An all-new model for 2010, the Volvo XC60 is just about everything you could want in a crossover-style vehicle: comfort, performance, relative practicality and gorgeous styling in a tight little package.

Currently, the XC60 comes strictly with a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder “T6” engine, producing 281 horsepower, and with all-wheel drive, starting at $45,495. That will eventually change, though; Volvo will add a 235-horsepower, non-turbo six-cylinder that will come in front-wheel-drive for $39,995, or in all-wheel, with several other upgrades, for $44,495. The T6 model will then increase to $49,995, but will also have several other top-of-the-line features added to it. As with all Volvo models, options can very quickly push those prices considerably higher.

The XC60 is based on a shortened version of the platform used in the S80 sedan, which also makes it a cousin to the Volvo V70 and XC70.

The turbocharged engine is smooth and powerful, but it is thirsty, returning only 12.4 L/100 km (23 mpg) in everyday driving for me. By published figures, the BMW X3, Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Volkswagen Tiguan all do better. The upcoming non-turbo model should improve on that; in the meantime, the T6’s appetite is partially offset by its only needing 87-octane fuel.

Volvo chose the XC60 to debut its new City Safety, which is offered as standard equipment. The company says that 75 per cent of all collisions occur at speeds below 30 km/h, mostly caused by drivers not paying attention in parking lots or stop-and-go traffic. City Safety, which can be shut off if not wanted, uses a laser to measure the distance to the vehicle in front. Active at speeds of between 4 and 30 km/h, the system first pre-charges the brakes, reduces the throttle, and illuminates the brake lights. If the driver is still oblivious, the system jams on the brakes and brings the car to a stop — quite late in the travel, and with jarring force that’ll “learn ya” for next time. Be aware, though, that the system can only detect wide objects such as other vehicles; it’s still up to you to avoid knocking over pedestrians.

The XC60 is gorgeous inside, with heated leather seats, soft-touch plastics, wood trim, metallic accents, and an optional cargo system that lifts up and contains hooks to hold grocery bags, or pulls up to reveal divided cubbies.

Both the rear seats and the front passenger seat fold for extra cargo capacity. Gorgeous, fun-to-drive and all-day comfortable, this is one sweet little machine.

2010 Volvo XC60
Type: CUV
Price: from $45,495.
Engine: Turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder “T6” engine
HP: 281

Highlights
• Comfortable and stylish
• City Safety — collision prevention technology