Volvo’s Concept Wagon: Is It for Consumers or Journalists?

The world needs as many brown wagons as it can handle.

Scandinavia sure knows how to keep things interesting. First, they’ve decided to turn reindeer antlers into roving discotheques. Now, they’ve created a concept car for the Geneva Auto Show. But it’s not just any car – it’s a brown, two-door wagon. Who are they building cars for – journalists or consumers?

We get the Jeep Patriot and the BMW X3, two SUVs that have as much to do with utility as your author does with English tort law.

If you’re unaware, we auto journalists are a bit of a weird sort. We see the inherent value in many types of cars that consumers simply do not; whether that spawns from our lifelong obsession with wheeled vehicles, or from our delusional realization that we know better than everybody else on the planet, two things are for certain: Cars need to be brown, and they need to be wagons. The two things we rarely get are the two things we want most.

Clearly, it’s counter to consumer buying trends – in America, at least. Everybody else gets cool wagons. We do not. We get the Jeep Patriot and the BMW X3, two SUVs that have as much to do with utility as your author does with English tort law. What a surprise it was, then, when Volvo announced the Concept Estate, a car that was shown off at the Geneva Auto Show.

Volvo Concept Estate
Volvo Concept Estate
Volvo Concept Estate

Volvo already put out a concept similar to this last year, the Concept Coupe. It drew heavily from the old Volvo P1800, a brilliant car, and one close to the heart of auto journalists everywhere. To make it even better, Volvo promised that were it going to production, it would be a plug-in hybrid with about 400 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.

If there’s another thing we love, it’s high-powered hybrids. Consumers, not so much; PHEV sales aren’t making up big chunks of automakers’ sales, and the only high-powered hybrid offerings are expensive sports cars at the moment (again, not a big chunk of any automaker’s sales).

Volvo Concept Coupe
Volvo Concept Coupe
Volvo Concept Coupe

Given the differences in preference between actual buyers and the people that are tasked with writing about the cars, it’s safe to say that Volvo isn’t releasing these concepts for its buyers so much as it is for the auto journalists. After all, we’re the first line of communication with potential buyers, as many read our opinions before purchasing. And if there’s one good way to get an auto journalist excited about hyping a brand, it’s releasing a concept that appeals to our inner child. Like, for instance, a brown wagon with half the power of a McLaren P1.

Of course, Volvo is aware that segments of the buying public do actually jive with our affinity for wagons, power, more wagons, and more power. That’s why they are releasing the V60 Polestar, a wagon (albeit a blue one) with 345 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque, Öhlins shocks and six-pot Brembo brakes. Volvo also recognizes that this is a small segment, and so only 120 examples of the V60 Polestar will be available for purchase.

Volvo V60 Polestar

Either way, Volvo is doing something right, because here we are, typing up a story about its latest concept reveal. 

Written by Lewis Shaw

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