Are Volvo's Good Cars?by William Zane
Volvo was founded in 1927 by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson. The two concepts of safety and quality were an important aspect of the company from the time it was created. There are examples of Volvos that have over 500,000 miles that are still being used. One of the reasons the cars are so durable is because they were engineered for the harsh Swedish climate.
Volvos have always been safe cars, though this began to become particularly true when the company introduced the 120 model, also known as the Amazon. In 1959, the Amazon and the already in-production PV544 were equipped with three-point safety belts (rather than the two-point lap belt), which was a world first. Over the years, Volvo has won nine Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards.
Volvo was an early pioneer of energy-resistant crumple zones, which are areas in a car's structure that are designed to crumple in the event of an accident. Innovations like these have helped Volvo score impressively high when it comes to crash testing.
Volvo was one of the first companies to develop rear-facing child seats, padded dashboards and side collision protection. Volvos also were some of the first cars to feature collapsible steering columns, which as the name suggests, will collapse in an accident rather than harming the occupants.
Alhough over the years Volvo has been associated more with safety innovations, recent models like the 850 and newer S40 have begun to compete with brands such as BMW and Audi, which are perceived by the public as more sporty.
The Swedish engineering that goes into Volvos is as top-notch as any high-end European brand, and as such these are very high quality cars. They also have a strong dealer network, so buying and maintaining a Volvo is an easy task.