2012 Volvo XC60 Review | Best Car Site for Women | VroomGirls

11 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2012 Volvo XC60 Review | Best Car Site for Women | VroomGirls

2012 Volvo

The Volvo XC60 is a different kind of crossover utility vehicle — and a different kind of Volvo.

By Aaron Gold


Car writers like me love doing Volvo reviews because they are so easy to write. Start out by talking about the Swedish obsession with safe cars and boxy designs, toss in a witty Ikea or ABBA reference, copy the engine specs and cargo dimensions from the spec sheet, and you#8217;re done. Send it in and collect the paycheck.

That doesn#8217;t work for the Volvo XC60. because this five-seat crossover is about as un-Volvo-like as a Volvo can be. Aside from the safety aspect — building safe cars seems to come as naturally to the Swedes as walking upright and writing awesome pop ballads* — the Volvo XC60 is sexy looking, huge fun to drive, and not terribly practical. And that#8217;s just not what we expect from Volvo.

* Apologies for the ABBA reference. I#8217;ll try not to do it again.


Years ago, I toured Britain in a Volvo bus, and was amazed to see that the dashboard was nearly identical to my stepmother#8217;s Volvo car. That#8217;s one big change: The Volvo XC60#8242;s dash is still simple and logical, but it#8217;s also quite luxurious, with contemporary styling and high-quality materials. I love the climate controls, which feature buttons in the shape of a human figure. If you want air at your feet, you push the button-person#8217;s feet.

Want air at chest level? Push his little chrome chest. And when some nimrod cuts you off in traffic, poking the button-guy in the head does wonders to relieve the stress.

Not that there#8217;s much stress to be had, because Volvo makes the most comfortable front seats in the known universe.

Would if I could say the same about the back seats. This is the XC60#8242;s Achilles heel: The back seat just isn#8217;t roomy enough.

The problem has to do with the platform — the bits that form the car#8217;s backbone — which, in the case of the Volvo XC60, is shared with other Volvo and Ford cars. The placement of the rear axle and the gas tank means the seat can#8217;t be pushed any further back, which explains why the XC60 has a huge cargo bay (30.8 cubic feet) and a measly back seat.


The Volvo XC60#8242;s back seat isn#8217;t bad for little kids; Volvo even offers a built-in booster seat, which can be folded away for adults. If you have small kids, I highly recommend this option. Most car seats are installed improperly — it#8217;s difficult to get them strapped in as tightly as they ought to be — but a built-in booster always provides optimal protection.

Still, once your kids get through middle school they#8217;re going to start running out of legroom and your adult friends probably won#8217;t like the back seat much either.


Considering Volvo#8217;s obsession with safety, it#8217;s no surprise that the XC60 scores top marks in both government and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-tests. And the Volvo XC60 is available with the latest-and-greatest in driver assistance: Active cruise control, which slows down to match the speed of the car ahead; Driver Alert Control, which monitors the driver#8217;s control inputs for signs of drowsiness and sounds an alarm to wake her up; and my favorite, the Pedestrian Detection and Collision Avoidance system, which senses if the car is about to have a low-speed collision (i.e. rear-ending a car in traffic or hitting a pedestrian who steps out into the road) and automatically stomps on the brakes. The XC60 is also available with blind spot and lane-departure warning systems.


Most of Volvo#8217;s gizmo genius has been devoted to safety systems, as outlined above. But the XC60 also has its fair share of electronic creature comforts, including standard Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod compatibility, and SIRIUS satellite radio, as well as an optional navigation system with real-time traffic info, rear seat DVD player, and an Audyssey 12-speaker stereo.


Each version of the Volvo XC60 get an inline six-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. 3.2 models get a 240 horsepower engine and choice of front- or all-wheel-drive, while the T6 versions get a 325 horsepower turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive.

The 3.2 has more than enough power, but the T6 model is a rocket ship, with only a slight penalty in fuel economy — 18 MPG city/24 MPG highway for the front-drive 3.2, 18/22 for the 3.2 with all-wheel-drive, and 17/22 for the T6. Those aren#8217;t great numbers, but at least the XC60 runs on regular fuel; most of its competitors require premium gas.

I drove the R-Design iteration, which has a stiffer suspension that turns the Volvo XC60 into a proper sports car. And I don#8217;t mean sports-car-like — the R-Design is fast and agile, a proper Dancing Queen* out on the open road.

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