Car Tech Video: 2013 Volvo XC60
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Car Tech Video: 2013 Volvo XC606:12 /
Compared with other high-end luxury carmakers, Volvo has fallen a bit behind the curve in the cabin technology department, but still manages a fairly well-designed vehicle.
Volvo has come a long way from the boxy 240 wagon of the 1970s. The design now is much curvier, more modern. Let's take a look at it in the 2013 Volvo XC60. The XC60 is a mid-size SUV. Volvo has one bigger, the XC90, but this is the smallest SUV in their lineup. Standard is the City Safety feature. They've got some cameras mounted up here in a pod inside the windshield. Those look forward, seeing cars and pedestrians. At slow speeds, 20 miles an hour or less, the City Safety system will actually bring the car to a complete stop if it's about to hit something. At higher speeds, 25, 30 miles an hour, the system will still hit the brakes but it'll probably still hit whatever it is in front although the system will mitigate that collision. Volvo makes a few other driver assistance features available on the XC60. One is Adaptive Cruise Control which puts a little radar sensor out in front in the grill. There's also a blind spot monitoring system, which when you have a car at either side of the Volvo back in the blind spot, it'll light up an icon in the side view mirror so you can see if there's a car in that blind spot without turning your head around. In the cabin, Volvo his your basic cabin tech suite. We've got a navigation system that's based on flash memories. We've got a Bluetooth phone system and then we've got some digital audio sources with a USB port in the console here. I like the looks of the maps in the navigation system. It's a really clean design, and you kind of expect that from Volvo, but this whole interface here, these buttons and dials, is a little bizarre to figure out. You know, you don't really where to start. There's a dial over here with a menu button on top, so you hit that and it suddenly brings you to your navigation menu which gives you your destination options. So if I roll it around, choose the menu item for set destination, I get more options here. I get address so let me do that, and then I get a selection of city, street, number, and so if I try to put in a city here I get this rotary input thing and it's really kind of tedious to use. You have to roll this dial around to each letter. Navigation, go to address; you'd also use voice command to enter in a destination but then you actually have to say each, the city, the street, and the number each separately as a separate component. That's a little tedious too but it is faster then using this dial, and I've got a USB drive full of music plugged in to the USB port here, so I'm seeing the current track that's playing on this screen. But how do I select music? How do I get to my folder list from that USB drive? Now, if I had an iOS device plugged in to that USB port, it'd actually show a musical library with the album, artist, genre; that sort of thing which is a better interface. It doesn't do that for USB drive. Volvo does put HD radio in here which is nice, and with the navigation function we also get traffic on here. That traffic comes through FM radio so you don't have to pay for like a satellite radio subscription to get that information. It'll also actively route around bad traffic problems, so that's convenient. It's a good basic cabin tech suite, but Volvo doesn't take it beyond that. You'd kind of expect more in this premium car category and it also has Bluetooth streaming so I can just keep my phone in my pocket and have the music streamed to the stereo. That stereo of course, you see the PS label here; that means Premium Sound. In this platinum trim XC60, we have this upgraded sound system, 650 watts, pretty good sound, clean sound; I like it. It's-- it's very enjoyable, has good separation, good distinction. I wouldn't say it's the best I've ever heard but it's good value for the money. Now, amongst all these buttons on the interface here, we also have this cam button, has nothing to do with the engine. If I press that, it activates the rear-view camera so you can manually activate the rear-view camera or just put it in reverse which would also bring up the rear view. And you see we have trajectory lines on here which is cool and distance lines as well. Overhead, we have this panoramic sunroof; that is a standard feature in that platinum trim. It reaches back over the rear seats which is nice but only the first three quarters that opens up. What we have under the hood here is kind of a miracle of packaging. This is a 3-liter 6-cylinder engine but it's inline so all the cylinders are one after another, and it's also transverse, sideways but it still fits within this compartment. It's got a pretty big turbo on it; that turbo helps it make 300 horsepower and 325-pound feet of torque. The fuel economy numbers are 17 city, 23 highway which is not great, but in driving I've seen it average around 21, 22 which is pretty good. This XC60 drives pretty easily because of the turbos, it generally gives decent power, takes a little moment to kick in but then it starts. There's a bit of travel in the suspension; you feel that as it goes around corners because you really feel the load shift back and forth. In normal roads, it works pretty well to dampen out the bumps, gives you a really smooth ride. As soon as I put it in its sport mode, it is a whole different experience, puts the power on [unk], much lower throttle point because of the fact that the sport mode also doesn't make the suspension any better. It's an interesting sensation; it makes this car a little harder to control. So let's price out our 2013 Volvo XC60. Base is $40,650, but bring it up to the Platinum Package, $45,250, you get all the capital iconic standard plus that rear-view camera. And even bring it further CNET style, you can get the Adaptive Cruise Control as part a Technology Package for $2,100, and you can have the Blind Spot Information System for another $700. It still doesn't have some of the really advanced tech that we see in Audis or BMWs but, overall, a very nice driver.