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.
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 ...
Leelanau Birding Festival runs May 29-June 2
Robert Parsons has traveled to Texas, Arizona, Florida and even Costa Rica to seek out unusual birds. Now Parsons is adding Michigan to that list.Continued ...
Editorial: Airport should give vets prominent recognition
The issue: Cherry Capital relegates veterans sign to luggage area. Our view: Either do it right or not at all.Continued ...
New TC manager earned his gray along the way
Jered Ottenwess described himself during his interview for Traverse City manager as soft-spoken, lacking years of experience and perhaps not the most charismatic person.Continued ...
St. Francis rolls to regional track crown
The St. Francis girls set two school records, won 10 events and qualified 10 to the state meet en route to capturing the 17-team Division 4 regional track title Saturday at Brethren.Continued ...
Chamber View: Multiple opportunities for learning
The people who make up our local business community often wear many hats – boss, line worker, ambassador, bookkeeper, mentor … the list goes on.Continued ...
Sand in his veins: Mountz has 38 years at Sleeping Bear
Tom Mountz is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s longest-serving employee. He can’t think of one other place in the world he would rather work.Continued ...
Benzie extends track championship streaks
Benzie Central’s seniors kept their regional streaks intact Saturday at East Jordan.Continued ...
Ex-oil exec sees perilous energy future for U.S.
America is headed for an energy crisis filled with power blackouts and gasoline shortages, making today’s gas prices something to fear for in coming years.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 05/19/2013
Franz unresponsive; No Russian roulette.Continued ...
Kathy Gibbons: Time to say goodbye — once again
It’s been three years since I’ve actually lived here full-time in the summer. This year will mark the fourth.Continued ...
Beach Bums fall in Joliet, 6-3
Catcher Grant DeBruin went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs Saturday night as the Joliet Slammers made it two straight over the Traverse City Beach Bums, 6-3.Continued ...
Townships settle 12-year-old lawsuit with Cherryland
Three holdout local townships finally settled a drawn-out tax dispute with Cherryland Electric Cooperative prior to a full hearing before the Michigan Supreme Court.Continued ...
Forum: Clean energy, energy forums crucial
Developing a long-term energy plan and investing in clean energy is crucial to Michigan’s future. Gov. Rick Snyder’s recent energy forums are important first steps in developing such a plan.Continued ...
Antrim officials make headway with meth convictions
Antrim County authorities answered a spike in methamphetamine activity with a series of arrests and convictions that they believe should send a message to meth producers and users.Continued ...
Jack Lessenberry: Pleasing voters not a priority
Once upon a time, legislators felt they had to try to give voters the laws they wanted. True, once in a great while. some took stands on principle that risked angering their constituents.Continued ...
Prep Sports Roundup: Trojans defend home diamond
Ron Dohm pitched a one-hit shutout Saturday as Traverse City Central captured its own baseball tournament with a 4-0 win over Muskegon Oakridge. (Plus more)Continued ...
Benzie drug death leads to heroin charges
Authorities filed drug-dealing charges against a suburban Detroit man after a suspected heroin overdose death in Benzie County.Continued ...
Terry Wooten: One poem leads to another — and friendship
I was watching my own kids ride a miniature tilt-a-whirl, when I heard this old man yell, “MIMI SIT DOWN!” I looked around to see who Mimi was, and there was this little carney girl slouched on a plastic chair on a merry-go-round.Continued ...
Students recognized for math club performance
Thirty math-hungry East Middle School students recently made history. The group of seventh- and eighth-graders was the first at the school to achieve national gold level status for a club called MathCounts.Continued ...
Business Memoranda: 05/19/2013
Custer Workplace Interiors has added Emily Heilig to its northern Michigan sales team.Continued ...
Business in Brief: 05/19/2013
Become a contractor; Solar projec tbeing offered; MMC joins Spectrum. (Plus more)Continued ...
MILLER — A son, Elijah Thomas, to Tom and Amy (McNeil) Miller of Lake Ann, March 28.Continued ...
Local Sports Events: 05/19/2013
Golf outings and sports camps across northern Michigan:Continued ...
Building Permits: 05/19/2013
Building permits issued in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
- Oryana celebrates 40 years in business