2014 Volvo XC60
2014 Volvo XC60. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Volvo Air, Flight No. 2013 is currently in a holding pattern. They’ve dumped a bunch of fuel and they’re circling the promised land, but there are few passengers aboard, only five old-run movies and the pretzels are gone.

Oh boy. No one wants this plane to land more than our lonely Volvo retailers.

Over the past three years, Canadian dealers have lost a whack of product (first the S40 and V40 compacts, and now the C30 hatchback and C70 convertible). All that’s left is the oldish S60 sedan, older XC60 mid-size crossover and XC70 wagon, and the geriatric XC90 full-size crossover that has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Oh yes, and the pre-Columbian S80 full-size sedan that might as well be six feet under. My local dealer doesn’t even bother having one in the showroom.

This is not to say Volvo is on life support, with a large foot poised to kick the plug out of the wall. Owned by Chinese auto conglomerate Geely since 2010, Volvo has capital behind it, and the iconic Swedish automaker is poised to play catch-up with a string of upcoming new products on fresh platforms featuring competitive turbo four-cylinder and hybrid drivetrains under the Drive-E banner.

2014 Volvo XC60
2014 Volvo XC60
2014 Volvo XC60. Click image to enlarge

Yet, the next all-new-vehicle – the 2015 XC90 full-size crossover – is still about a year away.

In the meantime, we’ll see the V60 sport wagon in January 2014. While this fetching wagon version of the current S60 sedan is not a new vehicle – it’s been for sale in other markets for a few years – it is new to us. And Canadians do seem to get excited about cool Euro-wagons, so it should be a welcome addition to our lineup.

Initially the V60 will come with the current S60’s turbo five-cylinder and six-cylinder power, with Volvo’s new turbo four-cylinder later in the year.

Which makes for a helluva long-winded intro for this face-lifted 2014 XC60 T6 AWD crossover, which in the big picture, is a stopgap measure until fresher metal starts flowing.

Think of it as the Swedish flight attendant coming down the aisle with some free drinks and a bag of nuts. Nothing too substantial, but welcome nonetheless.

In a nutshell (sorry), there are no mechanical changes to the 2014 XC60, but it does host a number of meaningful exterior, interior and content upgrades.

The 2014 XC60 comes in two flavours – the naturally aspirated 240 hp, 236 lb-ft 3.2 FWD starting at $39,950, and the 300 hp, 325 lb-ft T6 AWD that sports a turbocharged 3.0L, starting at $47,950.

My tester is the $52,850 T6 AWD Platinum model that adds premium audio, navigation, back-up camera, auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, ambient lighting, power-folding rear head restraints and powered liftgate.

2014 Volvo XC602014 Volvo XC60
2014 Volvo XC60. Click image to enlarge

Exterior upgrades are subtle but they add a dash more presence and elegance to this crossover that has been on our roads since late 2008. The hood and fenders have been re-contoured to look more muscular and the grille is larger and no longer rimmed in chrome. New headlight assemblies sport very effective cornering lights, and the lower fascia, both front and back, have been redesigned incorporating new skid plate décor. New design exhaust tips are integrated into the lower valance.

There are a few interior accent changes as well, but the bigger news relates to T6 models – paddle shifters for the six-speed auto and an adaptive TFT (thin film transistor) central gauge display that offers three “themes”.

2014 Volvo XC602014 Volvo XC602014 Volvo XC602014 Volvo XC60
2014 Volvo XC60. Click image to enlarge

Regarding the latter, I always found Volvo’s groovy blue gauge cluster with the small graphics to be hard to read. This TFT solves the problem, and all three modes – Performance, Elegance, and Eco – offer highly legible info at a glance. Certainly an important issue for a car company that trumpets safety as a core value.

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