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2020 Volvo XC60

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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
July 21, 2020

Buying tip

To keep the price in check, stick with either the Momentum or R-Design powered by either the T5 or T6; both are well-equipped and plenty luxurious, and they won’t break the bank the way an Inscription with a T8 can. Oh, and get the air suspension–it’s cosseting ride is impressively serene even over the worst pavement.

features & specs

T5 AWD Inscription
T5 AWD Momentum
T5 AWD R-Design
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
MSRP
$49,150
MSRP
$42,450
MSRP
$49,150

The 2020 Volvo XC60 delivers all the feel and substance of a luxury car, without any ostentatious attitude.

Since its divorce from Ford, Volvo has revamped its line of vehicles, with a heavy emphasis on SUVs. The 2020 Volvo XC60 hits a sweet spot for luxury crossovers in price, performance, and prowess.

Last year, a new front-wheel-drive model joined the ranks for buyers lucky enough not to need the all-weather capability of all-wheel drive. This year, the new model is a bit more exciting: the Polestar Engineered XC60 is priced more than $20,000 over the top-shelf Inscription trim, but comes nearly fully loaded with 415 battery-aided horsepower. 

Also new: a standard digital gauge cluster across the board, a bigger battery for plug-in hybrids, and refined safety equipment. 

Review continues below

With the 2020 XC60, Volvo shows off a breadth of performance and convincing luxury trappings. We rate it a 7.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s most notable about the XC60 is a sense of occasion. It’s a crossover that is sharply dressed, well-built, calm in its demeanor. There’s no garishness, no loudmouthed styling. 

The XC60 doesn’t deviate from the family dress code. Its styling is familiar to anyone who has seen a XC90, including the signature headlights up front and the vertical taillights out back. It’s a clean look, and one that’s now clearly Volvo.

Three powertrains are available on the XC60. Base models get what Volvo calls the T5, which is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes a healthy 250 hp. It’s available with either front- or all-wheel drive and mates to an 8-speed automatic. 

If that’s not quite enough go juice, the T6 setup takes the turbo 2.0-liter and adds a supercharger; the result is 316 hp and brisk acceleration, exclusively paired with all-wheel drive and the 8-speed automatic.

Volvo’s most powerful and efficient powertrain is also on tap. This one is known as the T8 and pumps out 400 hp and 495 pound-feet of torque via a hybrid gas-electric setup that marries an 87-horsepower electric motor to the T6 4-cylinder. There’s also an 11.6-kwh battery to provide the necessary electrons. The result of all this wizardry is both fast and economical: there’s up to 17 miles of electric-only range and a total of 400 hp to play with. It’s not cheap, though.

Whatever engine you get, the 2020 Volvo XC60 rides and drives with the same sense of refinement that’s suggested by the styling and interior. And it’ll only be improved if you opt for the optional air suspension.

Volvo offers the 2020 XC60 in three trims: Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. The base Momentum includes leather upholstery, power-adjusting seats, a power liftgate, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The latest driver-assist safety features are also standard; this includes automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings.

8

2020 Volvo XC60

Styling

From all angles, the XC60 is handsome and debonair, a luxury car without the usual snobbishness.

We’ve been smitten with Volvo’s styling direction for some time now. It’s elegant, tasteful, impressive without being overbearing. Garnering two points for its sumptuous interior and another point for its pleasing exterior, the XC60 gets an 8 out of 10 for style. 

The interior impresses us most. Everywhere you look and touch the materials are of high quality; there’s no swaths of black plastic here. It is spa-like in its serenity. Though it doesn’t have the emphasis on technology that the Q5 has, it still puts a vertically-oriented 9.0-inch touchscreen front and center. We found it easy to use, especially compared to some frustrating systems.

The body sits upright yet rounded. It looks bigger than it is, especially with that tall grille up front and the vertical lights out back. Its tidy dimensions means there’s no mistaking it for the big-boy XC90, though.

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7

2020 Volvo XC60

Performance

Four potent and robust powertrains give the Volvo XC60 a thoroughly diversified personality.

With three powertrains on hand to choose from, the Volvo XC60 leaves no driver wanting more. We give it a 7 for performance for its drivetrain and its composed ride.

