In March, the all new Volvo XC60 will go on sale in the United States. Launched this fall in Europe, the XC60 is Volvo's entry in the "small premium utility segment," where it will take on the likes of the BMW X5, the Acura RDX, the Audi Q5, and the Infiniti EX35. Hoping to build on its "safety first" image, Volvo has added measure of performance and fun to its newest vehicle, emphasizing styling, high-tech content, and all-around capability.
BOLDER STYLING, BOTH INSIDE AND OUT
The XC60 is the first production vehicle to reflect Volvo's new design DNA. With a strong face featuring a larger logo and grille and a broader shoulder line, the XC60 has a more sporty, muscular stance than its Volvo brethren. Yet the XC60 is clearly a Volvo, an indication that the designers have successfully integrated traditional Volvo styling cues into its new design language.
Inside the cabin, the slim floating center stack, which debuted in the S40, is attractively finished in your choice of matte wood or brushed metal and is slightly canted toward the center to give the driver the feeling of being in a cockpit. The sculpted seats are upholstered in two-tone leather stitched in a pattern that Volvo calls its X-theme. "Cross County, Cross City, or Cross Over - choose the interpretation that suits you best," says Jonathan Disley, head of interior design for the XC60. As with all Volvos, the seats themselves are pretty much the best in the business, being not only supportive but supremely comfortable.
The surfaces inside the cabin are nicely finished, with a visually interesting mix of contrasting materials, including leather, soft-touch plastics, brushed metal, and wood. Headroom is plentiful in all seating positions, and rear seat legroom is acceptable, especially if you're less than six feet tall.
The XC60's rear tailgate opening is the widest in the segment, according to Volvo. With the 40/20//40 second row folded flat, you should find room for just about anything you need to haul home from the mall or the garden center. Even with the second row upright, the XC60 olds a relatively generous 30.8 cubic feet of cargo.