When I think of Volvo cars, only one thing comes to mind: safety.
It's easy to imagine a bunch of Volvo engineers huddled around a cup of coffee discussing whether they could install an airbag into a cupholder and how to make the radio buttons cause fewer injuries.
Volvo is obsessive about things like that.
Driving the XC60 this past week, though, I was reminded that this is a company known for building luxury cars, too.
Part of that comes from its feeling of solidity. Even putting all its safety features aside — things like automatic braking, sensors that see pedestrians, and its ability to read road signs — it's still one really, really nice ride.
Most cars these days put their focus on fuel economy, so they start to feel flimsy and hollowed out in an effort to save weight. The XC60 isn't like that. Its heavy, massive doors close with the kind of bank-vault thud more commonly found in $100,000 Mercedes sedans. It feels like you're driving in a tank, wrapped in a cocoon of high-strength steel.
Gas mileage suffers a bit as a result. It's rated for 25 mpg on the highway and 19 in city driving, and slightly worse with all-wheel drive.
The driving feel, though, is phenomenal — assuming you opt for the turbocharged engine.
Some Volvos I've driven in the past have felt underpowered, but the 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbo engine in my test vehicle made it feel like a sports car, with 300 horsepower on tap. Even the base engine makes 240 horses.
With a taut suspension and sensitive steering, it leaves a surprisingly sporty impression for something so obviously designed for family-hauling duties. The powerful engine's roar and zippy feeling in corners almost make you forget that the XC60 has built-in booster seats for children.
And that brings us to the heart of the stereotypical Volvo, which is its ridiculously well-thoughy-out list of safety technology.
Some of its standard features include Ready Alert Brakes, a system that primes the car for heavy braking if it senses a collision is imminent, and City Safety, which will automatically stomp on the brakes to avoid a low-speed wreck.
One optional feature on the XC60 is Road Sign Information, something I'd never seen before on any car. It uses a video camera to scan the road signs ahead of you — particularly the speed limits and "no passing" signs — and displays them in a digital readout in the instrument panel.
If you've ever forgotten what the speed limit was on a given stretch of road, you can just look down at the dash and see it. If you choose, you can also set it to give you an audible warning when you break the speed limit.
Pricing starts at $34,350 for the base model, or $40,650 for the turbocharged XC60 with all-wheel drive. It's also available in 325-horsepower R-Design trim for $44,850.
Volvo XC60 is solid and has a sense of safety
When I think of Volvo cars, only one thing comes to mind: safety.
GM: 110 paid internships
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Gas prices rise 10 cents over past week
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Court rules for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac in Oakland lawsuit
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Ex-Saab execs arrested on accounting charges
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- Sunday, May 19, 2013
Oryana celebrates 40 years in business
In the early 1970s, a small group of Traverse City families got together to drive to Ann Arbor and purchase the grains and beans they couldn’t find locally.Continued ...
Chamber View: Multiple opportunities for learning
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Business Memoranda: 05/19/2013
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Business in Brief: 05/19/2013
Become a contractor; Solar projec tbeing offered; MMC joins Spectrum. (Plus more)Continued ...
Building Permits: 05/19/2013
Building permits issued in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
Real Estate Transfers: 05/19/2013
Address, asking price and sold price:Continued ...
The Record: 05/19/2013
Assumed names filed in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
- Saturday, May 18, 2013
Ag Forum: Chestnuts a growing market
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Futures File: Even with large crop, soybeans shoot higher
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Farm Focus in Brief: 05/18/2013
Beverage classes; Weed management; Compost Day. (Plus more)Continued ...
- Friday, May 17, 2013
Festival spotlights science, math
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Only 2 of 13 small SUVs do well in crash tests
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Technology, labor spar on immigration
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Compuware cancels events to honor company co-founder
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- Thursday, May 16, 2013
Eurozone recession is now longest in currency bloc
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State economy still on upswing
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State’s jobless rate decreases
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Compuware plans IPO for Covisint subsidiary
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House panel set to OK cut in food stamp program
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- Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Wind farms get pass on eagle deaths
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- GM: 110 paid internships