Up: It feels much smaller than it is to drive, very quick, awesome taillights.

Down: Why doesn’t the info screen fill up that space??

Neutral: The most fun you can have in an SUV that isn’t a Range Rover.

Absolut. ABBA. Meatballs. These are a few things that come to mind when I think of Sweden. When you mention the Swedish, very rarely do I think of an SUV that is both pleasant to look at, and a pleasure to drive. But it appears that the Swedes have taken time off from building their clever TV stands and have come up with this; the 2012 Volvo XC60 T6. Oh yeah, aren’t they known for porn too?

Steve and I took the XC60 on a lovely jaunt during a cold winter day in Minneapolis. Already the Volvo felt right at home in the frigid climate which made this the perfect time to get lost on all of the one-ways downtown. Our model did come with navigation but who cares? We had plenty of time and we’re guys, so we don’t need it anyways.

The first thing I noticed is how much I liked driving it. I drive an Audi Q7 for work on occasion and it normally feels like what I would assume turning an aircraft carrier must feel like. The XC60, which is slightly smaller (compare to Audi Q5), felt much lighter and more nimble on its feet. In fact, it almost felt like a car which was beneficial for big city driving where you are constantly switching lanes. That answered our question of “is it practical in the real world”? Check.

2012 Volvo XC60 T6-4

So it can get around the city but what if I want to race a 1993 BMW Z3 Roadster? Well, you would beat them. Not only is the XC60 AWD, it’s the T6 model. We had a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-6 engine that pushed out 300 horsepower. For a vehicle this size, the acceleration was brutal. You can also opt for the R-Design model which bumps up the hp to 325 and gives you a more aggressive bumper but you would have to really want it to justify the extra $5,000. No, the standard T6 was all we needed to have a great time blasting ahead of family sedans on the interstate.

The interior of the XC60 was just as blonde as the Swedish populace and as sensible as an Ikea bed frame. I told Steve that my favorite part about the interior is that everything was exactly where it needed to be and there was no wasted effort on garishness. Other manufacturers may take pride in how flashy they can make the interior but in the Volvo, everything was sensibly placed and, more importantly, everything worked. All of the buttons were ┬ámade just a little bit larger so you didn’t have to take your gloves off to get the heat flowing and the butt warmers cooking. Even the dial pad made calls out if you had your phone connected through Bluetooth! However, I’m not sure how relevant that is anymore considering I don’t know anyone’s number in my phone. Sorry mom!

If you’re serious about looking for an SUV, I don’t think the Swedes should be overlooked. I don’t have kids and I don’t wear camouflage so there’s no reason for me to ever want an SUV but I genuinely liked driving the XC60. It handled like a car, it accelerated like a tourer, and it had all of the luxuries you would expect from a $40,000 4×4. Now if only it came with the Swedish Bikini Team..

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I am the founder and editor of Short Shift. My obsession with wanting to drive every car ever made me build a website so I could share my experiences with the world. I love cars, traveling, and my cats, Henry and Winston.