For auto fans accustomed to loving the brand of cars that used to look like the box they came in, the latest Volvo products are sculptured, sensuous, Swedish machines.

Chinese owner Gheely Motors has brought life to the premium brand that Ford once abandoned in a fire sale.

Unfortunately, many of Volvo’s loyal fans moved to other products during the “lean years,” since Volvo’s just weren’t competitive. Subaru comes to mind as one of the automakers who gained the Volvo station wagon crowd – those drivers who cherish function over form, value over velocity.

With Subaru sales continuing to rocket up the sales charts, I doubt many converted Volvo owners are looking over their shoulders in remorse, especially since it appears that Volvo’s new ownership is stridently moving the brand to a more premium presentation.

With large sales in China, plus an emphasis towards electrification, Volvo is now chasing Audi and Mercedes customers.

At the start of Volvo’s turnaround, at least in the American marketplace, the first- generation XC60 appeared. A compact class crossover, the first XC60 proved to be a refreshingly competent product: Many pundits deemed the XC60 the best Volvo in the lineup for several years.

The same might be said today, as the second-generation XC60 checks a lot of boxes and gift-wraps many of them quite nicely.

First, it should be noted that the XC60 is really two distinct crossovers, with different target audiences. Sized comparably to a BMW X3 or Audi Q5, the Volvo also matches up against the Mercedes GLC, Lincoln MKC, Lexus NX and Cadillac’s new XT4.

Several of these rivals use 2.0-liter turbo-power as a standard engine. Base model Volvo T5’s come with a 250-hp version of the brand’s highly technical 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Pricing starts at $41,500 with a heavy dose of standard gear: AWD, leather seating, panoramic roof, Apple/Android compatibility, and some electronic driving aids.

Next up is the T6, with a 316 hp version of the same engine, aided by supercharging. Our sample was a T8, the supercharged and turbocharged engine with two electric motors (one in the eight-speed transaxle, one in the rear axle) called Twin-engine Powertrain and providing a total of 400-neck-snapping horsepower.

Add a 10.4-kWH lithium-ion battery pack under the rear seat and this plug-in hybrid can travel as far as 18 miles on electric juice before automatically switching to hybrid-mode.

There are, however, drawbacks. The electric motors and batteries add more than 400 pounds, pushing XC60 weight to more than 4,700 pounds, the most in the segment; the gasoline tank shrinks by four gallons, which limits hybrid-operating range and negates some of the electric-only gain; and with 400 hp on tap, you might be tempted to exploit this torquey power more often, since this Volvo is as quick as a Porsche Macan.

Our realized economy was barely 26 mpg for our 750 miles together, quite a bit less than some other less expensive hybrid offerings.

And then there’s the price. The T8 starts at $52,900 before you plunge into all of those delicious features. Inscription trim, with Driftwood décor, special exterior trim, navigation, and a hands-free power tailgate: $3,800. Adaptive cruise, heated wiper blades, power folding second row seats, and semi-autonomous drive system: Add $2,000.

More safety, like cross-traffic alert, park assist, blind-spot detection, and auto-dimming mirrors: another $1,100.

But you can’t possibly leave out the delightful Nappa Leather massaging seats with selectable lumbar and heated steering wheel. They’re just $3,000. Curve-following headlamps, surround-view camera, sign recognition, graphical heads-up display, headlight washers, just $1,800.

All-in as shown; $71,590.

The Inscription-level interior is much more upscale than base T5 models. On some levels, it beats Audi. The leather seating is fabulous, with thigh extenders to help back support. The cabin is quiet at road speeds.

While feeling slightly detached from the total driving experience compared to the German offerings – perhaps isolated is an apt description – there is no denying the plush competence exhibited.

Techno-geeks will be captivated by the nine-inch Sensus touchscreen and its various functions and apps – your owner’s manual is even digital, no printed version – while your neighbors will gripe about that rich-looking new car you bought.

Wink, too, when someone asks why the T8 has a NASCAR-style lower front splitter; just don’t tell them how fast the T8 whisks you around, with or without electric power.

Ample power, crafted interior, eye-catching exterior styling, and smooth compliance all wrapped in a package brimming with technology. This is not your grandfather’s Volvo.

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