2012 Volvo XC60 RSpec Technology

Safe. A Volvo must be safe. It doesn’t matter if the subject of the safety wand is a big sedan, compact wagon,
or mid-size crossover like the 2012 Volvo XC60. Now gripped in Chinese automaker Geely’s chopsticks, the very-Swedish Volvo proves it has the spice and comfy rice that today’s youthful upscalers demand.

When Lexus, Acura, and others began introducing luxury crossovers, cautious Volvo wasn’t especially eager
to hurry into anything new. Its cars still looked like the boxes they came in and it was quite happy to keep producing the turbocharged station wagons for which it was renowned. A jacked-up V70 wagon became the Cross Country, the company’s first machine that could accomplish some semi-challenging offroading (I once blitzed a power easement with aplomb). The Volvo XC90 threerow crossover, based on its large car platform, showed forever more that Volvo could build crossovers as good as any without losing anything that made it a Volvo. On a little smaller scale is the Volvo XC60.

2012 Volvo XC60
2012 Volvo XC60 RSpec

I about dribbled my dungarees when I saw the voluptuous Passion Red RSpec XC60 roll into my driveway. That wasn’t because I was all a-gunk over its side-curtain airbags. Its mug and shoulders identify itself immediately as one of the Volvo pack, but dressed up with 20” alloy wheels, grey ground affects, and taillamps that follow body curves from roof to bumper looking as ready for the track or Manhattan club
as a convention of corporate health and safety managers. Some of Volvo’s classic design cues were melted for modern, but one can still recognize the 2012 Volvo XC60 lineage from a continent away.

Interior design continues themes set by the S40 and S80, which is to say very Swedish. Major controls are wrapped around the driver, a thin centre control stack clears room behind it for small items, and the climate control can be adjusted with a clever “seated human” chrome accent. The Dolby Pro Logic II audio system with 12 speakers and 910 watts of drenching audio thumped the Glee version of “Teenage Dream” until
my partner threatened to ban the show in our home. Navigation, USB iPod input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and stunningly beautiful blue analog gauges made travels easy. A full array of airbags also makes them safe.

2012 Volvo XC60 RSpec

Mother Mary herself must have invented Volvo’s seats. Soft as Martha Stewart’s down pillows, they perfectly
support the contours of your back while plushing your plushier regions. They’re also designed to protect you
in an accident with whiplash-reducing headrests. Heated cushions front and rear soothe in autumn and winter chills.

There’s also safety in performance. In our R-Design, the six-cylinder turbo engine stamps at the ground ready to storm off in a huff, only held back by the driver’s desire to avoid expensive paper from law enforcement. With the aid of a twin-scroll turbo, the power plant generates 300 HP and 325 lb-ft. of torque, enabling a 0- to 60-mph tear in 7.1s on the way to a 130-MPH top speed. A six-speed automatic transmission and torque-shifting all-wheel drive put all of that energy straight to the pavement. Using all of the powertrain’s mighty force will yield somewhat less than the stated 12/8.7 L/100 km city/hwy.

In a crossover the size of the Volvo XC60, three centuries of equestrian gallop is more than adequate to get your heart pumping. Speed-sensitive steering, sport-tuned suspension, and large disc brakes ensure the rest of the vehicle is up to the challenge laid down by its engine. At Interstate speeds, the turbo is in its happy place, generating torque and thrust like the government prints IOUs.

Fort Knox probably has a patent on the super-thick Volvo doors, but one feels like a stinger missile wouldn’t faze the XC60 from the moment they close. It’s how the president must feel riding inside his Cadillac beast. Working to prevent accidents are “BLIS” blindspot warnings, rotating headlamps to follow curves, rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive radar-enabled cruise control, and electronic stability control. Volvo’s new City Safe crash avoidance technology uses a laser to detect slow-moving traffic. The brakes are pre-charged when danger rears, and if you don’t respond the vehicle brakes automatically. Your momma loves you no more.

Built by a Chinese-owned automaker, the XC60 eats with Swedish cross-sticks. What’s most important is
that it is every inch a Volvo ready for a more youthful and style-setting driver. And, safe, don’t forget safe. Price as tested came to a touch over $48,000, making it competitive with the Mercedes GLK, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, and Lincoln MKX.

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