For the Volvo Enthusiast

Swedespeed Project XC60 T6: July 2010 Update

Another month has passed and again, the weeks have been worry-free for our XC60. However, with 21,500 miles on the dial a display screen is reminding us that our next oil change is just 1000 miles away, a friendly “Book time for maintenance” message on the dash reminding us each time we fire the engine. While it’s in, we will have the tech look into one small bug; the navigation startup screen displays, then in most cases we engage reverse and the backup camera claims all those pixels. It’s after that when the trouble happens, as every so often we’ll put the car back in drive and the navigation won’t come back. The screen just goes black, and there’s nothing that’ll fix it short of turning the car off and back on again. Odd, we know. Hopefully the dealership isn’t as surprised as us.

While our past few weeks with the Volvo have been pretty uneventful, we spent a few days away having a slight peek into a future where the XC60 is even more impressive than it is now. This happened when we drove the new 2011 S60 sedan, which is essentially a lower, sportier, updated version of the XC. For the upcoming model year, the XC60 will get that car’s updated T6 engine, raising horsepower from 281 to 300 and torque from 295 lb-ft up to 325. The car’s current power is perfectly adequate, even at the top of its class, making this an unnecessary but obviously welcome change. The S60’s updated transmission with quicker shifts should make the jump too, partially correcting one of our biggest complains about the XC, even if the new version still isn’t amazing.

That isn’t the only thing that should be fixed soon. The other XC60 features we’re growing tired of include the outdated navigation, the smallish screen, the joystick controls on the back of the steering wheel, and the radio and settings display being separate and up on top of the dash. Those should all go away eventually to make room for the S60’s bigger, far better screen that controls both the radio and the maps, along with the roller ball control on the wheel.

For any of you reading this who drive an XC60, love it, and will be looking for another car soon, the S60 would fill the other half of the garage quite well. The feel of the two models is quite similar, the environment inside is similar, and in fact the S60 feels just like an XC60 only sharper in every way. But of course, it also doesn’t have the space of an XC.

Speaking of which, the XC60’s cargo hold has been treating us well and getting a ton of use lately, swallowing up garbage bags full of recyclables, seven boxes filled with 500 t-shirts for a recent event, and whatever else we might throw its way. We’re starting to feel like we’ve pushed the XC60 enough that it’s thankful when all we toss in the back are a few Trader Joe’s bags. We’ve been disappointed by just one thing — while the front passenger seat features a release to be able to fold flat, the track doesn’t slide the seat back far enough for the headrest to clear the dash, and the headrest also isn’t easily removable. So right now, our fold-flat seat is one in theory only.

We look forward to our final quarter of the year with our trustworthy Volvo, and now that we’ve lived with our H&R lowering springs for a number of months and have gotten used to the stiff ride we’re actually excited to revert back to stock and remember what softness we’ve been missing. Still, the lower ride has made the car way more fun and we’re still digging the look combined with our big Heico wheels.

In mid-August, we’ll be pulling out the Zymol to get the XC cleaned up for the Volvo Club of America National Meet, which takes place at the beautiful Gilmore Car Museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan this year. If you’re in the area on the weekend of the 14th and 15th, make sure to come join us.

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