Is it just me, or is something terribly wrong about an SUV winning Wheels Car of the Year?
As good as Volvo’s new XC60 might be (and according to colleague David Conole it is), fact is it’s still an SUV or four-wheel drive as we used to call them — with all that entails.
Last year the award went to the Mazda CX-9 seven-seater – you guessed it, another bloody SUV.
The Ford Territory was the first SUV to claim the title in 2004 — in fact, that was the year they changed the rules to include SUVs.
And let’s not forget the hybrid CR-Z in 2011 — didn’t that cause a stink?
Maybe it’s just a reflection of the way things are going, with the demise of large sedans and the homegrown product, and the continuing proliferation of SUVs in all shapes and sizes.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for SUVs and the older you get, the more attractive they seem to become — based purely on comfort and a practical point of view.
They might have an engine, a gearbox and four wheels, but where we wonder is the passion and excitement that comes from driving a real car?
For mine, the thrill is, and should always be, a key ingredient.
The XC60 took out this year’s award from a field of 22 candidates, half of which in fairness we should point out were SUVs.
They included such notables as HSV’s swansong GTS-R W1 (plenty of excitement there), the perennial Hyundai i30 (you’ll get there one days fellers), Suzuki Swift (they’re right back on the radar) and let’s not forget the Kia Stinger (hasn’t that at upped the ante).
Wheels editor Alex Inwood said the judges considered the XC60 head and shoulders above its rivals.
“No matter where you look, the Volvo XC60 feels like a premium product. In an era defined by superficiality, the XC60 is exactly the product we expect from an engineering-led brand like Volvo. It sets a new global benchmark for medium SUVs and is a deserving winner of the Wheels Car of the Year award.
“The XC60 not only caught the eye with great styling, it consistently delivered throughout our rigorous testing program, ultimately out-pointing all-comers to be a most worthy winner.”
It’s the first time Volvo has taken out the prestigious award and for that they deserve a pat on the back.