Cocooned with class
THIS could be the safest car in Australian showrooms this year. Volvo says its XC60 is the best on the safety front, and it’s hard to debate that point with a company that has built safety into its cars since 1927.
But there is even better news on the XC60. Volvo has often built big boxes to carry its airbags and seatbelts, but its new SUV is stylish, comfortable and car-like in the way it drives.
It picks up from the funky little C30 coupe and powers the company forward on almost every front, from design and quality to comfort and safety.
It even has a system to stop you rearending another car in stop-start city traffic, the most common type of crash, and it is standard on every car.
But most shoppers will want to know only how the XC60 scores against the prestige SUV benchmarks, the BMW X3 and coming Audi Q5.
It is far ahead of the X3, but we’ll have to wait for the Q5. It won’t be in showrooms until next month.
The XC60 is priced from $57,950 in three models, up to the flagship T6 at $64,950. The bottom line will drop in the third quarter of this year when an X6 3.2 arrives at an estimated $56,000, just below the luxury-car tax threshold.
Power for the XC60 comes from a 136kW D5 turbodiesel or a 210kW turbocharged petrol six. Volvo claims 8.3 litres/100km fuel use for the diesel and a 7.5-second 0-100km/h time for the petrol motor.
The XC60 has a mid-sized body with space for five and luggage. The company claims it is a crossover between a four-door coupe and a wagon.
It also says it has the largest load opening in the tail, as well as multimovement seats that can turn it into a giant single-seat load carrier.
Its Haldex all-wheel-drive system works on demand. Drive can be as much as 95 per cent to the front wheels on bitumen and up to 50 per cent to the rear on low-grip surfaces. Suspension is fully independent. Brakes are anti-skid fourwheel discs.
As you would expect, the XC60 is loaded with safety equipment, including the standard City Safety package, six airbags, active head restraints and stability control.
An extra-cost Drive Assist Pack gives lane-departure warnings, and there’s adaptive cruise control and blind-spot warnings.
The XC60 is well fitted with kit, from leather seats and CD sound to alloy wheels and airconditioning.
An optional Teknik Pack offers satnav, reversing camera, active bixenon lamps and Bluetooth connection.
The XC60 slides in alongside the XC90 seven-seater, which is now Volvo’s best seller here and crucial to the company. A lot of people are looking at prestige SUVs and the Swedish company knows it must succeed.
It is aiming for 80 to 100 sales a month. Most buyers will go for the loaded T6 petrol car at the start.
‘‘We’re expecting about a 12 per cent drop in the market this year and across our range, but the XC60 should take us back up to the same sales level as last year,’’ Volvo Cars Australia head Alan Desselss says.
‘‘It’s well equipped and the quality is there. When you compare it to a BMW X3 or a Land Rover Freelander, the quality is superb.’’
No longer just a box: Volvo’s new prestige SUV, the stylish XC60, is loaded with safety gear, including six airbags, active head restraints and stability control.