Earlier this week, Volvo revealed their goal to begin selling diesel hybrid vehicles in both the European and U.S. markets by 2012, signalling the unofficial end of Volvo’s famed V8. In light of that news, a renewed emphasis has been placed on the Volvo XC60’s impending debut in April, as it will most likely carry with it two turbo diesel variants. Released in Europe in 2008, the 2009 Volvo XC60 will hit North American dealer showrooms in April of ’09 and offer direct competition to other similar luxury crossovers like the BMW X3 and the Acura RDX.
As of today, the only model that has been confirmed for introduction in the U.S. is the Volvo XC60 T6 AWD. Unlike its two diesel cousins, the XC60 D5 and 2.4D, the XC60 T6 AWD is standard gasoline dependent, yet still boasts an impressive fuel consumption average of 33 mpg city/27 mpg hwy (est). Under the hood, the surprisingly fuel efficient XC60 carries a 3.0L I6 engine mated with a 6-speed Geartronic transmission, producing 285 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Not nearly as powerful, the XC60’s diesel options, the D5 AWD and the 2.4D AWD, are available with either a 6-sp Geartronic or manual transmission and only produce an average of 185-hp/295 lb-ft of torque and 163-hp/251 lb-ft of torque, respectively. Marginally less gas thirsty than the T6 AWD, however, both diesel engines consume an estimated 22 mpg city/35 mpg hwy (Geartronic), 24 mpg city/38 mpg hwy (manual).
Full XC60 photo gallery after the jump
Sharing the same EUCD platform that underpins both the Volvo S80 and Land Rover LR2, the XC60 is trumpeted by Volvo brass as “the most stunning” Volvo yet (well, “most stunning” since Ford took the reigns, at any rate). Representative of Volvo’s first foray into the XUV territory, Volvo’s design director Steve Mattin says, “If you say that you’d recognize a Volvo from 300 feet away today, I dare say the XC60 radiates a clear Volvo presence from at least twice that distance.” In addition to its “Most Stylish” nomination, the 2009 Volvo XC60 also carries the distinction as being Volvo’s “Most Safe” (again, since Ford took the reigns anyway). Equipped with Volvo’s new “City Safety” technology, the Volvo XC60 is the first vehicle in the world to feature a low-speed collision avoidance computer that will automatically cease vehicle movement if it senses an impending fender bender. While some higher-end vehicles feature similar technology integrated into their cruise control systems, Volvo’s City Safety system is the first separate, standard component of its kind.
Pricing for the Volvo XC60’s North American adaption have yet to be announced, but expect costs to begin somewhere in the $35,000 range.
Bottom line: Volvo has approximately 10 years of Ford mismanagement to make up for, look towards the XC60 as the Swedish safety patrol’s first solid step in the right direction.