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Volvo XC60 (2008): first official pictures

Published: 19 February 2008

Volvo has finally sanctioned official shots of the XC60 – a junior version of the XC90 SUV that has helped turn around the fortunes of the Swedish company. Yes, it’s another crossover entering an increasingly congested marketplace, but Volvo hopes this one will appeal to buyers wanting the versatility of a 4×4 without the heft.

Key points worth noticing are the Swedes’ gently evolving design – this is the first model developed under Steve Mattin’s watch as design director. (Some CAR users have criticised us for going on about this – but we reckon it’s significant!). So a bigger, rounder grille is given more prominence, the headlamps swell into a more expressive, upright shape and the rear sees a reinterpretation of Volvo’s trademark lights – now illuminated by LEDs – wrapping around the shoulders.

Be sure to tell us what you think of Volvo’s new look by clicking ‘Add your comment’ below.

It’s a Volvo. It must be safe! 

You bet. The big news is Volvo’s new City Safety system, which uses radar and parking sensors to detect an impending low-speed impact and brakes the car to avoid hitting anything – a first in the industry, according to the Swedes.

‘It’s not only the safest Volvo ever. If you ask me, it’s also the most stunning. Not a bad combination, is it?’ says Volvo Cars president and CEO Fredrik Arp.

Click ‘Next’ to read about the XC60’s interior

What’s the XC60 like inside?

The XC60’s cabin keeps Volvo’s trademark floating centre console, this time more heavily angled towards the driver and with a choice of finishes (light wood, matt black or brushed aluminium). Sadly, the iPod white of the 2007 concept car wasn’t viable for production.

We’ve sat in the new crossover and the seats, on brief acquaintance with our behinds, appear to be as comfortable as you’d expect on a pampering Volvo. There’s also the biggest panoramic sunroof the Swedes have ever made (the front part opens, the back is fixed).

Volvo XC60: the engine room

Three engines will be offered in the XC60 from launch: the range-crowning T6 producing 281bhp and a brace of turbodiesels – take your pick from 161bhp and 183bhp D5s. In 2009, a new front-wheel drive 2.4 diesel will arrive, designed for lower fuel consumption and emissions of around 170g/km.

Will the XC60 actually venture off road? Of course not, but Volvo has fitted some 4×4 toys just in case. There’s hill-descent control and part-time four-wheel drive that shuffles torque to the axles with the most traction. We’re more interested in the diesel hybrid that’s tipped to arrive by 2010 (developed at the Swedes’ very own hybrid technology centre).

UK cars arrive in October 2008, priced from around £25,000 to £35,000. It will be built at Volvo’s Ghent factory in Belgium at the rate of 67,000 a year.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet