2010 Volvo XC60: An All-New Crossover

May 16, 2010

The 2010 XC60 is an all new crossover from Volvo. It's their newest sport-utility with seating for five. The XC60 looks like a small XC90 and comes in one model in the U.S. called the T6 AWD ASR ($37,200 as tested). They're called crossovers because they drive more like a car, but with the benefits of an SUV. We are starting to see more crossovers as the automakers are designing more vehicles that are smaller and more fuel efficient, but with utility. All-wheel drive is standard on all XC60's, and ground clearance tops the competition making it a good choice for drivers who need to plow through snow drifts to get where their going.

The XC60 is powered by a turbocharged and intercooled 281 horsepower 3.0-liter six cylinder with a six-speed automatic transmission called Geartronic. Power is better than I expected, and the four-wheel power assisted disc brakes are superb, resisting fade, and consistently slowing the XC60 from speeds. Some turbocharged engines are not all that smooth in delivering that extra power the turbo provides, but the XC60 delivers strong steady performance. Ride and handling characteristics of the XC60 are characteristic of the XC70 and the XC90; all are comfortable but tend more toward utility than sport. EPA mileage estimates are decent for a car this size at 16/22 mpg city/highway.

On the inside, visibility from the driver's seat is good all around. The back-up video camera is especially helpful when backing up or parking; the video display bends the outer guidelines to reflect the car's path based on the position of the steering wheel, making it much easier to navigate blind spots.  The front and rear seats offer all the expected comfort for everyday driving. And for families with small children, there's the optional rear seat with built-in child safety seats.  The rear seat is more bench than bucket, and is intended to accommodate three average adults, which it does, but somewhat snuggly. The back seat is big enough to accommodate two or three children’s car seats nicely.

The 2010 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD comes well equipped with leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel and shift knob; automatic, dual-zone climate control; flat-folding 40/20/40 rear seat and forward-folding front-passenger seatback; 160-watt, eight-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 player, HD radio and auxiliary and USB inputs; Bluetooth interface; Sirius satellite radio with six-month subscription; power windows, locks and mirrors; eight-way power driver and front passenger seats.

Three options include in the XC60 I tested included a Climate Package ($1,000) with heated front and rear seats, outside mirrors and windshield washer nozzles, rain-sensing wipers, headlamp washers, Interior Air Quality System (automatically shifts between outside and inside air depending on outside air quality) and humidity sensor. The Multimedia Pkg ($2,700) upgrades the sound system to a 650-watt, 12-speaker, Dolby Pro-Logic Surround Sound Dynaudio setup with rear seat headphone jacks and audio controls plus a navigation system with real-time traffic and rear park assist video camera. The third option ($1,200) included a two-piece, panoramic roof that has two laminated glass panels with a power sunshade.

If you do a lot of stop and go driving in the city, a new safety feature called City Safety on the XC60, helps avoid or mitigate damages from low-speed rear-end in congested freeway traffic. It's a braking package programmed to stop the car independent of the driver when it senses an impending encounter with a car in front at speeds up to 18 miles per hour. This system works at speeds between 2 mph and 18 mph. Up to 9 mph; it can stop the car before it hits a car in front. Luckily, I didn’t have an opportunity to try it out, but Volvo says it can reduce significantly the force of the impact.

One safety feature I had the misfortune of trying out, was the Tire Pressure Monitoring System which works well as we found out while heading west on 6th Ave back up to Evergreen. The warning on the dash flashed that the tire pressure was low and said it needed air NOW. I pulled the car over to the shoulder and sure enough we had a flat tire. The TPMS helped avoid a potentially dangerous situation and also saved the tire from being destroyed.

Volvo, known for its safety features, and this model is no different, comes standard with features like front and side impact airbags, front seat whiplash protection systems, rear seat child safety seat anchors and tethers, ABS, Electronic stability control and anti-rollover control. Collision Warning with Brake Support warns an inattentive or distracted driver first with a flashing red light and then with a buzzer while pre-arming the brakes for an expedited response when the driver hits the brake pedal.  

The Volvo XC60 is an attractive and comfortable new crossover. And with all the safety features, makes it one of the safest vehicles out there.

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