Family-friendly features

Family-friendly features  - 2012 Volvo XC60 Review - Reviews - Volvo XC60

One of the areas where the XC60 really shines is in its simple Scandinavian interior. The designers tried to replicate the sensation of peace and tranquility they experience on the Swedish coastline, where the smooth-as-glass water surface is punctuated with gently sloping, weather-worn rock shores. They definitely succeeded; it just feels good to sit in the XC60.

Because my New Year's resolution is to eliminate as many toxins in my daily life (foods, cleaning products, my beauty routine) as possible, Volvo's continued commitment to creating a clean environment inside this car impressed me. The leather was dyed without the chrome typically used in the process, and all nickel products (which can be highly allergenic to many people) have been completely eliminated from the XC60's interior.

The XC60 is pretty basic when it comes to family functionality. The backseat had enough room for my two oldest daughters (ages 9 and 11), but got a little tight with the addition of my 7-year-old stepdaughter on the weekend. I did manage to squeeze them all in Ч the two youngest in Bubble Bum booster seats in the outboard positions, with the oldest in the middle. Although the optional feature was not in my test car, Volvo does offer integrated booster seats in the XC60's outboard seats. They're so subtle nobody even knows they're there, helping prolong the length of time an older child will tolerate using the booster. It also simplifies seat folding, where a separate booster seat must be detached and removed before the seats can fold.

There's 36.4 inches of legroom for the rear passengers, slightly more than other cars in this class Ч like the Mercedes-Benz GLK Ч offer. While the backseat splits into thirds and folds flat with the press of a button, expanding the cargo area to 67.4 cubic feet, its backrests don't recline, a big oversight on Volvo's part. More and more child-safety seat manufacturers allow the installation of forward-facing seats in a slightly reclined position for added comfort. My youngest daughters still nap in their booster seats, so I prefer to keep the seatback reclined just enough so that they stay upright, rather than slumping forward over the top of their seat belts.

Backseat passengers have just enough storage. They each get a storage pocket on the back of the front seats, storage bins with bottleholders in the doors, and cupholders and another storage bin in the armrest that folds down from the center seatback when that position isn't in use.

Up front, two cupholders, an average-sized center console and storage bins in the front doors help contain loose stuff. Another discrete storage area is stashed behind the clean, modern floating center control panel. However, unlike in my C30, the bin isn't recessed enough to actually secure much.

The large cargo space in the XC60 fits everything a family needs and has the added functionality of a lockable under-floor storage bin. In my Platinum edition test car, I also got a lot of use out of a grocery bag holder Ч a flip-up flap that has elastic bands and hooks to help prevent grocery bags from sliding and spilling all over the cargo space. Nets on either side of the cargo area also hold on to loose items.

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