As we found on that especially devious section of PCH, the XC60 holds the road rather well on all but maybe the tightest twisty bits, which is inevitable given its slightly higher center of gravity compared with, say, an S40 or S60. But on long, sweeping downhill sections it feels well planted, even at higher speeds. In case you find yourself having a little too much fun, standard equipment also includes Volvo Roll Stability Control (RSC), an active stability enhancement system that assesses any imminent risk of rollover and reduces engine torque accordingly, as well as directing braking power to one or more wheels to try and counter any adverse oscillations.

The interior is inviting and typically Scandinavian in its simplicity and the intuitiveness of design. One nice feature is a rear seat that can be folded flat according to a 40/20/40 split, allowing you to enhance the utility of the rear cargo bay, which is, incidentally, quite spacious. And there's the signature "waterfall" center stack. Once ergonomically nightmarish, Volvo dash arrays have evolved into perhaps the cleanest and most attractive in the industry.

A range of useful options is also available, including Hill Descent Control, a laminated panoramic moonroof, integrated child booster seats, in-dash navigation, and Dynaudio premium sound. If you've never experienced premium Volvo audio, we've always found it to kick butt.

North American sales should begin right about now. If you're an upwardly motivated young urban professional looking for a good mix of style, utility and sport, or looking to start a family, the XC60 could be a beautiful thing.

2010 Volvo XC60
* Layout
Transverse front engine, all-wheel drive

* Engine
3.0-liter I6, dohc, 24-valve, turbocharged and intercooled

* Transmission
Six-speed Geartronic automatic

* Suspension
MacPherson strut front, multilink rear

* Brakes
Four-channel system with ABS and Hydraulic Brake Assist

* Dimensions
Length/Width/Height (in.):
Wheelbase: 109.2 in.
Curb Weight: 4,174 lb

* Performance
Peak Power: 281 hp @ 5600 rpm
Peak Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
0-60 mph: 7.1 sec.
Top Speed: 130 mph (limited)

Price Tag

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