Rarely do I look at a small crossover SUV and think, “Hmm, that’s
mighty sexy.” Rarer still do I see one of these ubiquitous family
haulers moving with the agility of a sports sedan. Add to that rarity a
semblance of an attractive interior and you have something special.
This Volvo XC60 is a rare breed indeed for it is magnificence in nearly every way.
a bunch of Swedes did not pay me off in herring. I merely speak the
truth and many automotive writers agree. Volvo did an amazing job with
styling this vehicle. The swoopy lines are very appealing to the eye
while maintaining a connection to Volvo’s overall styling. There is a
strong design language that I hope shows a glimpse into Volvo’s
thinking in the future. The tail is my favorite, sculpted component –
shapely, elegant and functional.
back up the sleek looks of Volvo’s XC60, my tester received the beefy,
turbocharged 281 horsepower (making 295 lbs feet of torque) inline
6-cylinder engine. This power-plant’s output and performance makes the
XC60 more than competitive with the likes of Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi,
Lexus and Infiniti. There is a normally aspirated 6-cylinder which
produces nearly 50 horsepower less but gets 18 mpg city and 27 mpg
highway (whereas the turbo gets 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway). I
averaged a sub-mediocre 15 mpg – keep in mind I speed more often than
governors have extramarital affairs.
It’s funny to me that Volvo
builds such undercover speed-demons like this XC60 as they are known
for safety. There are MANY electronic nannies aboard the Volvo XC60
including the worlds first City Safety auto-braking feature – standard.
This system can detect a vehicle stopped in front of you, prime the
brakes and even HIT the brakes to stop you before you rear-end the car
Great for driving and texting in city traffic.
sampled this system (using Volvo supplied cones that simulate a
vehicle’s rear radar signature – – NOT a real car). It’s uncanny and
will stop you as long as you are traveling under 18 mph, typical speeds
reached in stop-and-go traffic. I had to try several times to prevent
my instincts for pressing the brakes, it worked surprisingly well and I
never hit the cones.
BUT – there is a catch!
If there is a person that runs in
front of your XC60, it will NOT stop automatically. This includes:
bicyclists, joggers, parents pushing obnoxious/space consuming
side-by-side strollers, CARS TURNING ahead (not enough surface area to
register I’d wager) and just about anything that won’t reflect infrared
back to the Volvo XC60. If you are attempting to impress your friends
and aim for a trashcan, you WILL NOT STOP.
I shut off a majority
of other safety systems like the lane departure system as it was
irritating (I swerve on purpose). Other electronic commands take some
getting used to mastering as there are many buttons and settings. I
recommend reading the book.
Ah, the interior. Such beauty, such
sophistication and what an amazing view out of the optional, massive
panoramic sun roof. Seriously, next to the floating center console and
grained, multi tone leather treatment I was in awe of the combined
presentation. It is a feast for the eyes and oozes tactile satisfaction.
Save for one thing-
aforementioned floating center console (which was a delightfully
colored bamboo-like color in mine) is great to look at and sucks to sit
near, if you are over 6 feet tall. I am constantly hitting the side of
this thing with my right knee and it became downright uncomfortable.
During spirited driving, I really nailed myself while taking a corner
and my right leg jerked. Not the thing you want to have happen while
Otherwise, I was fairly comfortable and (as a parent) I
simply thrill at the 2 rear integrated booster seats in the back. They
are a snap to use and my 4-year-old loves using them. Simply pull the
latch, lift up the seat, adjust and ta-da! No bulky, pain in the neck
child seat needed.
Driving impressions? This is a good driving
machine with good cornering reflexes for a vehicle that’s about 9
inches off the ground. It will stick and cornering transitions are
fairly predictable. I attempted to upset its balance by keeping it in
gear (the 6-speed automatic transmission has a manual mode that will
hold gears – to a point) and forcing boost and rpm to kick in at the
absolute apex of a particular corner. It wallowed and squealed a bit,
but composure was never lost. The ride is a hair stiff and the engine
noise is a tad more pronounced than some of the competition. It is
still a confident, comfortable ride that imparts more sport than squish.
with my idiotic antics, the Volvo XC60 T6 AWD remained resolute in its
quest for safe yet sprightly performance. Cranking punk-rock through
the awesome 650 watt Dolby® Surround Pro Logic® II surround sound
stereo system seemed superfluous for such a well buttoned machine. The
music made me want more speed and there was plenty to be had.
was able to coax consistent 0 to 60 times of a tick over 7 seconds.
Quarter mile times were just as consistent at a hair over 15 seconds.
Both times are very good for a vehicle that weighs 4,174 lbs. What’s
not as easy to record is the feel of this thing at launch and how
powerfully it yanks itself out of a corner. That turbo and the AWD
system pour on the juice and keep things sane in nearly every situation.
It’s love from Sweden baby!
Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car
sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out
of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to
enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com
page HERE. Photos by: N.D.