Suggestion #3 – Volvo XC60 3.2 FWD
Next up is the Volvo XC60, a premium crossover vehicle that oddly enough is neither German nor Japanese, fish nor fowl. It’s a Nordic family-attack wagon that blows like a cold wind from the icy nation of Sweden, land of Vikings, ABBA and social welfare.
Base price for this safe and sturdy vehicle is $35,765, including a $915 destination fee. At that price you get cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels and Bluetooth connectivity. Curiously for a vehicle built in the frozen north heated front seats are a $500 option. This last point is especially disheartening; it’s like finding out Saturday Night Live is pre-recorded on Tuesday mornings. It makes no sense.
Volvo’s advanced City Safety system is a handy helper and a standard feature. This automatic braking technology works at low-speeds to prevent costly and annoying fender benders that jack up insurance rates. It monitors the traffic ahead of the vehicle even if the driver isn’t. If a car ahead stops abruptly and the motorist in charge doesn’t, City Safety will slam on the brakes to prevent a collision. It works at speeds between 2 and 19 mph.
Compared to the other two vehicles presented here this Volvo XC60 is pretty basic; it seems to lack a number of desirable amenities, and if you want a few extras plan on spending BIG. For instance, all-wheel drive is an additional $2,000, while a “portable” navigation system can be had for $795, though an integrated unit is an extra $2,000.
This cripplingly sensible Volvo is powered by a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine. It delivers a respectable 240 HP with 236 LB-Ft of torque. Power is routed to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. This drivetrain combination should return 18 mpg around town and up to 26 on the highway. Combined it clocks in at 21 mpg. Those figures are slightly better than what the Infiniti can muster, though they still fall short of the miserly BMW.
If more oomph is required a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six is also on the menu. Depending on how it’s tuned the engine cranks out either 300 or 325 ponies and adds at least $6,700 to the bottom line. That’s ‘spensive with a capital “S.”
One area where the Volvo handily beats its rivals is in cargo space. The XC60 provides up to 67.4 cubic feet of storage space in its hold, possibly more than an Antonov An-225 cargo plane, though likely a little less than a World War II-era Liberty Ship.