Volvo XC60 T-6

31 Oct 2009 | 1,549 views | No Comment
Base MSRP $32,295  Price as tested  $44,500 Over the years, Volvo has introduced several safe, unremarkable vehicles.  While structurally secure, they do little to excite the senses, and lack appeal to the driving enthusiast. Enter the new XC60 T-6.   With smooth flowing lines and a soft body shape, you may turn your head twice to make sure it’s actually a Volvo.  Breaking into the the mid-sized SUV market, the engineers at Volvo wanted to make sure that they had something different that would warrant a second look and demand attention—they may have succeeded with the XC60 T-6. At first glance, the VC60 has nothing in common with previous models.  Gone are the rigid body lines, replaced by a more fluid design.  The front end of the car slopes seamlessly towards the ground.  From the side, the vehicle displays an aggressive, yet modern stance.  The rear of the car has an oversized window, and elongated tail lights that extend from the bottom of the hatch to the top of the roof.  The LED tail lights blend faultlessly with the body of the car and add to the overall flow of the design. The Volvo VC-60 comes equipped with a 3.0 liter six-cylinder engine with all-wheel drive and instant traction.  Also included is an alloy engine with Continuous Variable Valve Timing.  The engine produces 281 horsepower and 295 Lbs of Ft Torque at 1500 RPM, and is rated at 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.  The as-tested 0 - 60 time is 7.1 seconds.  Acceleration is immediate and brisk when needed.  The ride itself is comfortable, yet the driver doesn’t feel isolated from the road.  The steering isn’t overly soft and feels controlled.  The vehicle likes the twists and turns, and with the low center of gravity takes the bends in a surefooted, stable manner. The interior of the cabin is warm and welcoming.  Volvo provides a “keyless” fob that must be inserted into the dash before pushing a start button.  I would have much preferred a truly keyless system where the driver can leave the fob in his/her pocket/purse with removing it to start the engine.   The eight-way power leather seats with memory provide proper support and aren’t too stiff for long road trips.   The controls are well-placed with additional buttons on the steering wheel for added convenience.  The windows are large and unobstructed; however there were times that I had difficulty seeing through the back windows due to the dark tint.  There is an automated trunk-release button, but the latch only disengages and does not automatically lift the tailgate. The halogen headlights are bright and provide ample illumination while driving at night, although for the 45k price-tag one would expect HID Xenon. The sound system was good but not exceptional—it comes equipped with a single in-dash CD with a 4 X 40 watt  Amplifier with eight speakers.   The navigation system was fairly straight forward and uncomplicated.  One oddity—there was a separate LCD screen for the stereo information above the navigation screen.  It would have been easier to integrate both operations into one slightly larger display to make navigation and stereo operations less complicated for the driver. For safety, the XC 60 comes equipped with Dynamic Stability Control, Roll Stability Control, Enhanced Steel Passenger Safety Cage, Side Curtain Airbags, and Volvo Whip-Lash Protection. Also included are a Side Impact Protection System with Driver and Passenger Dual Chamber Side Air Bags.  Standard are 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution. With its aggressive styling and advanced features Volvo is hoping to compete with the likes of the Lexus RX 350, Acura MDX, Infiniti EX, Mercedes GLK, and Audi Q5. Overall the Volvo VC-60 is a comfortable, predictable car to drive.  If you’re looking for a vehicle that is practical, reliable, and safe this might be a good pick, but only if you’re willing to sacrifice the panache and technological features provided by other luxury brands.

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