Volvo XC60 concept (2006): first official pictures

Published: 14 December 2006

Volvo XC60: the lowdown

Volvo is going X3 hunting. The new XC60 will be launched in 2009 as a small brother to the soaraway successful XC90 – and this concept car is the best clue yet to what it’ll look like. Like other crossovers, this 4×4 will eschew off-road work (those skid plates front and rear are just for show) and will instead offer comfy seating for five. Volvo says the bottom of the car looks like an SUV, mated to the roofline of a coupe. We reckon it looks surprisingly like next year’s Ford Mondeo Estate, whose platform it will share.

Will other Volvos look like this?

In a nutshell, yes. The most interesting aspect of the XC60 Detroit show star is its significance for future Volvo design; it’s the first car penned by new design boss Steve Mattin – and the character you see here will spread to other Volvos. He says the XC60 marks the start of ‘more extrovert’ design and you can expect to see details such as the angled headlamps and bolder diagonal Volvo ‘iron bar’ badge to pop up on other models. The prominent, spaced-out Volvo badge at the rear will become standard, too.

What’s the XC60 like inside?

The show car will have super-thin seats that look like they’re floating on the floor, an iPod-white centre console and a special tailgate, whose glass can be switched from opaque to transparent to ease reversing manoeuvres. As you’d expect on a Volvo, the XC60 is bristling with safety gizmos. A sensor watches out for impending collisions and applies the brakes; Volvo reckons crashes up to 10mph can be eliminated altogether.

Will the production version look like this?

The XC60 that rolls into showrooms in 2009 will look very like this show car. Imagine this minus the 20-inch show-off wheels, with subtler detailing and a production interior, and you’ve got the real thing. It’s too early for prices yet, but in today’s money we’d expect it to undercut the BMW X3. Think along the lines of £25,000 and you won’t be far wrong.

Why is everyone launching small crossovers?

Today, the BMW X3 and Land Rover Freelander have the premium small 4×4 market to themselves, but Volvo predicts this segment will rocket by 75% by 2009 to nearly half a million cars annually. That’s why it’s launching the XC60. Volvo’s baby mud-plugger will also have to compete with Mercedes’ forthcoming junior M-Class as well as Audi’s Q5. The yummy mummies of Chelsea will never have had it so good.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet