We like Sweden, right? Putting aside the tropes of meatballs and bikini teams (just for a moment), Sweden is well known for its design ethos and, yes, for cars. Well two car makers. Okay, one car maker. Saab has pretty much come and gone and come and gone, but what about Volvo?
Volvo’s heyday was best described by Dudley Moore, “They’re boxy but they’re good.” Accurate and honest. Indeed, many gentlemen motorists of a certain generation were raised on hand-me-down 240s and 740s. They were not exceptional, but they were quintessential examples of safety and simplicity. And they were Swedish. Really, Swedish. Like Lingonberry jam Swedish. No, more like Ikea and Beowulf Swedish. Indeed, one would feel quite at home using a Volvo wagon to deliver sleek, affordable flat-pack furniture to a mead hall.
Then Ford took over, making Volvos that were sort of boring and gummy—like Swedish Fish.
Now, Volvo is owned by a Chinese company called Geely. And Volvo has chosen to promote its pulchritudinous progeny through a savvy marketing campaign that is best described as Robyn. Robyn was a much better choice of celebrity spokesperson than the Swedish Chef, who—by the way—Toyota already signed to promote the new Highlander. So we can hang with Robyn, but what about the cars?
They are better. Need proof? Geely is introducing Polestar—Volvo’s collaborator in its official motorsport program—to the U.S. for the 2015 model year. Historically, Volvo has toyed with the idea of performance in their R spec models and occasional turbos. Yet those efforts always seemed like an afterthought. Safety first and what not. But a legit performance sub-line a-la Quattro, M, and AMG? “Are you not entertained?”
If you remain unimpressed, Volvo has one more bullet in the chamber—design. Check out the teased images for the interior in 2015 XC90 below. Mama Mia! Look at the wood, the leather. Very simple, very sophisticated. And the tones are spot on. Also, check out the textured surface of the switch gear. Are you kidding? These are some of the better interior flourishes this side of Bentley and Rolls-Royce...IN A VOLVO!
Now, what to make of the new Volvos. Can gentlemen motorists “rock” the new Volvo, or will these new Volvos keep dancing on their own? Well, Volvo’s appellation is Latin, so that is good start. And the logo is the very symbol of masculinity. But the Gentleman Motorist will reserve judgment until he takes one for a spin. That said, if these glimpses of the new Volvo are a sign of things to come, then one can fly their Swedish flag with pride. Or at least subtly in the stitching of their Volvo’s fine leather seats.
 We can also ignore the Gevalia coffee guy, whose gentlemanly attire and diction are belied by his Nelsonesque hair.
 Well three if you count Koenigsegg. But who can afford one?
 Is it over or is it still going? Saab seems to be doing its best James Brown impersonation these days.
 From the movie Crazy People.
 Full disclosure: The Gentleman Motorist’s first car was a 240 named Victor. And he was a respectable chap. Victor is not pictured here.
 Full full disclosure: The Gentleman Motorist’s father once owned a 740. That 740 had no name. Having owned a Porsche, the Gentleman Motorist’s father was not as doting and sentimental over the 740. The Gentleman Motorist’s father was a wise man.
 The Gentleman Motorist challenges you to name anyone who is passionate about Ford era Volvos or Swedish Fish. Good luck.
 No, not Marcus Samuelson. Jim Henson’s creation.
 One assumes that Christopher Lambert was not available. Honestly, there can only be one spokesperson for the Highlander. Come on!
 So it is unlikely that Polestar Volvos will be true competition against the those Teutonic titans. But it is certainly a step in the right direction. Even if just for the sweet badge and paint.
 A Maximus quote from Gladiator is particularly appropriate for Volvo, as you will see by the end of this post.
 Like Abba, not like the stereotypical Italian-American expression.
 For those readers devoid of classical education, volvo is Latin for “I rotate.” Having a Latin name? Awesome. Having a stupid Latin name? Questionable. Right, Maximus? Ita vero.