The previous generation of the premium midsize SUV was itself a darling of suburbia, standing out from the crowd with its strong lines and wagonesque looks, even if it was largely overlooked by people coveting a German badge. The new one has taken that formula and improved on it, creating something that’s as deeply impressive to drive as it is alluring to look at, and a truly desirable alternative to the Germans.
It’s something of a techno-masterpiece, too. Downsized engines deliver impressive fuel efficiency; the top-spec T8 masters an electric supercharger, a turbocharger, and a bank of lithium-ion batteries to deliver sports car levels of performance at a flex of the right foot; and a vertical screen graces the centre console, marking an end to the random button-fest that once plagued early Volvo models. There’s a characterful turbo-diesel version as well for anyone who scores long-leggedness with a high mark.
Yes, the steering lacks meat, the ride can have a bit of a rough edge to it and the throttle response lacks some finesse, but it’s the sum of the parts that makes the Volvo XC60 a worthy contender.
If the Volvo can take home the top title, it will be the first time the Swedish brand has had some Wheels silver to display in its trophy cabinet. Are Swede dreams made of these?
The 2018 Wheels Car of the Year Awards will be announced as part of the Australian Motoring Awards on January 24.