This is Volvo's crucial new XC60 crossover, a smaller 4x4 from the maker of the XC90, with which the Swedish brand hopes to appeal to younger prospective buyer.The new XC60 is ready for launch at the Geneva motor show next month. Volvo says it "combines the athletic, flowing lines of a coupe with the ground clearance and safety of an SUV". In fact, Volvo claims the XC60 is the safest car it’s ever built, thanks to new high-tech collision avoidance system it features called 'City Safety'.Volvo’s latest safety feature is provided as standard on all XC60s. At low speeds - for example crawling along in an urban traffic jam - the car will brake automatically if sensors detect a potential impact. It’s an active system (unlike passive crash mitigation systems which simply minimise the effects of an unavoidable crash), and is intended to prevent those low speed bumps caused by concentration lapses, and should increase pedestrian safety too.
On sale in October: five-pot diesel power and six-pot petrol
Safety qualifications aside, the new XC60 is meant to bring in a new styling direction for Volvo. We should expect the forthcoming XC90 replacement to share many aesthetic attributes in common with this smaller all-roader, and see echoes of it in other future unveilings. Three familiar engines will be on offer when the XC60 goes on sale in the UK in October. There’s a 3.0-litre T6 petrol with 283bhp, plus two versions of the 2.4-litre D5 with either 184bhp or 161bhp. All early models will be four-wheel-drive until 2009, when a frugal front-wheel-driven version should arrive using a detuned version of the 2.4-litre diesel to achieve a lowly 170g/km of CO2 emissions. It’s also very likely that biofuel variants will be offered later in the XC60's lifespan. Volvo aims to sell 50,000 XC60s per year globally, and reckons it will appeal to youthful owners upgrading from hatchbacks and small saloons. All will be built at the brand’s factory in Belgium.