The XC60 is Volvo's attempt to build on the success of the larger XC90 with a premium compact crossover. The Swedish automaker describes the XC60 as the safest Volvo ever, which says a lot coming from a company that built its reputation on occupant protection.
Volvo says that the XC60 carries more emotion in its styling than any other car the company has built, and the little crossover certainly does break new ground for the formerly staid brand with sweeping curves and an aggressive front fascia. Inside, the XC60 has a modern look with an impressive "floating" center console and high quality materials.
The XC60 shares its platform with the Land Rover LR2, a reminder of when both Volvo and Land Rover belonged to Ford's Premier Automotive Group.
The XC60 offers a 3.2-liter inline-six in three states of tune: a naturally-aspirated version that produces 240 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, a turbocharged T6 variant with 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque and a range-topping T6 R-Design with 325 ponies and 354 lb-ft of twist.
The base 3.2 trim level comes standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is available. Opting for the T6 or range-topping T6 R-Design will give you AWD automatically.
The 3.2-liter, naturally aspirated inline-six will return 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on highway in FWD trim, and 18/24 mpg with AWD. The more powerful T6 AWD is rated at 17/22 mpg - same goes for the R-Design model.
The big news when it comes to safety is "City Safety" -- a unique feature to prevent low-speed impacts that are common in stop-and-go commuting. If the car is about to drive into the vehicle in front and the driver does not react, the car brakes itself.
The XC60 comes standard with City Safety, as well as ABS, daytime running lamps, dynamic stability and traction control with anti-skid, an intelligent driver information system and more for safety.
Optional safety features include Xenon headlamps, collision warning with auto brake and adaptive cruise control.
In terms of technology and entertainment features, the XC60 comes standard with power everything, cruise control, electronic and heated mirrors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Bluetooth, HD Radio, iPod interface, Sirius radio and more.
Options include a premium sound system, a rear park-assist camera, navigation, rain sensing windshield, and a blind spot information warning system.
The R-Design chassis is stiffer, features stronger damping and has more distinct driving properties - without totally compromising ride comfort.
In terms of style, the R-Design has a sleeker and more sporty design, including unique five-spoke chrome wheels, metallic trim accents and additional monochrome treatment to the exterior. The roof rack is also removed for a sleeker, more aerodynamic profile.
Essentially a more luxurious trim package, the Inscription is new for the latest model year and offers buyers a choice of four upholsteries in full semi-aniline leather Marble White, Toscana Tan, Off-black and Soft Beige. Those upholstery options can be combined with either Off-black or Sandstone Beige interior.
Other perks of the Inscription package include headrests embroidered with the Inscription logo, a leather-cover center console, door panel insert matching the color of the upholstery, tread plates with the Inscription logo and power adjustable lumbar support.
Three other options can also be had with the Inscription package - Inscription Charcoal headliner, Inscription Electric Silver exterior color and Inscription Avior 20-inch wheels.
The XC60 is aimed directly at the leaders in the premium compact crossover segment, including the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Infiniti EX35. Slightly larger vehicles like the Lexus RX 350 and Cadillac SRX are also competitors.