new Volvo XC60
On the eastern
shore of Virginia, there’s a village named Temperanceville.
Established by Quakers, its largest employer is a chicken processing
plant, the odor of which ensures that it remains a hamlet.
Nevertheless, its name speaks to ideals that go against the basic
instincts of Americans: temperance.
But the idea
that Americans ever had temperance is a misguided notion. If
Americans used restraint, the United States would still be 13
English colonies, the Midwest would still be owned by France and
Florida would still be owned by the Spain. Similarly, Elizabeth
Taylor wouldn’t have married Richard Burton twice, shopping malls
wouldn’t outnumber high schools and the average adult wouldn’t
be carrying more than $5,800 in credit card debt.
Is it any
wonder so few people have chosen to call Temperanceville home?
Americans have always taken risks, we have become risk averse and
paranoid, as if everything and everyone were trying to do us in.
This is why a cup of coffee from a coffee shop carries a warning
that it may be hot. It seems that we want to go through life with
reassurance that nothing will ever go wrong, and if it did, we have
our emotional support peacock to comfort us.
marketers at Volvo realized this decades ago, building an image of
safety to sell their cars. Yet Volvo isn’t that sort of company
anymore, having gone through a bad marriage under Ford ownership,
which plundered the Swedish automaker’s platforms to underpin its
own line of vehicles. Recently wed to Chinese automaker Geely, Volvo
is now thriving with an owner that funds its products but does not
intervene. The result is a stunning line of vehicles that don’t
need safety to sell them.
2018 XC60, which replaces the previous one after a nine year run.
More than a million XC60s have been sold worldwide, accounting for
30 percent of Volvo’s sales. But this latest rendition makes it
easy to forget its forbear, with a sinewy, athletic stance and
sophisticated demeanor that resonates with classic Scandinavian
understatement. It’s obviously upscale, but it doesn’t shout its
intentions. It glistens with a knowing sophistication and strength
that proves hard to resist.
certainly true once you find yourself behind the wheel.
The new XC60
is offered in three variant powertrains, starting with the T5 and
its 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Step
up to the T6, and that engine is turbocharged and supercharged,
yielding 316 horsepower. At the top of the heap is the T8 plug-in
electric hybrid that develops 400 horsepower. An eight-speed
automatic is standard, as is all-wheel drive.
acceleration won’t blow your dress up with boatloads of power, it
delivers more than enough power to satisfy most drivers, although it
seems somewhat unrefined compared to the segment leaders. There’s
some body lean in corners, along with a compliant ride until
encountering the worst of America’s crumbling infrastructure. This
makes riding in the car more pleasant than driving it, at least for
driving enthusiasts. Nonetheless, its handling is solid and secure,
offering few surprises, but not returning any either. Steering is
nicely weighted, although it would have befitted from better
on-center feel. Braking is fuss-free. And the cabin was graveyard
quiet, an impressive feat for this model segment.
sold safety as its prime consideration, it’s surprising that
lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking are standard,
while more advanced systems, such as Oncoming Lane Mitigation and
Pilot Assist, Volvo’s advanced semi-autonomous driver assistance
system, are optional.
that the Volvo is no longer a one-trick pony, especially when it
comes to technology.
As in Volvo’s
90 Series vehicles, a center-mounted infotainment screen anchors the
instrument panel. Named Sensus Connect, its screen is vertically
oriented. Its user interface is one of the best in the business,
being easy to understand and operate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
are standard; Bluetooth connectivity and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot
powered by a 4G LTE data connection are available along with
navigation, real-time traffic and weather. In addition, Volvo’s
smartphone app can now send navigation destinations to an owner’s
car, find nearby fuel stations and locate the car in parking lots or
in unfamiliar locations. This icing on the cake is the $3,200
optional 1,400-watt, 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio
system. It’s superb.
in a cabin that’s trimmed with the same opulence as its larger 90
Series cousins; only the scale differs. Seat comfort is exceptional,
although the wide center console steals legroom from front seat
the Volvo provides everything you might require in a premium midsize
crossover, avoiding extremes to deliver a well-balanced experience
that will reassure you in these risk-averse times.
Consider it an
emotional support vehicle.
Supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
economy (city/highway): 21/27 mpg
capacity: 00-63.3 cubic feet