The Crossover Quandary
Volvo’s XC60 utilizes the fourth generation of a sophisticated AWD system designed by Haldex AB, a fellow Swedish company. This latest Haldex design transfers power front-to-rear more rapidly while being capable of directing up to 50% of the engine’s output to the rear wheels.
Not having to think about where the power is going—or should be going—simplifies the task of driving in a variety of challenging conditions, which is a major attribute of the crossover.
Additional crossover attributes
Driveability is the primary benefit of a crossover over a true SUV. I happen to own a Series II Land Rover Discovery. It’s a heavy, inefficient vehicle for daily commuting—thankfully it’s seldom driven. In my life, a crossover, such as the XC60, would make far more sense given that I don’t take my Disco off-road much.
The Discovery provides me with plenty of cargo space and unparalleled traction for skiing and other recreational purposes but the day-to-day cost of that functionality is paid at the pumps and captured in the Disco’s truck-like driving dynamics.
Although owning a crossover such as the XC60 would reduce my cargo capacity and curtail some off-road excursions, the payback would be substantial—the nimble car-like driving dynamics of the XC60 and its greater fuel economy the most obvious.
Of course, an XC60 doesn’t come cheap. The AWD version has an MSRP start point of $44,495. Fortunately there are a variety of less expensive yet highly competent AWD crossover choices. For example, Hyundai’s new Tucson is tagged at $26,699 with AWD and Subaru’s AWD Outback starts at $28,995 while Chevrolet’s all-new Equinox AWD falls in the middle at $27,605.
Some things about an SUV remain superior
I mentioned the sacrifice in space and off-road ability but there’s a little more lost in transitioning from an SUV to a crossover. Most notably is visibility. The higher ride-height of my Discovery means that I get a better view of the road and what’s happening in traffic.
Other Reviews Available For The 2010 Volvo XC60
Auto journalist & Consumer Ratings
2010 Volvo XC60 Specifications
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