You Can't Be Afraid of Color - 2012 Volvo S60 T5 Long-Term Road Test

2012 Volvo S60 Long-Term Road Test

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2012 Volvo S60 T5: You Can't Be Afraid of Color

August 24, 2011

Volvo Color.jpg

Buying a car isn't like buying a new dress shirt or a snazzy pair of socks, the color you pick (or settle for at a reduced cost because it's on the lot and you're anxious to buy) is something you have to live with for years. YEARS. You have to do it right.

Which is why I'm so happy with the Vibrant Copper Metallic paint on our Volvo S60. Life's too short for boring colors, especially if the car you're thinking about is available in any shade of orange. (The only real reason to not buy your car in orange is that something cooler is available, Like Green with Envy.) Colored cars (we're not counting silver, white or black as colors today. Nor is that mostly silver blueish color) stad out and say something about the driver.

Though there is one thing you have to remember about color apart from the potentially reduced resale: Strangers will think you're approachable and want to talk....

It happened all the time in our Viper. Stop to park and someone would inevitably come try to chat about this or that. It never happened in a non-orange Viper I spent a good deal of time with. Not once. Maybe people don't see cars when they're white or silver or some other appliance-grade hue people buy to "hide dirt," or maybe they see color and think something to the tune of, "Hey, that guy's got an orange car! My cat's orange! He'll want to talk."

At least, this is what I assume the thought process was for the woman I (figuratively) ran into just the other day.

Here's how it went: I'm going to a shoe store in one of LA's many, many strip malls when I'm forced to park a few doors away from my destination in front of a health food store. Even for a health food store, this place is off. They've got free samples of fruit spreads and jams, strange gels and creams lining the walkway in front of the store. I try to avoid it because the guy who works there always looks so excited as I'm approaching, and then so disappointed as I walk past without any plant-based liquid sweetener. (Not that I'm against stevia, it's better than the chemical alternatives, but that doesn't mean I want a dropper-full squirted in my mouth as I pass by like some sort of diabetic bird.)

So I park the Volvo and notice that there are no tables outside. No lotions to share or preservative-free food ripening in the sunlight. And then, as soon as I think I'm in the clear, BAM! The lady from the store-- one I've never seen before-- is outside and at my passenger door.

(The following is as close to verbatim as I can recall. This entire exhange took somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds.)

"WHAT IS THIS COLOR?"

"Orange? Metallic Orange?"

"Omigod. I need this. What kind of car is this?"

"It's a Volvo."

"And they come in orange?"

"I have to assume so, yes."

"And you didn't do this yourself?"

"Nope. Right off the boat this way."

"What boat? So I can buy this color car?"

"Yes. You ca..."

"Your plate matches the car!"

"Ok."

"It matches. They're both orange. I love this. Is it for sale?"

"The plate?

"Does it come with the car?"

"I don't think this car's for sale. Also, the plate is from New Jersey."

At this point her sugar syrup must've worn off because she was no longer dancing around the car, admiring the orange paint from every angle.

"New Jersey? Could I register my car there to get the plates?"

At this point I tell her that it's probably a good idea, but she should call the DMV first to clarify. (I figure the DMV deserves that for everything they've put me through in life.) She thanks me, tries to sell me something that woud "help someone like you" and then retreats to the door of her shop without turning away from the car.

When I came back she smiled, waved and yelled that she really liked the color.

Somehow, I just don't see this happening with a black Volvo.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com

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