No wonder it’s the most popular model in the lineup.
It had been a while since my last visit to Miami. And when Volvo presented me with a new XC60 to cruise around town in for a week, my first thought was: “Can I live with a Swedish crossover in a town synonymous with flame-throwing Lamborghinis and Mercedes-inspired racing boats?” I very quickly learned, however, that the Volvo XC60 was right at home in The Magic City. And after a week, I knew why the crossover is Volvo's best-selling model.
Volvos are the safest cars on the road. We all know that. So let’s get this out of the way first. Thankfully, I didn’t get to experience its numerous airbags and fabled crumple zones. But the XC60 did show me that prevention is always better than the cure when a car in front stopped suddenly on the highway while going 70 mph. Volvo’s collision warning system didn’t have to brake on my behalf, but the red light and high-pitched beeping doubtless improved my reaction time avoiding a potential fender bender.
OK, maybe not that cool but the Volvo app provides plenty of remote options you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home or even from a different country.
That’s a testament to its smart exterior design that hides its bulk like a well-tailored suit. Driving around with four of my friends (five if you count big Don who played D-line back in college), nobody complained about lack of leg or head room. Not to mention the trunk has plenty of space to spare.
My buddies in Miami hadn’t seen me in over a year, and when I pulled up in the XC60 – my tester came finished in optional metallic paint and 19-inch Lesath diamond-cut rims - their first reaction was “he must be doing alright.” That feeling was only magnified after sliding themselves into the leather contour seats and checking out what is a smart and seriously premium interior. The laminated panoramic roof was a big hit, and the walnut wood trim screamed “dinner is on you.”
Not only because of its sophisticated looks, but the crossover’s effortless performance. That came courtesy of its turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter engine that sends 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via an eight-speed Geartronic Auto transmission, which easily puts it in the same bracket as high-end German Japanese cars of the same class.
The T6 variant of the four-cylinder unit provided instant response at all speeds thanks to the clever forced induction system. At low speeds the supercharger is left alone to build boost at low revs before the turbocharger joins in, enabling a 0-60 mph sprint of just over six seconds.
With the windows down and the premium harman/kardon 14 speaker, 650-watt sound system turned all the way up, the XC60 turned plenty of the south beach girls’ heads. And once turned, they stay turned (until a Ferrari rolled by).
The Volvo XC60 is a car you can cruise in with your friends at night after chauffeuring your sister and nephew around during the day. The XC60’s dual personality offers plenty of practicality when you need it, while provides the luxury and comfort you’d expect from a premium European carmaker.
After a week with the XC60, it became as crystal clear as the sea at South Beach why this is Volvo’s number one selling car: Simply put, its versatile nature gives it the broadest appeal. From a night on the town hanging with Europe’s finest to taking mom to church on Sunday, wherever you take the Volvo crossover, heads turn and nod in appreciation. It was also a pleasure to drive, practical in the city and plenty comfortable to enjoy long road trips.