The XC60 was the first Volvo released under the design direction of Steve Mattin, before he left for Lada, and set the tone for the S60, V60 and the V40 that have since followed.

And while the XC60 was far sleeker than those that had come before, the rule book wasn’t totally ripped up. The trademark sculpted shoulders run right back to the original S80, and add a feeling of strength to the design.

Richard Bremner Autocar

Richard Bremner

Senior contributing editor
City Safety option detects objects up to 6m in front, and applies the brakes if it senses a collision is imminent

We’re now familiar with that chamfered front end too, but on its release this made the XC60 stand out, especially next to the much more conservative first generation XC90 - although these roles have now been reversed somewhat.

The attacking profile, raised at the rear like a cat prowling, helped add visual interest and it’s easy to see why it captured on-lookers glances. But time has moved on and the latest cars from the Swedish manufacturer have move the game on too, and so these once distinctive features have now become commonplace Volvo highlights.

Still, despite looking familiar to Volvo owners, parked next to rival models from other manufacturers it is still one of the most distinctive choices in the segment. And though its based on the same platform underpinning the Land Rover Freelander 2, a throwback to Volvo’s part in Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, you wouldn’t know it – the XC60 is 160mm longer, 30mm lower and has a wheelbase 110mm larger. Opt for the R-Design models with their larger alloy wheels and body styling kits and it looks even more hot hatch than SUV.

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The second generation XC60, due out in 2017, will borrow numerous styling cues from the XC90 including the 'Thor-style' headlights debuted on the big SUV and translated across other Volvo models. Changes also will be made to the SUVs powertrains with the XC60 likely to use the same 2.0-litre diesel engines and hybrid T8 unit that have marvelled in the XC90. 

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