All the anxiety over which horribly-executed Chinese car would land in U.S. dealerships first appears to have been all for naught. Why? Volvo — owned by Chinese automaker Geely — will be the first manufacturer to offer a model assembled in China, and there’s a chance that its potential customers may barely notice.
The car will be a long-wheelbase version of its mid-size offering, dubbed S60L. The extra 3.2 inches of wheelbase gives more stretch-out room in the back seat, and while pricing hasn’t been announced, Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo Car Group CEO, did confirm it’ll hit the U.S. very soon.
“We are not talking about 2020. We are talking about next year,” said Samuelsson.
As a bonus, the S60L will exclusively be sold here as a plug-in hybrid. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has 238 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque, while the electric motor has 68 horsepower and 148 pounds-feet of torque. The plug-in-hybrid is expected to have a maximum electric range of 31 miles, with a total range of around 620 miles. But the performance hasn’t been ignored either: the car should hit 60 mph from rest in around 5.5 seconds, helped by its standard all-wheel drive.
Stretched versions of compact and mid-size luxury sedans are all the rage in China, although few have made it to the United States yet. BMW’s pair of GT hatchbacks are sold globally, but really are “China cars,” as is Infiniti’s new long-wheelbase Q70L.