THE VOLVO 144S ROAD-TEST REPORT

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Having been an enthusiastic subscriber to MOTOR SPORT for many years now, I feel I must take you to task Over your Road Impressions of the Volvo 144S, since I have concluded from this that it is MOTOR Srottr that is losing its lead and not A.B. Volvo.

In drawing conclusions after what is apparently a very brief acquaintence with the Volvo you do Our readers a dis-service since you, Sir, MUSE know that it is only after continual use of a car that you really appreciate its. Virtues; its vices are apparent from the outset.

1, too, made up a short list recently for a family -saloon in the up to £1,500 bracket, and set out a table awarding points for (a) performance:,which includes road-holding in all conditions and weather), (b) reliability, (c) quality and finish, (d) all-round comfort, and (e) durability and service, which includes availability of parts, etc. In addition to the Rover 2000TC and Triumph 2900, I tested and sought owners’ opinions on the B.M.W. 1800 and the fuel injection Peugeot. Other cars in the price range were selfeliminating or had already been owned and -found not up to standard. I endeavoured to suppress my .bias, having owned, along with other cars, a 122S Volvo for the past ti’ve years, but the 144 Volvo came out clearly the overall winner. Although not always top on individual headings, the Volvo total was clearly ahead of the B.M.W. with the remainder scoring almost identical totals below. I found the Rover 2000TC engine rough, the gear change and steering heavy and the accommodation cramped for my requirements. However, I cannot speak from real experience since, a3 mentioned, a period of ownership is the only real way to learn about a car. I therefore offer to exchange my two-month-old 144S Volvo with overdrive (I suggest that your test car did not have this) for your Rover, for an agreed period so that we can then compa:e views at a later date. [Never!—En.]

As one has come to expect from your excellent magazine, your write-up on the Volvo is concise and covers a good many aspects of the car in an efficient use of the English language. The majority of your comments are accurate, certain critisisms valid, hut I should like to make the following comments from my own experience.

1. Fuel consumption. I ,get in excess of 25 m.p.g.—possibly the overdrive accounts for the difference in your 21.8.

2. Visibility. Surely the Rover in your photograph has far wider screen pillars!

3. The front scats are adjustable for height as well; yours must have been set low.

4. Screen wiper and wisher controls. Once you get used to one switch operating the two-speed wipers and the washers, I am sure you will agree that this is an excellent arrangement. Anyway the knob is quite clearly marked as to its use.

5. Ventilation. I, and other 144 owners, agree that the car does need facia level vents for upper ventilation and we hope that Volvo will do something about this.

6. Facia locker. I think you will find that this is designed to collapse under impact and therefore may be considered crashproof. 7. Gear change. I can recollect your commenting in a previous issue that you preferred the sweeping gear change of the 122 Volvo to a good many remote-control boxes—does this change and your present preference for ” quieter engine and doors and nicer seats ” mean that you are getting old, Sir? [I am not getting younger; but I have always preferred a good remote change to a normally situated lever.—En.]

8. Filler cap. There is available an excellent locking device for the filler cap which is operated from the boot. This is manufactured by Volvo and costs 25s.

You have omitted to mention the turbine-like smoothness of this unburstable engine which is good for at least 100,000 miles, the turning circle smaller than that Of a Mini, the ample space for five adults, the dual braking system and she laminated screen. I could go on, but you might think that I am biased.

Chelsfield. R. H. RICHARDS.