Volvo are pushing the message out there that things are on the up and up for them.
They are in their fourth consecutive year of record sales, which are currently up over 8% globally.
There is a quiet confidence about the premium car maker, not exactly a swagger, but a noticeable upbeat mood. And with fair reason. Volvo now have one of the finest, if not the finest, selection of vehicles they ever had in their fleet. Premium cars, premium quality, premium drive, and with an edge in pricing on the opposition.
Recently we had a drive in the new mid-size XC60, which we are told is aimed at those who enjoy an active lifestyle. There must be a lot of the kind around, because the previous XC60 sold nearly 1-million units.
Buyers and sellers
Well, here's the thing, if Volvo can get that one million buyers, or a good number of them, into the latest version of the XC60 they could be on to a real winner. Because they will be buyers and sellers; setting tongues wagging, offering positive messages.
The XC60 won't blow you away with shape. It has that timeless look about it, almost as if you had seen it before, yet if exudes freshness and a sharp, modern style....a long bonnet, muscular wheel arches and short overhangs.
The clincher with the XC60, the thing that hooks you straight off, is the drive; easy, relaxed, composed, elegant, quiet.
Our drive in the twin turbo 190bhp automatic diesel was a delight, an absolute delight.
There is an easy yet strong beat to the power unit that can offer returns in excess of 50 miles to the gallon. Someone once wrote that your favourite car is the one you want to drive every day. Well, we would have to admit the XC60 hit that target dead centre.
The gear shift that is designed to minimise power loss is silk smooth, and draws the best from an agile engine that carries what is a big bodied vehicle with a feel that is akin to a relaxed flow along the road more than a drive.
The i-ART injection technology is the key, we are told. This measures precisely the fuel for each cylinder, which helps the engine run more smoothly while using less fuel. And the fuel flow is set for the lifetime of the car, apparently.
Full air suspension isolates the car's body from the road and helps smooth out any humps or bumps thrown up by differing surfaces.
It is easy to work with this car, if you get my drift.
Most of my drive was in the Eco (efficient) mode, which didn't lack edge, but there are alternatives to suit various tastes - Comfort (every day), Off Road (rough road) and Dynamic (high performance).
Luxurious materials are used in the warm, high end welcoming and spacious cabin, and the driver has a command view of all around him.
The car is packed with driving aids and creature comforts (see list below). The lay-out and clarity of the various controls help the drive take in everything at a mere glance.
The biggest selling point of the XC60 can be the drive. If Volvo can get enough interested parties to get behind the steering wheel, then they will be half way there.
Take the prompt. Go for it!
Volvo XC60 2.0-litre Momentum D4 AWD common-rail twin turbodiesel, 8-speed Geartronic €53,950 (ex-works), 190bhp at 4,250pm, 400Nm at 1,750 to 2,500rpm, 0 to 100kph in 8.4 seconds, top speed 205kph, 5.1 litre/100km, 55.3mpg (mixed cycle), CO2 133g/km, annual road tax €280.
Standard specification - Geartronic transmission with Sport mode and manual change function, speed sensitive steering, steering wheel remote Infotainment controls, cruise control, hill start assist, hill descent assist, drive mode settings, adjustable steering force, 18" alloy wheels with 235/60 tyres, 2-zone electronic Climate Control with 'Clean Zone' air quality system, 8" Active TFT Crystal Driver's information display, City Safety (includes pedestrian, cyclist detection), evasive manoeuvre assist, road sign information display, driver knee airbag, side impact protection system (SIPS), SIPS airbags (front), inflatable curtains, leather faced upholstery, heated front seats, whiplash protection system, stability and traction control, Isofix attachment, alarm, key integrated remote control central locking, voice activated control of key functions, Bluetooth, DAB radio, Sensus Connect with high performance sound, Sensus navigation (European mapping, traffic info, lifetime annual map updates).