08 January 2007

Detroit show: Volvo XC60

Baby XC concept is based on the same platform as the Freelander 2

Volvo XC60

No, it's not the latest Ford Iosis concept - but darn it, it looks like it.

This is the Volvo XC60 concept, the Swedish manufacturer's first foray into the small SUV sector, a market dominated by the BMW X3 and the Land Rover Freelander.

And it's the Freelander's frame that underpins the XC60, while the styling is obviously inspired by the 'kinetic design' philosophy of Volvo's parent company, Ford.

The interior is proper concept silliness, with a luminescent LCD dash and sculpted bucket seats.

The XC60 is every bit as futuristic under the bonnet, because Volvo has fitted it with a 3.2-litre bio-ethanol engine. That's the same six-cylinder inline block as seen on the current XC90, but it has been revised to run on E85 bio-ethanol.

On this fuel mix, the XC60 will reach 60mph in just over eight seconds, and top out at 143mph.

All of which sounds very nice. But with the XC60 unlikely to hit production until 2009, you have to wonder if Volvo is entering the small SUV game just a little too late.

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