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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I'm starting to compile a portfolio of reviews I write so hopefully soon I can get my own column in a local newspaper or do some independent stuff for magazines. This is the first one I wrote. I am very appreciative of all feedback and suggestions. Thank you.

2004 Volvo S60 R - Long Term Road Test

Volvo. Many things too many people. To some, a simple box to hold your airbags. To others, a square for squares. And to others, a classy, luxurious European luxury vehicle. However, my opinion reflects a much more diluted vision of the legendary marquee. In my long term road test, lasting one and a half years, I have had nothing but misfortune.

Between repeated low-profile tire destruction from pot holes and consistent "loosening" of suspension components (therefore preventing failure of inspection both years I have been driving it), it has been a money pit to rival Lindsay Lohan's jail bailout expenses. I suppose I should state at this point what model I have been so "fortunate" to pay for. FYI it IS true what they say about European repair costs.

In 2003 Volvo put into production a new sports-sedan to go head-to-head with the BMW M3, Audi S4, and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG" for the 2004 model year. They dubbed it the S60 R, the R being a throwback to the legendary and truly great 850R of the nineties. It ran through to the 2007 model year and was pretty well a commercial success at only $40,000 with all options, (far less than its Germanic targets). However, as I have come to realize with my 2004 6-speed manual model, is that it costs less for MANY reasons.

Let us start with the "sport" part of the "sport-sedan" moniker. The R's are equipped with a 2.5 liter inline 5-cylinder high-pressure turbocharged engine with variable valve timing, twin intercoolers, 4 valves per cylinder, dual exhaust, 6-speed close ratio transmission, and a traction control system with 3 distinct settings. It may all look impressive, yet it only manages to squeeze out a measly 300bhp and 295lb.tq, far less then its German counterparts (and they manage it without boost). This may be adequate for most but not when Volvo is specifically aiming for the high-end autos. It can manage (with the best of drivers) a 0-60mph time of 5.5 seconds but it just doesn't feel that quick, especially with its considerable girth of 3600lbs. It is even electronically limited to 130mph which you will manage to reach before you even get into 6th and final gear. There are several positives but they are few and far between; for instance, the power delivery is very smooth and linear and just a flex of your big toe will get you right up to speed on the highway as there is much grunt through the entire rev-range. As far as the "handling" is concerned, well, there isn't much. Volvo engineers tried to add some appeal through the addition and three little "Comfort" "Sport" and "Advanced" buttons on atop the dash that instantly change the shock damping and rebound as well as sharpen throttle response. Unfortunately these are as useful as a NASCAR driver. "Comfort" is much too soft and floaty to be used at all as any mid-turn bump will practically throw you out of control as the car bounces and flobbers around. "Advanced" is FAR too bumpy for normal roads, especially here in New England, though it does provide the best steering response and almost no roll through turns for when you do find a smooth enough piece of road. I occasionally put it in "Advanced" just to pretend I'm in a more performance oriented vehicle. "Sport" is the setting that will be engaged 99% of the time as it's a decent compromise between the other two options but that makes me wonder what the hell the point of the other settings is if you never use them. And don't even get me started on how much it costs to fix this whole system *cough $5000.00 minimum cough*. The ONLY genuinely brilliant aspects of this car's "performance" are the MASSIVE 4-piston Brembo brakes with huge vented rotors on all corners. These goliaths will stop this cow in less distance then most Ferraris and require plastic surgery to reapply your face after stomping the middle pedal with enough vigor. But again, what is the point of these if you don't have enough power to achieve speeds where you really need to use their full effectiveness.

Lastly, the "sedan" aspect of the "sport-sedan" moniker. Well… it's typical Volvo fair here. Very nearly the best seats I've ever experienced (short of the Ferrari F430 Scuderia and Audi S5). THE best stereo I have ever been gifted enough to listen to. And, I think, the best looking and well laid out interior of any other vehicle I've seen. Unfortunately, none of these praises are exclusive to the R model and are standard features on all new Volvos.

I have no doubt that this car could be great with an ECU tune and aftermarket Sway-Bars but in stock form it feels as motivated and complete and a Paris Hilton sentence and built with the passion of a PB&J sandwich. When it all comes down to it, if you want a car that drives like and M3 then buy an M3. If you want a fast Volvo (often an oxymoron to most) then by all means purchase the R. Just remember one thing though, at the end of the day, when you are at the bar chatting up a pretty lady, she may ask what you drive…
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Good shot and nice reflection on your experiences with your car, but I'll be "that guy":

That would never touch a newspaper column or a magazine. It's a great attempt, but all you basically do is bash the car throughout, with personal bias tainting the whole thing. It's something that belongs on edmunds or carsurvey under the user reviews. It has some valuable insight, but it doesn't have the logical flow and informative content that one would expect in a really good car review. It's nothing but bias, celebrity whore jokes, and shots at the car...good things, but not what authors get paid to write.

