If you’re an SUV guy (myself, I love small cars) put the XC 60 T6 AWD on your test-drive list – especially if you or your girlfriend has ADHD. It’s powerful, luxurious and spacious, but what truly sets it apart is the XC 60’s safety intelligence.
Volvo shares this interesting stat: “75% of all collisions occur below 30 km/h.” Hence the City Safety feature: it automatically brakes, unbidden, when a collision seems inevitable. And if you’re traveling under 30 km/h at the time, it won’t hit whatever’s in front.
I tested it, driving towards pylons attached to a bendable board – the effect looked like a little wall but wouldn’t damage the car or driver if hit hard. I approached at about 25 km/h, but at first couldn’t force myself to collide. I braked before the feature did.
“A lot of people do that,” said Nelson the Volvo rep, a car freak who clearly loves his work. “Try again.” Approaching at 30 km/h, I concentrated my foot off the brake. It halted hard – a snapping jerk – inches from the ‘wall.’ Fascinating.
Designed for urban drivers, shouting on phones while shifting, scanning their iPods, shaving, whatever – City Safety comes standard with the XC 60. My video skills are poor but Volvo offers this demo:
A bit much?
But this car bubble-wraps the driver. The Driver Alert System beeps and lights up the instrument panel, warning you to rest after a couple of hours driving. Straddle a line, and it brays the first six notes of the William tell overture. Annoyed, I had to turn these off.
However I loved blind spot sensor. Lights in the side mirrors alert you when other drivers disappear into your danger zone. Very useful and unobtrusive.
Big and thirsty
Though its 3.0L 6-cylinder turbocharged engine is ULEV II classified, the XC 60 retains dipsomaniacal tendencies. At 4.6m long, 1.7m high and weighted down with extras like all-wheel drive, it’s a lot of car to pilot. And the 11.7m turning circle wants the room of the suburbs more than downtown.
Still, if you want safe, don’t even think twice.
As Driven: $59,685