I attended the launch of this vehicle six months ago, and I have to say that I still like its exterior styling, the latest evolution of Volvo's decidedly unboxlike design language. As to its interior, which a couple of my colleagues have expressed disappointment in, I'll only say that while it's true that the center stack is no longer cutting edge, the controls work well and are quite intuitive. The seats are as comfortable as Volvo seats always are, although I don't think they work quite as well visually when upholstered in black leather, as in this vehicle. The two-tone interior of the test vehicles I drove in October were, in my estimation, more attractive.
What doesn't work for me, as it doesn't for my colleagues, is the fact that the navigation system is operated solely by a remote control device. I remain confounded by the decision to forgo an in-dash controller--what an odd choice. I do like that the rear seats fold completely flat, making for a very spacious cargo hold, although I didn't have occasion to take advantage of all that space during my time with the XC60. Driving this crossover isn't exactly a scintillating experience, but then again, it's a crossover, not a sports car. Power delivery from the turbo in-line six is quite smooth, but fuel economy is pretty disappointing at just 18 mpg (combined EPA rating). Last but not least, the City Safety system (which brakes the car at speeds up to 19 mpg to avoid collisions) is quite impressive. I had a chance to test the system at the vehicle's launch, but it's not something anyone should try out on public roads. It's one of those features that you can't appreciate until it comes into use, which makes it hard to evaluate during a short test such as this. However, owners of the XC60 will surely be enamored of it should it ever be needed.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor