- cylin­der, T6 tur­bocharged en­gine through a sixspeed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion to the road. The com­bi­na­tion of 257kW and AWD trac­tion means 0100km/h takes only 4.8 sec­onds.

When set in com­fort mode, the fuel con­sump­tion sits at 13 litres per 100km but once shifted to sports mode, and foot ap­plied to floor, the thirsty beast 17l/100km.

But the Polester is not just a sports car; it of­fers a great ex­pe­ri­ence for tech­nol­ogy junkies like me.

For ex­am­ple, the speedome­ter area flashes the speed limit of the area you are driv­ing in and beeps if you ex­ceed the limit.

It also has a fea­ture called “My In­ter­net”, where you can get builtin Volvo apps that can be used on a smart phone and can also be ac­cessed on the dig­i­tal screen on the dash­board.

And it is also as safe as any other Volvo with fea­tures such as Driver Alert for fa­tigue no­ti­fi­ca­tion. Driver Col­li­sion Alert al­lows the driver to set the dis­tance he would like the car to warn him of a ve­hi­cle nearby, while the Blind Spot In­di­ca­tor (seen first on Volvo cars) next to the mir­rors and lane de­par­ture de­tec­tor drinks around are part of the tech­nol­ogy to help the driver ex­pe­ri­ence of Polestar more plea­sur­able.

This rebel blue mon­ster comes stan­dard with stylish 20 inch spoked wheels.

It also comes stan­dard with Nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, cruise con­trol, park­ing sen­sors, re­verse cam­era, seven Har­man Kar­don speak­ers, heated both front and back seats, key­less en­try and drive, pad­dle shift and Blue­tooth, USB and Aux in­puts.

There was only one turn-off, and that was the mix­ture of cloth and leather in­te­rior... es­pe­cially on the steer­ing wheel. Cloth gets dirty quickly and does not of­fer the same grip on the wheel so in my view, tra­di­tional sim­ple bucket leather seats and leather steer­ing would have com­pleted the look.

But this is a pref­er­ence and takes noth­ing away from this Swedish beauty.

The Polestar is priced at just un­der R740 000 and comes with a 5year/ 100 000 km war­ranty and main­te­nance plan as well as un­lim­ited road­side as­sis­tance.

And be­cause there will only be around 100 Volvo Polestar cars that will reach our South Africa shores, I fore­see a se­ri­ous de­mand and bid­ding by those with deep pock­ets for this spe­cial car.

● Ed­i­tor’s note: We un­der­stand that the en­tire ship­ment of six-cylin­der Polestars has found own­ers and Volvo has an­nounced an all-new Polestar, with AWD and a sim­i­lar­pow­ered (but more eco­nom­i­cal) four­cylin­der turbo mo­tor, will de­but in SA later this year. Which means the six-cylin­der will be­come a col­lec­tor’s item

The Volvo Polestar will have the ma­jor Ger­man play­ers wor­ried.

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