It is just a Volvo kind of morning here in Chicago. Snow has been falling for two days, and the temps are extremely frigid.
My Subaru had major struggles getting up and out of the steep driveway, thanks to my amazing decision not to shovel.
My poor Subaru Legacy GT. What a hard, battered life it leads.
Most of the damage sustained by the car has been off the pavement.
Something about huge, huge turbo power and AWD has led me --- time and time again --- to take the low-slung LGT off-roading.
Much as I love the Q-car appeal of my hot Subaru speedwagon, and am a huge fan of the upcoming V60 Sportwagon, I must caution wild folks like myself about the perils of low, car-like ride heights.
While these photos show the most dramatic-looking damage inflicted on the LGT, I am a slow learner, because kept trying to find "rally roads" for years.
Here is a spoiler alert: taking any track-biased automobile onto any gravel, dirt or rocky road ===> $2,000 in damage per 10-minutes of off-street driving.
What is the point of all this? Much as I admire the low roof of the upcoming V60 R-Design and Polestar, I would seriously think twice before buying such a low-riding machine again.
Luckily, Volvo has the perfect answer already in its model lineup: the very fresh XC60 five-seat crossover.
Powered by a turbocharged inline-six in the top specifications, this slinky and sexy design really lights up my computer monitor.
Exterior Gallery - 2014 Volvo XC60 R-Design
Major tradeoffs versus a low wagon? Step-in height for dogs will be higher, body roll a bit more of an issue on fast sweepers, and a slight hit in fuel economy.
The upsides? Ground clearance!
And styling options that turn this from a school-run Volvo into an "I run this school! Volvo."
The XC60 is a five-seater, but quite wide inside with a fantastic cabin layout.
Pricing is from $34,000 - with many generous offers like a free trip to Sweden for a factory delivery - and approaches $46,000 as the R-Design spec.
R-Design brings the Polestar chip upgrade as standard, offering 325 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque.
Through all four wheels, this unassuming crossover will hit 60-mph in 6.1 seconds.
Volvo's all share the great BMW trait of feeling secure and untaxed at high, high crusing speeds. Where my Subaru would be spinning its 5-speed box at 4100 rpm at 100 mph, the silent XC is as relaxed as it is at 70 mph.
This is a major asset for the company, thanks to Volvo's close proximity to German autobahns.
You can be sure that if Ford or Chevy engineers could day-trip to 130-plus-mph highways, they would come back to HQ with a variety of fixes needed. Most American cars need huge, huge improvement in this regard, and Japanese cars will not even set the cruise control past 91 mph.
The XC60 is a fantastic truck for all seasons, with the big-crossover room and style of the BMW X5, but pricing closer to the X3.
Enjoy these galleries, and cruise over to Volvocars.com to see all the details!
2014 Volvo XC60 - Interior Gallery
Specifications and Pricing