Review and Photos by Jeff Wilson

It’s funny how television and movies can affect a brand. James Bond wearing an Omega watch automatically heightens the cool-factor of the respected timepiece marque. We’ve been conditioned to think that long, black Cadillacs of a ‘60s or ‘70s vintage must be driven by Mafia hit men. And I don’t think I will ever see a blue and white VW Microbus without fearing Libyan terrorists will pop out of the top and start shooting a la Back to the Future.

Test Drive: 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD volvo car test drives
2013 Volvo XC60. Click image to enlarge

For Volvo though, most of its on-camera time has been with old 240-series wagons depicting the ride of choice of hippie professors or sensible parents. There have been a few exceptions to this though. The TV series (and remade movie) The Saint featured Volvo’s sportiest cars (originally a P1800 and later a C70), and more recently the chick-flick, Twilight: Eclipse featured teen heartthrob vampire Edward Cullen driving an XC60.  Apparently Edward’s previous ride (a C30) generated enough buzz amongst the youthful Twilight audience that Volvo sought to get the moms on board too with the sequel.

No dreamy vampire or strapping werewolf is needed to convince me that my family needs an XC60 (though a few sexy witches wouldn’t hurt). Having spent a week with Volvo’s smaller SUV, I can tell you it makes a convincing case for itself without the help of fantasy creatures.

The XC60 takes many of the aggressively swoopy styling traits of the S60 sedan and applies them to its five-passenger crossover. Although the S60 isn’t a bad looking car, there are some angles that look a little awkward (such as the headlights which appear as if they’ve melted in the sun). The XC60 is a more successful interpretation of the design language though, and one might say an even more sporting one with its steeply raked, coupe-like beltline. Such rakish design is unexpected in a crossover and even more so in a Volvo crossover, but it works with the only real styling miss being the radar-sensor wart on the XC’s nose.

Inside, the Volvo family resemblance continues, and again, that’s a good thing. The materials appear high quality and of a contemporary Scandinavian sensibility. The leather seats have a bold grain, but feel luxuriously soft (one should be cautioned though, that if the lovely cream-colour of my press car is chosen, they discolour easily from blue jeans). The lightly hued trim and giant sunroof unite to create a wonderfully bright and airy cabin.

Test Drive: 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD volvo car test drives Test Drive: 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD volvo car test drives Test Drive: 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD volvo car test drives Test Drive: 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD volvo car test drives
2013 Volvo XC60. Click image to enlarge

The dash features Volvo’s unique floating arrangement finished in a sleek brushed aluminum. Controls are large and easy to use and the gauges are clear and legible. It’s all quite fashionable without being gimmicky or compromising usability. The pictographic humanoid buttons for the climate control are easy to use at a glance but did elicit some childish comments from my so-called grown-up passengers about the button’s resemblance to a washroom sign figure.

Test Drive: 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD volvo car test drives
2013 Volvo XC60. Click image to enlarge

My rear-seat passengers had plenty of time to come up with such silliness thanks a lengthy work-related road trip we took into Central Ontario. Like every Swedish car since the dawn of man, the seats are supportive and comfortable for many hundred kilometres at a time. The rear seats are also quite comfy, and surprisingly, the rakish exterior styling does not translate into a dearth of headroom in the rear.  Plus, with the most-effective adaptive cruise control I have experienced, even if the driver becomes too engrossed in the animated discussion (not that I ever would), the XC60 maintains a safe distance from traffic from highway speeds right down to a stop, then back up to speed again when it is safe to do so.




About Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson is a Hamilton-based automotive journalist and accredited member of AJAC. When not pursuing his automotive passions, he divides his time between being a dad, husband and television producer.