The Car Connection Volvo XC60 Overview
The Volvo XC60 is a mid-size, luxury crossover SUV that has been redesigned for the 2018 model year.
In the Volvo lineup, the XC60 sits below the XC90 utility vehicle that has helped to refocus the Swedish automaker as a high-end brand. 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.
With the XC60, Volvo has a stylish luxury crossover that can cost thousands less than comparably equipped offerings from German competitors.
MORE: Read our 2018 Volvo XC60 review
The latest XC60 shares nothing with its predecessor, instead riding on a shrunken version of the brand's scalable architecture that also underpins the XC90 and S90. The latest XC60 looks for all the world like a slightly simplified, smaller version of the XC90, although there's some added flair to its taillights and a bit more playfulness to its detailing. Inside, the XC60 is a dead-ringer for the pricier models except, once again, its design is a bit cleaner and less adorned—which fits its lower price point.
Volvo offers the XC60 in three powertrains, similar to its XC90. All three are based on 2.0-liter turbo-4s, with increasing output all the way to the top plug-in hybrid T8. Starting with the turbocharged T5 that makes 254 horsepower, the XC60 T6 will make 320 hp thanks to an added supercharger. The T8's engine-battery combo will produce 407 hp and a thrilling 5.3-second dash up to 60 mph.
Volvo XC60 history
At the time of its launch back in the 2010 model year, 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 hp 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 new 2.0-liter, 4-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 continued with their 6-cylinder engines.
Despite its height, the XC60 drives nicely on the road, with a very car-like 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 emergency 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 3-D map views, integrated concierge services, and new apps for streaming audio.
For 2017, Volvo again changed up the powertrain menu—this time paring it down for the crossover's last year before a full redesign. The company moved to a unified engine strategy: all 4-cylinders, all the time. Base T5 models are powered by the same turbo-4s, all-wheel-drive T6 models have a twin-charged inline-4.