2010 Volvo XC60
Its best car is its new crossover
By Todd Lassa

WE LIKE: Swedish-modern styling, practical size, better handling than S60/S80, and a revvy turbo six.
WE DON'T LIKE: Ride gets harsh on rough surfaces; interior design.

We tried three times. Set up bounce boards and aimed Volvo's stylish new crossover toward them, expecting City Safety to hit the brakes and avoid a collision. Alas, it didn't work.

"Perhaps we were too slow? Reflection of bounce boards too bright?" Loh posits. We didn't even debate the pros and cons of technology that uses a camera to "read" solid objects approaching at high closing speeds and slows or stops the crossover while the driver is texting. Yes, it assumes too much driver responsibility. It's also an impressive safety technology that has worked for us perfectly in other settings.

While leading-edge safety too often has been the best thing you could say about a new Volvo, that's not the case with the XC60. "Best-driving Volvo around," Kiino logs. "How often can you say that about a brand's SUV?" That also says something about Volvo's cars. Still, the XC60 handles crisply, and in normal driving on normal roads, the suspension is reasonably compliant, though it feels rough on battered roads and is clearly not for no roads. "Only one to get loose on the off-road loop," Loh says. "Stability control only went to full freakout once, during a fast right on the gravel." The steering's poor on-center feel is typical Volvo, but it's otherwise precise and feels good. The 3.0-liter turbo six is a willing performance partner, and the transmission is smoother, with better-calibrated ratios than most of the competition.

Our real-world fuel mileage of 15.3 mpg was lower than the Volvo's EPA city number and points to how this new class of premium compact crossovers will have to adapt smaller engines to make them significantly more efficient than large counterparts like the XC90. It mostly comes together in an organic package that's even more handsome than the XC90, Volvo's last breakout design.

Volvo may have found its calling here, building right-size crossovers packaged with modern Swedish design, and performance and handling that's more impressive here than in its sedans.

2010 Volvo XC60
Base price range $33,245-$38,050
Price as tested $42,250 (T6 AWD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.0L/281-hp/295-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve turbo I-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 4344 lb (58/42%)
Wheelbase 109.2 in
Length x width x height 182.2 x 74.4 x 65.8 in
0-60 mph 6.8 sec
Quarter mile 15.3 sec @ 93.1 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 125 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.81 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.7 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
MT observed fuel econ 15.3 mpg
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16/22 mpg (est)
CO2 emissions 1.06 lb/mile (est)
Engineering *****
Design *****
Interior/Functionality **
Performance ****
On-road refinement ****
Off-road ability *
Value ***
This is Sweden's best import with no assembly required.