Volvo XC60 Origins
In the early months of 2009, automotive giant Volvo threw its hat into the burgeoning premium compact SUV arena with the five-passenger XC60. Thanks to their combination of handling and sport-utility features, crossover SUVs have become quite popular and subsequently successful throughout the automotive industry as the public’s interest in wagons gradually wanes.
The Volvo XC60 began as a concept car in 2007. Unveiled that year at the North American Auto Show, the XC60 features new angled position lights on both sides of its grille, skids plates along the front and rear, a transparent roof, a unique two-piece rear tailgate, an electronic boot lid, and hefty 20-inch wheels.About the Volvo XC60
Initially conceived as a competitive line to tackle the BMW X3, Acura RDX, and Infiniti EX35, Volvo made a deliberate design move away from the previous Peter Horbury Volvo vehicles and instead recruited Steve Mattin to helm the design team. Going for more of a coupe-inspired look, the Volvo XC60 features a V-shaped front end, a broad shoulder line offset with micro-optic LED taillights, and a heightened waistline.
Sharing its technology with the 2007 Land Rover Freelander, the Volvo XC60 contains Volvo’s long-serving 3.2-liter V-6 that delivers 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque and the more powerful turbocharged 6, which produces 281 hp. The six-speed transmission, which includes a sport-shift mode for torque boost, helps the XC60 zip from zero to 60 mph is six seconds. For the following design year (2011), the T6 received a jump in horsepower to 300.
The finished production vehicle made its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 2008, with the XC60 arriving in European dealerships toward the end of that year and in North America by the start of 2009. (Technically the XC60s that arrived in the U.S. for 2009 represent 2010 models).Volvo XC60 Features
Predominantly a carry-over model from 2011 with a few minor changes across packages, the 2012 five-seat Volvo XC60’s base level gets a new Premium trim that includes leather seats, a power-operated passenger seat, a glass-paneled sunroof, and an aluminum inlay steering wheel. A step up to Premier Plus gets consumers parking sensors, a programmable power tailgate, a grocery bag holder, a rearview mirror-mounted compass, and keyless ignition.
Equipped with a 3.2-liter inline engine capable of generating 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, the Volvo XC60 has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 19/25 mpg city/highway. The T6s pack a sturdier engine punch, with the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6 that produces 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. The R-Design offers 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for both T6s stands at 17/23 mpg city/highway.
A City Safety System comes standard across all trims to help drivers avoid a low-speed impact by automatically applying the car’s brakes.
MSRP for the 3.2 2012 Volvo XC60 starts at $33,300; $39,400 for the T6; and $43,700 for the T6 R-Design.Volvo XC60 Evolution
Since its inception back in 2010, the Volvo XC60 has remained virtually unchanged. Nevertheless, as evidence of what the future may hold for the popular model, Volvo unveiled a plug-in hybrid concept Volvo XC60 at the 2012 North American International Auto Show held each January in Detroit.
With an estimated recharging time of 3.5 hours when plugged into a 220V outlet and 7.5 hours in a 110V outlet, the lithium ion battery-powered XC60 Hybrid’s rear wheels are driven by electrical power, while the gasoline engine spurs on the front wheels. Good for 280 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, the 12kWh electric motor generates 70 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor/generator (meant to supplement the gasoline engine) brings in 45 hp and 111 lb-ft of torque.
With Volvo engineers anticipating a zero to 60 mph acceleration time of 5.8 seconds, an overall towing capacity of 3,300 pounds, and a top speed of 130 mph, Volvo expects its XC60 plug-in hybrid to be available to the public in 2014.