The Volvo XC60 Concept, which makes its world debut at the Detroit motor show next month, gives a preview of a future new model, the Volvo XC60. Joining the Volvo XC70 and XC90 in Volvo’s All Wheel Drive (AWD) ‘XC’ (Cross Country) model range, the XC60 Concept is a crossover vehicle combining the AWD versatility of a Volvo XC model with the sporty charisma of a coupé. The Volvo XC60 is expected to be in showrooms by early 2009.

Like the new Volvo C30 SportsCoupe, the Volvo XC60 is aimed at a group of people with high demands on design, brand value and high-tech innovations.

As a result, the Volvo XC60 Concept is the first car to reveal several design elements that will become characteristic of future Volvos.

"The XC60 Concept features a number of innovations that indicate how our cars will look in a few years time. It is time to once and for all forget about boxy Volvos," says Steve Mattin, Volvo’s design director. "Instead, we will make our Scandinavian design heritage more emotional and radiant by adding sculptured, exciting shapes and innovative features.

"With more expressive and emotive shapes, if you can recognise a Volvo from 50m today, I want to get to the point where you will instantly spot a Volvo from twice that distance in the future," he continued.

New design cues include an enlarged version of the classic Volvo iron mark on the front grille to literally make the brand more obvious. Similarly, at the rear of the car, the Volvo name has more pronounced lettering with wider spacing across the tailgate together with expressive, sculptured tail lights to highlight Volvo’s broad, muscular shoulders. The new angled headlights will also be seen on Volvo’s next generation of cars.

Accentuated wheel arches with 20-inch wheels and aluminium scuff plates emphasise the sculpted and emotive design Steve Mattin refers to. This contrasts with the sporty, coupe style of the windows and roof line.

The tailgate features another innovative design; the lower part moves out and up over the upper part to allow smaller items to be loaded, or alternatively just the top or the entire tailgate can be opened. In addition, to aid rearward visibility, a dark panel in the lower part of the tailgate is transparent from inside the car.

The modern atmosphere inside the Volvo XC60 Concept features a development of Volvo’s iconic, ultra-thin centre stack which is thinner, with a white i-Pod inspired surface and angled towards the driver. Touch sensitive buttons and controls are smoothly integrated into the surface, while an ‘invisible’ screen for the information and satellite navigation panel appears when it is switched on and is also back projected, which makes the centre stack one of the most innovative highlights of the interior. The sliding controls for the gear selector were inspired by those found on mixer-tables in recording studios.

Front and rear seats feature a ‘pony-tail’ slot, previewed on the Volvo YCC (Your Concept Car), which extends down the back of the seat to improve ventilation and rearward vision.