Volvo Car Corp. provides a sneak preview of its XC60 Concept, set to debut at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The XC60 cross/utility vehicle resembles a sleeker, scaled-down version of the popular XC90 CUV. Volvo says the XC60 is a hint at the next-generation XC model.

Volvo Design Director Steve Mattin says the XC60 elevates Volvo’s Scandinavian heritage, which serves as the brand’s design DNA.

The XC60 boasts new angled position lights on both sides of the grille, which the auto maker says will be featured across its future vehicles.

The concept rides on 20-in. wheels with accentuated wheel housings and aluminum scuff-plates, emphasizing its overall muscular appearance.

The interior of the XC60 is decidedly futuristic, with a floating center stack and slim, floating front and rear seats.

Keeping with Volvo’s reputation as a leader in automotive safety, the XC60 carries over the innovative pony-tail slots first introduced on the Volvo YCC (Your Concept Car) introduced in 2004.

The slots extend from the head restraints all the way down the back of the seats to provide enhanced rearward vision. By turning the head, the driver can see all the way through his or her own seat, through the rear seat’s backrest and through the transparent panel at the lower corner of the tailgate.

The slots promote added safety in a vehicle type whose height may otherwise limit rearward vision, Mattin says.

Volvo declines to say when and where a production version of the XC60 would be built, but Ward’s reported in September the auto maker was planning to produce a small CUV at its Gent, Belgium, plant sometime before 2009.