Volvos are known for being among the safest cars on the planet. Apart from the strong and sturdy structure of these vehicles, the company also invented the three-point seatbelt that has saved countless lives over the years. But besides its top-notch safety record, the brand also has a reputation as a formidable maker of family cars, particularly the station wagon. As we prepare for the introduction of the new V90 wagon on February 18, we look back at the Swedish carmaker's estate models through the decades.
The brand’s love affair with the family transporter dates back to 1953, when the Volvo Duett was revealed to the world. This wagon was so popular that it even got its own postage stamp in 1957. And it was the car that brought Volvo into the land of the free and the home of the brave, the United States.
The Duett’s popularity was followed up in 1962 by the Amazon, or 221 in Volvo-speak. This model was renowned for its strong (at the time) 115hp motor and a split-type rear door that set the standard for many modern tailgates today.
The 1800 ES is one of the most iconic Volvos of all time. First seen in 1971, the ES is the wagon version of the sporty 1800 coupe. This particular variant introduced the world to the shooting-brake body style--a design that had enough room for hunting gear or golf clubs--playthings of many gentlemen who bought the car during that time. The overall look was so timeless that it even inspired the Volvo Concept Estate of 2014.
Remember those boxy old Volvo station wagons used in many movies and television shows? That’s the cult-classic 245 that first saw daylight in 1974. The design was so strong that it stayed in production for almost 20 years, spawning a V6 265 variant and even a turbo model in the 1980s. The latter has the distinction of being the world’s very first turbo-powered station wagon.
If there’s one Volvo wagon that many of us still aspire to attain, it has got to be the 850 T5-R. Imagine a 0-100kph time of just 6.9 seconds, an engine output of 240hp, and an exclusive yellow paint job. This car isn’t your typical soccer mom-mobile. In fact, the 850 T5-R was so cool that in 1994 (the same year it was launched), it was entered in the British Touring Car Championship as the very first wagon straight from the factory.
The all-new V90 wagon actually traces its roots to the 960 of 1990. The roomy wagon was later renamed the V90 in 1996. And now, the nameplate is set to return exactly 20 years later. Sure, it may not have been the prettiest of wagons. Some people have even described it as looking like a hearse. Yet no one can deny that this estate, like other Volvo wagons before it, has a classic and timeless appeal.