The new Volvo is over a decade old now. Sold by Ford in 2010, the Swedish carmaker was picked up by Chinese car giant Geely.
Seeing new life and a new bank account, Volvo set about producing an entirely new lineup of cars for the next decade and beyond. The original vision of the new Volvo was 2020, a goal that no one would be killed or seriously injured in a Volvo released after 2020.
It’s a wildly high goal, but a good one. About 40,000 people die every year in traffic accidents (I don’t call them accidents because humans almost always make mistakes), and we must do everything we can to reduce it.
Volvo is unique among car brands by having a crash research center in Sweden that sends researchers to Sweden for every significant accident involving Volvo and even several non-Volvo incidents. The company has data on countless impacts and has designed security features to address the rarer and more unusual collisions.
For example, while Volvo (and most) cars are designed to handle front- or side-impact accidents, the company’s researchers found that when a car veered off the road and into a ditch along the sidewalk, the spine There were many injuries to the bone.
But it was not a bump or ditch that caused the injury. Instead, the vehicle jumped out of the ditch at high speed, took off in the air and landed. That’s why this issue has arisen. In particular, the vertical impact of the landing caused spinal issues, and neither seat belts nor airbags would protect against this.
So Volvo designed a special crumple zone in the bracket that connects the front seats to the car. In the event of this fuzzy but realistic accident scenario, those crumple zones jolt and cushion the sensitive spine.
Perhaps such an accident will never happen to you. Still, I like the idea of a car company that cares so much about safety that they’d rather find new crash scenarios for designing than wait for government regulators or insurance companies to do it.
This brings us to my test car, which is fully loaded. Volvo XC60 T8 Registration. This means that it is a compact SUV with a luxury-focused Inscription trim and a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
That’s the T8 part, and I’ve written about it before. Volvo’s all-electric range isn’t the best, but it’s competitive with many luxury plug-in kins, clocking in at around 20 miles.
But 20 miles is within the daily driving range of many suburbanites, and it’s more than enough to help improve fuel economy and get you a small tax break for buying a car with a bigger battery.
related: Volvo’s first electric car aims for a big incentive for gas car owners
My XC60 was priced at $71,340, which is a lot. But it’s a very zippy SUV, with 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque, in the same ballpark — both speed and price-wise — as the faster SUVs from BMW and Audi. You can save almost $20,000 if you remove some of the luxe features and get rid of the fancy electric powertrain.
If you’re the type of person who appreciates a discreet, safe, practical luxury car, then this XC60 is perfect. There is no one better.
“The power-adjustable thigh bolster is especially lovely.”
But the XC60 is such a good place. The heated and ventilated front seats are outrageously comfortable. Volvo is one of the only car brands that employs an orthopedic doctor to help with seat design, and you can feel the difference, especially on long drives. The power-adjustable thigh bolster is especially lovely.
The $3,200 Bowers & Wilkins sound system is perfect as ever. While not strictly necessary (the premise is a beautiful system from Harmon Kardon), the B&W stereo is one of the best you’ll find in a car—and it can replicate the acoustics of Volvo’s hometown Opera House in Gothenburg. This is a neat trick to show off to your friends, even if you’ve never been to Sweden.
The $1,800 adjustable air suspension is another unnecessary splurge. Still, considering how firm the Volvo suspensions are (they’re designed for buttery smooth Swedish roads), the better ride on our crap American roads might be worth it.
And, if you’re spending that much, it makes sense to get the best. I recommend the Volvo XC60 to many people when they ask me what kind of car to buy. It’s a great size, especially if you don’t have kids. It’s not decadent for a luxury car, and everything on it is practical and well-considered.
If you want bigger or smaller, Volvo offers in the XC40 or XC90. But I’m with Goldilocks: The Volvo XC60 is just right.
One cold description: this little badge
Even the badging on Volvo’s cars is generally underestimated in the Swedish way. A lot of information is packed into this little badge on the back of the XC60: It features a T8 (plug-in hybrid plus super- and turbocharged engine) propulsion system with all-wheel drive that bears Volvo’s new Recharge Electric Vehicle name badge. Is.
Unlike some other brands that stuff the rear of the car with trim levels and more, Volvo keeps it simple. I like it.
subscribe to PRNDL, Jordan Golson’s Car Reviews newsletter, free on Substack. This review has also been published NS North State Journal.