The new XC60 - the Dramatic New Approach to Volvo's DNA
Ask Volvo Car Corporation's Design Director Steve Mattin to describe the new Volvo XC60 and he will unhesitatingly deliver a distinctive answer: "The boldest crossover so far. This vehicle is charged with more emotive form and far more energy than any previous Volvo model."
Mattin and his team have designed the XC60 with a firm eye on a very clearly defined goal.
"We're elevating our design DNA to an entirely new level by literally turning up the visual volume," says Mattin. "If you say that you'd recognize a Volvo from a hundred metres away today, I'd say the XC60 radiates a clear Volvo presence from at least twice that distance. Traditionally, Volvo's interpretation of DNA signified ‘Do Not Abandon' the design traditions. We have now expanded its significance to also include the more exciting ‘Dramatic New Approach'."
As a crossover vehicle, the Volvo XC60 is spiced with the very best from two vehicle types. The bottom section displays the unmistakeable, capable XC muscles, creating a strong athletic body that is mated with high ground clearance and large wheels. Up above, the flowing lines create the sporty charisma of a coupe.
"The XC60 is much more emotionally charged than most of its competitors in the segment," explains Mattin. "It is seductive and packed with thrilling contrasts. Sleek yet muscular at the same time. Powerful yet agile. Large yet at the same time compact. The XC60 is actually 20 centimetres shorter than the XC70."
Enlarged iron mark signals the right attitude
At the front, the enlarged iron mark in the trapezoidal grille is designed to fill the rear-view mirror of the car in front and deliver a distinct signal that a more extroverted Volvo Cars' has arrived.
"The classic iron mark now gets the role it deserves," says Mattin. "Not discreet and modest, but bold and packed with self-confidence. It is precisely this attitude that Volvo's brand name should have."
Mattin adds that the XC60 also previews the new face of Volvo vehicles, displaying attitude and strength and full of expression, personality and self confidence.
The frowning contours of the headlamps and the taut rearward flow of the front fenders emphasize the hood's classic V-profile, giving the front an eager, wedge-shaped stance. This DNA ingredient is further strengthened by the newly incorporated unique grill lamps. They characterize the front of the vehicle, flanking the grill and emphasising the V-shape and vertical stance of the XC60's front end.
"The expression ‘the eyes are the mirror of the soul' is an excellent description of the headlamps' role," explains Mattin. "The eyes reveal more about your personality than any other facial expression does."
The sculpted, seductive lines are particularly clear when the XC60 is viewed from the side. The crossover's shoulders are exceptionally broad. Toward the front they are strengthened by an underlining sculptural undercut, and when it comes to the rear wings Steve Mattin resorts to the sensually loaded adjective "voluptuous".
The large wheels, bold wheel arches and curves in the sheet metal further enhance the muscular XC feel, while the dynamic, flowing lines of the XC60's greenhouse combined with its daring roof impart the feel of a sporty coupe.
New rear light configuration
At the rear the muscular shoulders are emphasised by the characteristic LED lights set into the tail lamps. For the first time in a Volvo vehicle, the rear position lights also double as brake lights, which means that the entire shape of the shoulder lights up when braking, giving the XC60 a stronger and more distinctive look. The third brake light becomes a sculptural part of the roof spoiler. On the tailgate, the "VOLVO" word now appears in bolder, more widely spaced letters.
"Another new feature is that the roof rails have for the first time been integrated into the roof," says Mattin. "This gives the vehicle an unusually low and broad stance for a crossover."
Interior that puts the driver in focus
The new XC60 is packed with energy on the inside too. All the occupants sit comfortably in the company's famous seats, but it becomes readily obvious that the vehicle is focused on the driver. Volvo Cars' characteristic slim centre stack has made its way into the XC60 but with a fresh design, angled toward the driver and new integrated monitor screen.
"You should feel like a pilot at the controls of a business jet, with all your passengers sitting in First Class," relates Jonathan Disley, head of interior design for the new Volvo XC60. "You are seated in comfort, surrounded by ergonomically designed instruments and you really feel that you are on top of the traffic situation around you. The XC60 has more intelligent safety systems than any previous Volvo. That's why I want the entire driver's environment to radiate a high-tech feel."
Disley and his team have created a sense of energy and motion by shaping the interior under a theme called "thick-to-thin".
"The recurrent asymmetrical look gives the interior a self-assured attitude, brimming with self-confidence," explains Disley. "This feeling is reinforced by the well thought-out mix of contrasting materials, such as soft, warm, dark panels and hard, cold aluminium inserts."
Unique seats with X-theme
The stitched seams of the unique, sculpted XC60 seats have a pronounced X-theme. The forward edge of the rear seat cushions have been curved for easier entry and exit. The rear seat is also somewhat higher than the front seats to give occupants a better forward view. The two outer seats can of course be equipped with the same two-stage integrated booster cushions that were introduced in the Volvo V70 and XC70.
Light and space
Irrespective of the interior colour scheme, the overall impression is one of space and light, thanks largely to the optional laminated glass panorama roof.
The rear tailgate opening is the widest in the segment and the luggage compartment swallows 480 litres. The rear seat is a three-piece 40/20/40 split-and-fold unit. Each section folds down easily to create a flat luggage platform for maximum versatility.
World-class audio system
The world-class audio system is an integral part of the First Class experience inside the new XC60. The optional Premium Sound features 12 Dynaudio loudspeakers and an amplifier with Dolby Pro Logic II Surround sound processing delivering 650 Watt. An optional digital subwoofer under the floor in the load compartment provides an additional 260 Watts.
The audio system can be optimised to suit three different locations: the driver's seat, front seats or rear seats. The XC60 will also be equipped with an auxiliary input for connecting the owner's own equipment, such as a portable MP3 player. A USB port is also available to plug in an iPod, MP3 player or other USB device.
New interpretation of Volvo's DNA
All told, the Volvo XC60 points the way towards Volvo Cars' future.
"In order to be perceived as premium, we have to dare to be seen clearly," concludes Mattin. "Turning up the vehicles' visual volume has been one of my biggest goals since I came here to Volvo and with the XC60 we have taken a major step forward. This is a Volvo the way I want it to be. A Volvo for myself, if you like."
Volvo Cars of Canada Corp. is part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Göteborg, Sweden. The company provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to the 42 Volvo automobile retailers across the country. The company's product range includes the stylish and sporty C30, the elegant C70 hardtop convertible, the compact S40 sedan, the S60 sport sedan, the S80 flagship sedan, the versatile V50 wagon and the award-winning XC90 sport utility vehicle. For 2008, the company is introducing two all-new models: the redesigned V70 wagon and the capable and comfortable XC70.
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