I’ve got to admit it, I like the way this car looks. Volvo’s new XC60 is the company’s first attempt at a class filled with BMW X3’s and Acura RDX’s. But unlike the others, it seems that this new Volvo really brings some substance to this segment. Volvo needs a success here in the States. Their recent C30 model hasn’t made the sales impact the company had hoped for, and now more than ever, it needs to show that it can be profitable in the same league as its German rivals.
Ford’s problem can only afford Volvo a small amount of their attention, so a car like the XC60 can remind the blue oval folks that this brand still makes them money. The new XC60 will be powered by the company’s excellent tranversly-mounted turbo inline-6 engine. In it’s current state of tune, it produces a healthy 282-hp and a stout 295 pound-feet of torque starting at just 1,500 rpm. This allows the 4,300-pound SUV to move in a sports-car-like 7.5 seconds to 60mph from a standing start.
The third generation Haldex all-wheel drive system makes sure grip to the road is tenacious. The center differential maintains a 90/10 percent fore/aft torque split, but this can switch on the fly to as much as a 35/65 split if accelerating hard. The system works in conjunction with the car’s electronic safety nets to give a planted feel on the road.
Volvo is no stranger to safety. It puts safety first in everything it does, ever since the company started doing it. In fact, Volvo’s have been known to skimp on sexy design and performance to preserve the safety-first image for which the comapany is world-famous for. In fact, recently, Volvo’s head of safety communications Thomas Bruberg went so far as to say, "The XC60 is the safest car in the world, period."
Here are just some of the safety features you will find on the new XC60: blind-spot information system (BLIS), active bi-xenon lights, City Safety, collision warning with auto brake (CWAB), driver alert control (DAC), lane departure warning (LDW), adaptive cruise control (ACC), distance alert (DA), dynamic stability and traction control (DSTC), trailer stability assist (TSA), roll stability control (RSC) and that’s not all of it!
In fact, one feature does stand out as actually quite innovative. It’s called City Safety, and it comes as standard equipment on all XC60’s worldwide. This new system for lower-speed driving, operating via a camera and lasers set above the rearview mirror, acts as a road nanny if the driver ever stops paying strict attention. Up to a 10-mph difference between the XC60 and a car in front, City Safety hits the brakes just in time to avoid any collision if it senses you’re out to lunch. Up to about a 19-mph difference, the system does the same and at the very least, drastically minimizes damages and injury. It’s an impressive piece of technology and it brings us closer and closer to the eventual auto-pilot.
The numbers aren’t official yet, but expect about a $38,000 base price for the 2009 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD. That price places it right next to the BMW X3 3.0si ($38,600), a bit north of the four-cylinder turbo Acura RDX ($33,695) and a bit south of the Infiniti FX35 AWD ($42,350). Expect them to be in dealers next March.
Volvo’s new offering is sure to leave the competition behind.