The Car Connection Volvo XC60 Overview
The Volvo XC60 is a mid-size, luxury crossover SUV. A part of the Volvo lineup for half a decade now, it shares some running gear with the S60 lineup of sedans.
In the Volvo lineup, the XC60 sits below the brand-new XC90 utility vehicle. Because of the XC60's size and luxury, it is a rival for vehicles like the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Lincoln MKC, and Audi Q5.
MORE: Read our 2016 Volvo XC60 review
With the same Scandinavian design influences as the XC90, blended with the lines of the S60 sedan, the XC60 packs in cool modern design, safety technologies aplenty, and just enough quirkiness to remind you that its roots are not German, Japanese, or American. It is also a solid performer.
At the time of its launch, the XC60 combined a 3.2-liter inline-6 engine with front-wheel drive in its most fuel-efficient form. It returned a reasonable 19 mpg city, 25 highway and was rated at 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.
That engine has since been replaced; in fact, Volvo has offered a plethora of powertrains in the XC60, changing them frequently as it ushered in a new era of powertrains across its lineup. The variants have included a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 making 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque in all-wheel-drive T6 models, or 325 hp and 354 lb-ft in the R-Design model. The latter also benefits from aggressive body kit pieces and unique chassis tuning that firms up the suspension. There have also been Polestar-tuned versions available in the past, based on the R-Design.
The 2013 model year brought realigned features between the T6 and R-Design models, as well as a few more standard features, including rain-sensing wipers, headlight washers, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Volvo lightly refreshed all of its models for 2014, including mild front-end styling updates and various changes to the infotainment system inside.
For 2015, the Volvo XC60 received a new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines for front-wheel-drive models. The base XC60, known as the T5, uses a 240-hp turbocharged version, while the more powerful T6 gets a 302-hp that's supercharged (to boost power at low engine speeds) and turbocharged (for increased output at higher engine speeds). Fuel economy is much improved in these models, with EPA combined ratings now up to 27 mpg for the T5. The all-wheel-drive models continue on with their six-cylinder engines.
Despite its height, the XC60 drives nicely on the road, with a very carlike feel. It has a planted, secure attitude that's absent on many crossovers, and behaves as well on tight turns as it does on long highway straights. The well-weighted steering system and smooth 6-speed automatic transmission certainly add to its demeanor.
When it comes to safety, the XC60 ticks all the right boxes and scores top marks in independent crash testing. There’s also an array of advanced safety features like forward-collision warnings with automatic braking; adaptive cruise control; lane-departure warnings; and blind-spot monitors.
Halfway through the 2015 model year, the XC60 adopted a completely new Volvo Sensus infotainment system, with new 3D map views, integrated concierge services, and new apps for streaming audio.
In the future, the XC60 is likely to move to a powertrain lineup that consists entirely of turbocharged and plug-in hybrid four-cylinders. The move should coincide with the move of production to Volvo's new assembly plant in Charleston, S.C., which is expected in time for the 2018 model year.