2010 Volvo XC60
For more than a generation, Volvo has built its American reputation on two things: safety and its premium station wagons. Even when wagons fell out of favor at other brands, they remained an attraction for Volvo purists. But, some of those fans did defect to the Volvo XC90 Crossover. Now, with the all-new XC60, it’s possible that a lot more just might be tempted to follow suit.
The 2010 Volvo XC60 may be a late entry into the premium compact-to-midsize crossover race, but don’t expect this stylish and sporty utility to trail behind for too long.
The XC60 will compete directly with the BMW X3, the Acura RDX, and the Mercedes Benz GLK.
Styling hints of the XC70 and XC90, but from there the familiar Volvo DNA runs a little wild. The modified trapezoidal grille is flanked by dramatically flared headlamps.
The XC60’s wedge-like forward-leaning profile makes this crossover look like it’s ready to pounce. A muscular shoulder line, lower body cladding, and a coupe-like greenhouse all add to its athletic presence, as do the 18 or 19-inch wheels.
Further distinction comes from a well-sculpted back-end. But the most eye-catching cue is, no doubt, the exaggerated boomerang-like LED tail lamp design.
Offered currently as a single T6 all-wheel-drive model, the XC60 is moved by Volvo’s familiar 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6, producing 281 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Max towing capacity is a reasonable 3,300 pounds.
Power is managed by a six-speed automatic with manual mode which feeds Volvo’s latest Haldex 4 all-wheel drive system with Instant Traction torque transfer. For the more adventurous, Hill Descent Control is also available.
But this wouldn’t be a Volvo road test without a truly novel safety breakthrough. That would be Volvo’s City Safety System. City Safety is a low-speed rear collision avoidance system that utilizes an infrared laser in the rear view mirror to detect a stopped car ahead. City Safety will automatically apply the brakes at speeds up to 18 miles-per-hour to prevent a crash.
We don’t recommend you trying City Safety out just for grins like we did since it doesn’t activate until the last possible second. And stops are quite abrupt and really get your attention.
At the track, the XC60 also impressed us with its quickness. 0 to 60 in just 6.7 seconds and the quarter-mile in 15.2 seconds at 97 miles-per- hour. This crossover has a strong, smooth pull all the way up to the redline. Shifts, however, were not as quick as we would have liked them to be.
Sharing some chassis elements with the V70 and S80, suspension is front MacPherson strut/rear multi-link, with a three-mode active chassis option coming later. Aiding cornering now is an enhanced Dynamic Stability Control System, Roll Stability Control, and for towing maneuvers, new optional Trailer Stability Assist.
Maybe we expected too much, since this is a luxury car, but ride definitely rules over handling. The XC60 exhibits a top-heavy feel and reached its limits somewhat quickly.
Braking redeemed the XC60. Four-channel all-disc ABS with Brake Assist delivered average stops from 60 of a short 127 feet. They were solid and straight with minimal nose dive.
On everyday roads, the ride was soft and plush, perfect for Monday-through-Friday commutes. But with 9.1 inches of ground clearance, taking the XC60 off the pavement for a weekend adventure does not have to be a second thought.
The interior of the five-passenger XC60 is a continuation of the clean and modern Scandinavian design we liked so much in the XC70 and C30. Gauges and controls are smartly laid-out and exude an artful sophistication.
The XC60’s seats are well-contoured and supportive, featuring stitched seams and optional heat.
The slim, floating center stack design includes an available navigation screen that’s slightly angled toward the driver. It includes real-time traffic, and remote control.
There’s also a Rear Park Assist Camera packaged with the Nav system.
And not to be forgotten, our tester’s upgraded Dynaudio Premium Sound System with surround sound, for memorable listening enjoyment.
Other characteristic Volvo safety gear includes six airbags, anti-whiplash seats, and optional Lane Departure Warning.
The rear bench seat is fit for three, but it’s not the most spacious we’ve seen. Its 40/20/40 split, however, is family friendly, as are a pair of optional integrated child booster seats.
Cargo room is a generous 30.8 cubic feet with the seats up, and a very competitive 67.4 with the seats down.
Government Fuel Economy for this crossover is an underwhelming 16 city/22 highway on premium gas. We managed to get 20.6 miles-per-gallon in real-world driving.
Base pricing for the XC60 starts at $38,025. That’s less than a BMW X3, but more than the Acura RDX and the Mercedes-Benz GLK.
The eye-catching 2010 Volvo XC60 offers everything an upscale family could wish for - innovative safety, strong performance, true multi-purpose capabilities, and a comfortable, sophisticated cabin. For a company steeped in the tradition of the station wagon, the XC60 is a nice step up that doesn’t’ forget its roots.
- Engine: 3.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-6
- Horsepower: 281
- Torque: 295 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 6.7 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 15.2 Seconds @ 97 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 127 Feet
- EPA: 16 MPG City/ 22 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 20.6 MPG
Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better
When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.
The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.
Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.
A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.
That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.
The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.
At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.
While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.
Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!
- Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 227 | 250
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 6-speed auto
- Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
- EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined