One of the things that cemented Volvo’s presence in Canada was the company’s reputation for building cars that seem to run forever.
For example, despite being out of production for some 25 years, the 240 is still a fairly common sight on city streets, at least where I live.
The same seems to be true of some of Volvo’s newer models, in particular, the XC60.
Introduced to the Canadian market in 2010, the Volvo XC60 was arguably one of the safest cars on the road. One of the sport utility’s many security features was a system called City Safety. The idea was to prevent or mitigate accidents at speeds of 30 km/h or less by automatically applying the brakes at the last possible moment. According to Volvo, 75 per cent of all collisions take place at or under this speed, and half of the time, the brakes aren’t applied at all.
City Safety worked in concert with other protective features on the XC60, including the airbags and seatbelts, to further reduce the possibility of injury. It worked equally well during the day or night (although the windscreen must be kept clear). And it functioned independently of Volvo’s Adaptive Cruise Control system, a sonar-based technology designed to keep a safe distance between you and the car in front during highway driving.
But there was more to the XC60 than an automatic braking feature. Standard equipment included lane departure warning, rear park assist camera, collision warning, a blind spot information system and driver alert control.
Not to mention a traction control system, hill descent control, vehicle stability system, brake fade support, and the usual roster of airbags and anti-lock braking.
With this generation of the XC60, Volvo went above and beyond in the pursuit of accident prevention, and you could argue that this was one of the most driver-insulating vehicles on the market.
Power was delivered by a 281-horsepower turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine and the XC60 came with one transmission: a six-speed automatic mated to a fourth-generation Haldex full-time all-wheel-drive system. Parts of this drive train and various other components were used elsewhere in Volvo’s lineup, including the S80 and V70, and it featured 231 mm of ground clearance for those who felt compelled to take it into the boondocks.
The XC60 was designed at Volvo’s California studios and built in Ghent, Belgium. Its competition included the likes of the Mercedes GLK, Lexus RX350 and, especially, the BMW X3. It was, in all respects, an upscale vehicle.
Standard non-safety equipment included leather interior, dual-zone climate control, heated outside mirrors, power seats, hands-free bluetooth interface, Sirius satellite radio, and a fold-flat rear floor area with 40/20/40 split rear seats.
There were five safety recalls to report for this one, including:
- a possibly flawed passenger front seat, which may not have been installed correctly at the factory;
- an airbag problem involving incorrect installation, which could result in no airbag deployment when you need it;
- a possibly leaky fuel line in the engine bay;
- driver’s side seat belts that may not do what they’re supposed to in an accident.
To this we can add 30 technical service bulletins from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. These ranged from “unstable” rear suspension, to a whining noise emanating from the power steering pump, to various airbag issues, to a range of mysterious service lights coming on randomly during the vehicle’s operation.
Still, Consumer Reports liked this one and put it on its “Recommended” list, possibly because it came with so many safety and security features. While the organization had misgivings about the XC60’s fuel economy, they liked its comfort level and handling. It received an “above average” rating from CR.
Some comments from owners: “after starting up from a stop, city safety activated with an emergency brake activation,” “while driving, the fuel tank began to briskly leak gasoline,” and “car should not be using half the oil in the engine between services.”
These days, you can expect to pay $15,000 to $20,000 for an XC60.
2010 Volvo XC60
Original base price: $39,995
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six cylinder
Horsepower/torque: 281/295 foot pounds
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 14.7 city and 10.7 highway, with regular gas
Ted Laturnus writes for Troy Media’s Driver Seat Associate website. An automotive journalist since 1976, he has been named Canadian Automotive Journalist of the Year twice and is past-president of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).