The Car Next Door

Why we’re crushing hard on the new Volvo XC60

- By Peter Saltsman

WE CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT the Volvo XC60. Truth be told, that’s mostly because it’s drop-dead gorgeous. In the past couple of years, Volvo has gone to great lengths — with great success — to reinvent itself, shifting its reputation as the nerdy, needy car of college professors and family doctors to something almost, well, sexy. The XC60 is the latest iteration of that new styling direction, and we’re inclined to think it wears it the best. In this smaller package, the design actually works much better than in the larger 90 series. It looks masculine but not cumbersome. It looks fast and nimble. It looks — unlike its bigger brother, the XC90 — downright graceful.

And that’s no small thing, because the XC60 does actually have one important superlativ­e going for it: in North America, it’s currently Volvo’s bestsellin­g car, accounting for about 30 per cent of all the brand’s sales. No doubt you’ve seen its predecesso­r, which lasted nine model years, parked in a driveway near you. This is quite literally the car next door — now, finally, given a She’s All That makeover.

But as with poor Laney Boggs (you all remember ’90s references in detail, right?), we’ve come to really love what’s on the inside, too. We could comfortabl­y live in one of Volvo’s recent Scandinavi­an-inspired interiors, with their muted earth tones, ergonomic seats, and a now-signature, surprising­ly easy-touse ipad-like display that puts the power to control absolutely everything right at your fingertips. Under the hood, there’s Volvo’s new suite of engines, which the XC60 shares with the rest of the remodelled 90 platforms: a 250-horsepower T5 turbocharg­ed 2.0-litre four-cylinder, a 316-horsepower T6 turbocharg­ed and supercharg­ed 2.0-litre, and a 400-hp T8 twin-engine plug-in electric hybrid, each used with an eight-speed automatic transmissi­on. Sure, no one will mistake the XC60 for a sports car, but it’s more than capable of holding its own on stretches of empty road.

So no, we shouldn’t be excited about this car. But damn it, we just can’t help ourselves. Never mind pinning a poster of one up on our bedroom wall — which we’d happily do, too — we can’t wait to get a real one in our driveway.

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