Overall, I think it's great you want to get into the car review business, but it requires a lot of homework, research, and attention to detail. If I were you, I would read 100's of reviews and go from there.
 

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read part of it, you are trying to hard imo, no need for fancy words and what not, a senctence that sticks out to me is "to others a luxurious classy euro lux vehicle", somewhat redundant, also the loosening of suspension prevents failure? is that a dub negative or am i crazy? seems like you put some good effort into this, and im not trying to bring ya down in any way, just constructive criticism.

also seems to me like you were expecting much more than the car is, its no m3, as a 93 aero isnt an m3, while theyre both euro lux, they arent intended for the same purposes, imo.
 

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I have no doubt that this car could be great with an ECU tune and aftermarket Sway-Bars but in stock form it feels as motivated and complete and a Paris Hilton sentence and built with the passion of a PB&J sandwich.
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Longest run-on sentence ever.
 

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Too many run on sentences, poor vocabulary, unnecessary use of capitals (IT, THE), and very biased. You talk about how much it costs to keep the car running on the introduction, but you barely touch it on the main body. You mention how the suspension got loose as the car aged, but didn't think that had anything to do with the poor handling.

When comparing cars across a target range (S60R vs M3 vs S4 vs C63 AMG) you have to do it when the cars are new. To compare them used you should drive a used version of every car with comparable mileage too.

Doing a used car review is completely different from doing a new car review. Look st a magazine like Top Gear that has a few cars on their long term fleet and see how they do it.

As far as word choice, try not to embellish things too much. Don't write catch words and phrases unless you know what you are writing. At one point you wrote" it’s typical Volvo fair here". The correct word would be fare, not fair. Both are pronounced the same but they mean different things, and your computer's spell checker won't catch it.

I say you did a good effort but it need work. Take some creative writing classes and let the teacher know you want to write car reviews. A good teacher will take you from there and help you succeed. I say take some technical writing classes as well. On top of that, practice, practice, practice. The more reviews you write the more experience you will have.

Doing what you did here and posting it here for scrutiny takes balls: you got your criticism, now run with it and better yourself.
 

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a money pit because you kept having to replace your tires? maybe dont hit pot holes as much? stupid to say a car is a money pit just cause you replaced tires due to your pot hole happy style driving
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good shot and nice reflection on your experiences with your car, but I'll be "that guy":

That would never touch a newspaper column or a magazine. It's a great attempt, but all you basically do is bash the car throughout, with personal bias tainting the whole thing. It's something that belongs on edmunds or carsurvey under the user reviews. It has some valuable insight, but it doesn't have the logical flow and informative content that one would expect in a really good car review. It's nothing but bias, celebrity whore jokes, and shots at the car...good things, but not what authors get paid to write.

Overall, I think it's great you want to get into the car review business, but it requires a lot of homework, research, and attention to detail. If I were you, I would read 100's of reviews and go from there.
Well as I'm a strong follower of Jeremy Clarkson, I tend to tell it how it is. He is very likely the most famous auto writer in the world and he has had the balls to say what's needed ever since his start and now look at him. Many people respect honesty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
a money pit because you kept having to replace your tires? maybe dont hit pot holes as much? stupid to say a car is a money pit just cause you replaced tires due to your pot hole happy style driving
Around where I live you can't drive more than 20 without hitting some sort of fucked up pavement.
 

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Well as I'm a strong follower of Jeremy Clarkson, I tend to tell it how it is. He is very likely the most famous auto writer in the world and he has had the balls to say what's needed ever since his start and now look at him. Many people respect honesty.
Like others said, it takes balls to post what you did. Just continue reading, practicing, and working and you'll get there eventually. Just know that people want an informative review of a car. To provide that, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the population that is most likely to buy the model (the target market) and evaluate the car on the factors that those people find important. Doing that and adding a personal touch is the winning combination. Just going on a rant, cracking jokes, and tainting the whole thing with bias doesn't help anything though.

Also, publications will want to know who you are and how that translates into credibility. People like mechanics, former racers, auto sellers, or parts distributors would have a big advantage over the regular, average joe.
 

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Geee that is SO constructive *sarcasm cough*.
If you are planning on getting reviews published, I think your grammar needs to improve... That's all. Typo's, lack of punctuation, etc. are not good signs. I could have nit picked a lot more, but I chose not to.

I honestly think you are just trying too hard to sound like Clarkson. The thing is, you are trying to make it sound fancy and pompous, but you're failing with spelling and punctuation. Don't try so hard, and it might be ok.
 

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I think its a great review but im just some regular guy, im not a publishing company.
You'll be fine, its a great review. I do agree that just because tires blow the car isnt a money pit.
Its the fault of the city for not fixing the pot holes. Maybe you should try to avoid them, or get a thicker sidewall tire to absorb impact.
 
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