Let’s play a game of word association. We’ll say the name of a brand, and you respond with the first word that comes into your head. Ready? Volvo…
If you said “boxy,” you’re not alone. That’s the classic shape most of us have grown up knowing. And it’s why a lot of people are likely to be confused by the pictures they’re seeing of the new Volvo XC60. It’s a sleek and sexy crossover that’s about as far as you can imagine from the staid Swedish wagons we’ve seen on the road in years past. Maybe that’s why Volvo designers decided to bolt an oversized brand badge on the grille.
Will diehards may be a bit disappointed by this dynamic new look, Volvo is betting on the XC60 to draw in a whole host of new buyers who’d normally drive past the company’s showrooms. And if our first drive of the new crossover is any indication, they just might be able to grab some of the folks who’d normally opt for more passionate brands, like BMW, with its compact X5, Audi, with the new Q5, Acura, with its RDX, or Volkswagen, with the oddly-named Tiguan.
The big grille, with that oversized Volvo logo, is flanked by a pair of upright daytime running lights, and sweeping headlamps that roll off into the fenders. The broad shoulders are familiar touches, found on a number of recent Volvo production models and concept vehicles, but the XC60 adds a cinched and sexy waistline. The roof is almost coupe-like, though it still provides a reasonable amount of headroom for rear seat passengers. The rear view might be the most familiar angle, distinctly Volvo with those broad shoulders and narrowed rear hatch.