A lot of people might think that there is no such thing as a “sexy” SUV. Obviously, they have never come face-to-face with Volvo’s midsized XC60. Maybe it was the lipstick red color of our test vehicle, maybe it was the fact that every time I looked at the car, the cut line of the car’s greenhouse reminded me of the throat line of a pair of fine red stiletto heels. An image that was enhanced by the car’s obviously uplifted derriere. A sexy Volvo? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Many people have long associated Volvos with cable knit sweaters and Briar pipes. The new XC60 is not that kind of Volvo. Our test vehicle was the top of the model line T6 AWD dressed out in the R-Design trim level.
It’s always a good sign for any vehicle when multiple strangers comment, “Pretty car!” It’s an even better sign when my husband makes the same comment. This hard nosed, hard to impress, oh a car is just a way to keep the trees going by man continued his praise the first time he rode in the car, “Nice seats. No, really nice seats.” Rest assured he had no idea those seats included Volvo’s trademark WHIP’s System (whiplash protection. And of course it would not be a Volvo, if the vehicle was not equipped with a cadre of air bags: everything from side impact seating level bags to an air curtain that protects the head area.
Cranking the 300 turbo charged engine involves inserting a large fob in a dash-mounted slot and then depressing a start/stop button.
The first thing that drew my attention was a message in the center dash mounted information system. After a bit of searching around, I determined that the nav system included a remote control feature. My first thought was why? Was this just one more remote I could misplace? But on further analysis, I realized that it afforded the passengers the option of operating the nav system that definitely would reduce driver distractions. It also gives a whole new meaning to the term “back seat driver.”
Both front and real seats were supportive, roomy and comfortable. The rear storage area was quite spacious, allowing for transport of most any normal shopping or small project items.
In addition to sexy good looks, the new XC60 also has remarkably sports car like handling, and the performance oriented suspension couples nicely to the torquey performance of the 3.0 liter 6 cylinder. We found that we really had to watch ourselves to keep from finding ourselves cruising nicely at upwards of 80 mph. The car has an effortless élan to its performance.
And of course the safety conscious Volvo is complete with all wheel drive, 4-wheel power assist brakes with ventilated rotors as part of its ABS braking system, dynamic stability traction control and attention grabbing enormous stylized LED tail lights.
Our test vehicle’s visual élan was reinforced by the R-Design elements that included: killer 20” spoke wheels mounted with all weather tires, the sports chassis, dual chrome tailpipes/chrome plated skid plat, color matched lower body moldings, Blue Watch Dial Instrument cluster, silk metal grill w/R-Design logo and sport contoured seats wrapped in R-Design specific leather seating surfaces w/accent inserts. The R-Design logo is embossed on the front seats. Finishing out the “R-Design” package are aluminum sports pedals, an R-Design aluminum center stack and perforated leather sport steering wheel and gearshift knob.
The car’s base price was $41,550, but two hefty option packages added over $5000 to the price. The first, the multimedia package included a Dynaudio Premium Sound System with Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound, real time traffic info – DVD map data and that unique remote control operation capability, and finally a rear park assist camera.
On rear park assist camera’s I would like to note even though they are sometimes pricy, I really think they are money well spent. They just have to save you one backup accident and odds are they will more than pay for themselves. A crushed back hatch on any SUV or mini-van can quickly turn into a multiple thousand-dollar repair.
The second half of our test vehicle’s option package was the Climate Package: heated front and rear seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, high pressure headlamp cleaning system, rain sensor wipers, interior air quality system, technology package, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, collision warning with auto brake.
Another item of note is “City Safety.” Utilizing a short-range infrared rangefinder, this system can detect an imminent low-speed frontal impact at up to 19 mph and either minimize the impact or avoid it entirely by automatically applying the XC60′s brakes.
Other safety options include a driver alert system and a heartbeat monitor that can detect intruders inside the vehicle.
Just a couple of comments on a few of the technology features. Driving in an unfamiliar area while searching for an address that was too remote to show up on the nav system, all of a sudden, the XC60 suggested via a dash cluster mounted display that I take a break and have a cup of coffee. Ah, the driver alert system. Upon researching this situation, I learned it was because the XC60 was observing my driving habits. It detected inconsistencies in my driving routine. While my inconsistence where actually slowing occasionally to check a street sign, the car thought I might be dozing off. Now what will really get your attention is the collision warning with auto brake. I guess the car thought that I had gotten a bit too close to a turning vehicle, actually it was probably set off because the XC60 was cornering better than the vehicle ahead through the corner, because all of a sudden there was flurry of ringing tones and blinking lights that would have put any pinball machine to shame. This all took place in a discrete rectangle mounted between the instrument cluster and the windshield. Trust my, this is one feature that no one could ignore.
In summation, we give the XC60 our highest accolade. That of being a vehicle that we hate to see leave our driveway. Great styling, sports car like performance and combined fuel mileage of 23 mpg tugged at our heartstrings.
Yep, the XC60 is one sexy Volvo? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
- Horsepower: 300 hp / 325 lb. ft. of torque
- Mileage: 16 city/ 21 highway
- Price as tested: $47,800
- Seating capacity: five
- Recommended fuel: regular