The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2010 Volvo XC60 Review

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2010 Volvo XC60

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

MORE: 2010 Volvo XC60 Unveiling at 2008 Geneva Auto Show - Video Enhanced
MORE: Volvo Announces 2010 Volvo XC60 Pricing

The Auto Page
By John Heilig
The Auto Channel

2010 Volvo XC60 AWD

Model: 2010 Volvo XC60 AWD
Engine: 3.0-liter /DOHC inline 6
Horsepower/Torque: 281 hp @ 5,600 rpm/297 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed driver-adaptive automatic
Wheelbase: 109.2 in.
Length/Width/Height: 182.2 x 74.4 x 67.4 in.
Tires: 235/60-R18
Cargo volume: 30.8/67.4 cu. ft. (seats up/down)
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway (est.)
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.
Sticker Price: Base Model Under $40,000

The Bottom Line: Volvo’s new XC60 crossover is an excellent package, as might be expected from Volvo. It is a decent size (one hesitates to call it a stylish wagon), has excellent power and road manners, and comes with a wealth of safety features, including City Safety, that is an amazing new technology designed to eliminate low-speed crashes.

Volvo is jumping with both feet into the burgeoning crossover market with its new XC60. The XC nomenclature indicates that the new vehicle might be classified as a sport utility, but it’s closer to a wagon in size and Volvo has chosen ”crossover” as its market.

Intended to compete with the BMW X3 and the Infiniti FX, the XC60 displays beautiful styling with a rounded theme that would shock some old Volvo fans. Externally, the XC60 is striking, even though all the vehicles in our test group were the same color.

In fact, we stopped along the introduction route to take some pictures with the Pacific Ocean in the background. While we were parked there, a California Highway Patrol car (Expedition) showed up. The officer asked about all the same-color Volvos he had seen coming at him. We explained that this was the introduction of the car, allowed him to kick the tires and look around, and made good relations with the CHiPs. We may have even sold a car.

The XC60 is equipped with Volvo’s 3.0-liter inline six engine developing 281 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. With a curb weight of slightly over 4100 pounds, this was more than enough power to get us in trouble, if we looked for it.

We had to be cautious, though, as we were driving European-spec cars with metric speedometers. We were constantly calculating what 110 kph meant in mph (68.2), so we generally tried to stay with traffic and be “invisible.” 0A

One feature of the Euro-spec cars was the convex rearview mirror on the driver’s side. We’ve become accustomed to the one on the passenger side, but on the driver’s side it was confusing at the start.

As usual, the XC60 is filled with all Volvo’s excellent safety features. One new feature is called City Safety. A laser sensor mounted behind the inside rearview mirror determines the location of the vehicle in front. It is active at speed sup to 19 mph. If the vehicle in front brakes suddenly and City Safety determines that a collision is likely, the brakes are pre-charged. If the driver fails to respond, the car applies the brakes automatically. In our tests, the application was sudden and we stopped less than a foot from the obstacle.

Volvo says City Safety should help reduce accidents, which is the best safety system.

In addition, the DSTC (Dynamic Stability Traction Control) function has been improved to provide more stable driving. We were thoroughly impressed with the manners of the XC60 over all kinds of winding roads, some with gravel surfaces. Volvo stresses that this is not an of-road car, but a road car that can handle moderate off-road situations.

On the road, the XC60 offers an excellent ride. On rough, pothole-strewn roads, the ride quality tends to be harsh, but it smoothes out once the roads improve. My co-driver was from Chicago and we had fun playing “can you top this” with regard to our home town’s poor roads.

We drove over California’s Route 1 north of San Francisco. This is a wonderful road with lots of turns and switchbacks that can make you arm-weary after an hour of two. There are few cars that can handle a road like this with the aplomb of the XC60.

We used the navigation system and found a little switch package behind the steering wheel that made all the adjustments to the screen that you normally have to stretch to use. We could change the scale of the map, shift it, or run through a menu of choices all from the wheel.

The XC60 comes equipped with a veritable plethora of acronymic safety systems, BLIS, ABS, CS, etc.

With all the XC60’s safety features, they can sometimes be disconcerting. We expected the “attach your seatbelt” warning beep to be intrusive, but didn’t expect it to increase in intensity the longer we waited to attach our belts. And there was an occasional beeping to the first notes of the William Tell Overture that had no apparent reason for happening. We did like the warning (a coffee cup is displayed in the instrument panel) that suggested it was time for a break.

The comfortable seats in our tester were two-toned, with a nice design. Two color combinations are offered. I would have liked more side support to the seats, especially with some of the roads we traveled.

Rear seat legroom and knee room is excellent. This is a comfortable five-passenger vehicle.

Behind the second row seats is a considerable cargo area. In addition, the rear seat backs fold (40-20-40) to increase capacity considerably.

Atop the dash, in a small nacelle, is a readout of the HVAC and audio settings. At first, this seems to jut out, but in a short time you barely notice it until you want to. It’s a great location.

The XC60 will be labeled a 2010 model, with vehicles appearing in dealerships in late March or early April 2009. It offers a lot. At the time of the introduction pricing had not yet been determined. The comment that was made was that it is built to compete with the BMW and Infiniti, therefore pricing will be in the same ballpark. Let’s hope it isn’t way out in left field.

MORE: 2010 Volvo XC60 Unveiling at 2008 Geneva Auto Show - Video Enhanced
MORE: Volvo Announces 2010 Volvo XC60 Pricing

Editors Note: This new model is available as a Turbo Diesel except in North America - Why?

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate