We were a Volvo family for a couple of years back in the 1980’s. My lovely wife drove an older Volvo 164, which was the most luxurious of the really boxy generation of the breed. It was slow, and frankly didn’t impress anyone, but she absolutely loved it.
But to a large extent, that was the old Volvo. The safety, the dependability, the styling that wasn’t, were all part of the Volvo experience. Well, the first two are still there, but Volvo’s have gotten almost svelte. And now, Volvo has jumped with both snowshoes onto the sport utility vehicle bandwagon.
I know, it seems almost un-Swedish, but they have done it in a particularly Volvo way. The result was the XC90 in 2001, which looks like a Volvo wagon on tippytoes. And in fact, it is to a certain extent.
Then in 2010, it got a baby brother, the XC60, which is even more practical and useful.
Based on the same platform as the V70 sedan, the XC60 looks subtly aggressive, but not in the sometimes silly, psuedo-butch, Joe safari way too many SUV manufacturers do. Dare we say, the XC60 is a sport ute for grownups? It is tall, but not into nosebleed territory. It is upright, but not chunky. It is subtle, but unmistakably capable of leaving the asphalt and mixing it up with that vast middle ground of semi-off-roaders.
The XC60 is solid and powerful. Power comes from a turbocharged, 3.0-liter 24-valve V6 engine cranking out 300 horsepower. It has a full 9 inches of ground clearance, as much or more than some serious off-roaders, like Jeep Wrangler.
The XC60 is also safe, which for Volvo is like saying Jennifer Lopez is pretty. I mean, it’s true, but doesn’t begin to cover the subject. The XC60 surrounds its occupants with an alloy-steel roll cage and side curtain airbags for every passenger. The Roll Stability Control system helps keep you upright by applying the outside brakes if it detects the kind of sudden maneuvers that get tall trucks into trouble. All seats have headrests and pretensioning, 3-point seatbelts.
You can order the XC60 in two-wheel drive, but why? Just get a Volvo wagon. The All-wheel-drive system is almost instantaneous sending power to any wheel losing traction if one-seventh of a tire rotation is detected.
Base price for our 4-wheel-drive turbo-six was $40,400. But with absolutely no willpower on the options list, came to a little over $48K.
After a week with the XC60, I am convinced this should be on every SUV buyers must drive list. As for my wife, it only reminded her of mistakes past. Her only comment…”You know, we really shouldn’t have sold that old Volvo.”