In the not-too-distant-past, Volvo was an automaker best known for building boxy-but-safe sedans and station wagons. In fact, its turbocharged wagons were the stuff of legend among performance-oriented drivers with a family, and Volvo’s ads compared its Turbo Wagons to a Lotus Esprit and a Porsche 944.
Time moves on, and American consumers have lost interest in station wagons. Today, the focus is on crossovers and SUVs, so Volvo has reinvented its cargo-haulers to keep pace with the times. Such is the case with the 2012 Volvo XC60, which still looks a bit wagon-like, but has the rugged appointments and available all-wheel-drive that crossover buyers have come to expect.
The XC60 is Volvo’s mainstream model, sized right for the average family. Outside, its lines are handsome and conservative, and nowhere near as boxy as Volvo wagons and sedans of the past. While the exterior styling alone won’t likely draw buyers into showrooms, it won’t put off any prospective consumers, either. Inside, the XC60’s interior is perhaps best described as “Scandinavian,” complete with a floating center stack (with storage behind), two-tone upholstery and pleasing wood and metallic trim. It’s not quite the same level of luxury found in a Lexus, but it’s definitely upscale.
On the road, the XC60 drives more like a sedan (or station wagon) than an SUV, and we say that’s a good thing. A relatively high seating position gives a commanding view of the road ahead, yet the XC60 never manages to feel top-heavy. Steering is nicely weighted, and the automatic transmission includes a sport mode to extract the most from the crossover’s 240 horsepower, 3.2-liter inline six cylinder engine. If that’s not enough horsepower for you, the T6 version of the XC60 puts out 300 horsepower and boasts a stiffer suspension aimed at enthusiast drivers. In R-Design trim, the XC60 will run from 0-60 mph in just under seven seconds, which isn’t bad considering the crossover’s two-ton-plus weight.
Inside, there’s enough room for four adults (five, in a pinch) and plenty of cargo. Thanks to its tall design, headroom is generous, although rear-seat legroom is a bit on the tight side. Like all Volvo models, the XC60 comes packed with standard and available safety features, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Alert Control, Distance Alert and a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS).
For a more comprehensive review of the 2012 Volvo XC60, including available models, our likes, dislikes and pricing information, head over to The Car Connection for our complete write-up.