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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
XC60 moves with plenty of gusto
Volvo estimates the 4,175-lb XC60 can hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds (it feels faster)
Road & Track
Most shifts are smooth and refined
Despite the class-leading ground clearance, the XC60 doesn't feel tall or unstable
Most luxury crossovers like the 2010 Volvo XC60 aren't defined as much by their 0-60 mph times as by how well their engines handle daily driving situations. By either measure, the XC60 Volvo is a capable machine that handles much more responsively than you might expect.
All 2010 Volvo XC60s are powered by a single powerplant, which ConsumerGuide lists as "a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder, which produces 281 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque." TheCarConnection.com's research uncovers largely positive reviews, like that from Cars.com, which notes that "it's one of the more powerful base engines available in a compact luxury crossover." Road & Track calls the engine "super smooth," offering "best-in-class torque of 295 lb-ft" from 1,500 all the way up to 4,800 rpm. Car and Driver is also impressed, reporting that "turbo spool-up is immediate, midrange power is impressive, and overall operation is smooth." As for that 0-60 time, Road & Track says that "Volvo estimates the 4,175-lb XC60 can hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds (it feels faster)."
In addition to a single engine offering, the XC60 Volvo comes exclusively with one transmission, which ConsumerGuide reports is "a six-speed automatic with a manual shift gate." Once again, reviews are largely positive, and Cars.com says that "most shifts are smooth and refined, but I experienced a couple of jerks during my drive. The Sport mode is less inclined to upshift, which keeps the engine revving faster, and it seemed best suited to the task of winding mountain roads." ConsumerGuide test drives reveal that "the transmission shifts smoothly but occasionally hunts for the right gear when driving on hilly terrain." As for the user-selected gears, Motor Trend remarks that "manually toggling the six-speed automatic gearbox is fun, but nowhere near quick as some of the fancier transmissions on the market." Also worth noting is the fact that "the XC60 [Volvo] has standard all-wheel drive," which typically routes 90 percent of the engine torque to the front wheels, according to Cars.com.
Up to this point, there has been little to dislike about the 2010 Volvo XC60, but that changes once fuel economy numbers enter the discussion. Cars.com notes that "gas mileage...may be a sticking point for some," and TheCarConnection.com's editors agree. According to the official EPA estimates, the 2010 Volvo XC60 should return around 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway—certainly not the worst on the market, but a disappointment nonetheless.
We all know that first glances can be deceiving, but for some reason it's hard to describe the 2010 Volvo XC60 as nimble after giving it the once-over. However, Motor Trend comments that, "despite the class-leading ground clearance, the XC60 doesn't feel tall or unstable." Other reviewers are inclined to agree, with Cars.com raving about the "sporty handling performance—the suspension keeps body roll nicely controlled." The 2010 Volvo XC60 also has a unique handling feature, according to ConsumerGuide, as it features "the ability for the driver to adjust steering feel via the onboard computer. Three settings, ranging from light to firm, are available."
The 2010 Volvo XC60 performs well enough to satisfy all but the most performance-minded buyers, but if gas prices creep back up, it will look significantly less appealing.