All three options begin with the same 2.0-liter turbo-4. The T5 doesn’t add anything else to that formula, while the T6 adds a supercharger. The T8 adds to the T6 setup an electric motor and an 11.6-kwh battery. All three come paired with an 8-speed automatic.

We haven’t driven the T5, so we can’t speak as to whether its 250 hp is enough to adequately motivate the two-ton XC60. But because it’s the cheapest powertrain—and the only one available with front-drive—we imagine it will prove to be the more popular of the three engines here. 

The T6 musters 316 hp and is the one we’ve driven the most. Thanks to the unique use of both a turbocharger and a supercharger, we found power comes on early and sticks around. Driven rationally this is a quiet and effortless motor, disappearing into the background and never calling attention to itself. There’s enough horsepower here to overcome the Volvo’s heft; the T6 doesn’t feel as burdened as it does in the heavier XC90. 

The T8 is Volvo’s performance hybrid. With its 11.6-kwh battery and 87-hp electric motor, it will run for 17 miles on pure electric power; from there the battery and electric motor together augment the gas engine for up to 59 MPGe combined. Its 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque makes it the quickest powertrain in the XC60 stable.

An air suspension is available on all but the base trim. It can raise or lower the car based on the situation, and offers three different drive modes to select from. Of the three—Eco, Comfort, Dynamic—Comfort matches with the XC60’s demeanor the best, bringing a sweet tune to damping, steering, and throttle adjustments.

For the rare occasions that the Volvo scrambles up a mountainside, the off-road mode slightly increases ground clearance, engages hill-descent control, slows throttle and steering responses to better stalk through off-road passages.

The normal T8 is a surprising performer in itself, but a new Polestar Engineered version promises downright high performance. It’s only a mild boost in power, just 15 extra horses, for a total of 415 hp. Revised engine mapping and other software upgrades mean this version will accelerate to 60 mph in about five seconds. The Polestar edition also gets 22-way adjustable shocks and bigger brakes, as well as 21-inch wheels stuffed in under wider wheel arches (with 22s available). It’s a high-performance vehicle, from an unlikely source, in an unlikely body style—and it’s exceedingly rare.

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9

2020 Volvo XC60

Comfort & Quality

The XC60 earns high marks for its unwavering attention to detail and all-day comfort.

The Volvo XC60 is a jack of all trades, but it is particularly adept at hauling passengers and cargo in supreme comfort. For its high quality materials and spaciousness for both people and things, we give it a 9 out of 10. 

The XC60 can carry up to five people, as there’s no third row—which is nothing to complain about in a car this size. Due to the upright style, there’s plenty of head room for everyone, both front and back. 

Front seats are incredibly comfortable, with good bolstering that isn’t excessive and just the right amount of cushion for sinking into. On higher trims, seats can be both heated and cooled; these optional chairs can massage as well. A lower center console gives an impression of roominess and makes for a nice place to rest your elbow. The lack of knobs and buttons give the cabin an uncluttered look.

The back seat isn’t a penalty box for those who didn’t call shotgun in time. Four-zone climate control is on the options sheet and gives all outboard passengers control of their microclimate; heated seats are also available for the rear outboard positions. 

Behind the second row the XC60 offers up about 30 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold it down and 50 cubic feet is available. 

Plenty of little details throughout the interior speak to Volvo’s push upmarket, including premium audio, soft-touch materials, and even a crystal-capped gearshift.

Review continues below
8

2020 Volvo XC60

Safety

Impressive IIHS crash scores and a full roster of active-safety features make the XC60 a reassuringly safe crossover.

Volvo believes safety is its prime directive, and it shows in the XC60. Based on both standard safety equipment as well as crash-test scores, we award the XC60 three points, for a total of 8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

First, crash-test scores: the IIHS gave the XC60 a ‘Good’ rating—their top mark—for all the categories they test for. The NHTSA has not yet done their testing.

Active-safety features that come standard on the XC60 include automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and roadside recognition. Optional features include Pilot Assist, a driver-assistance system that can steer the car for a short duration on well-marked highways, keep within its lane, and maintain a set following distance. Blind-spot monitors are also optional, as are parking sensors and a surround-view camera system.

Though the pillars are thick, the formal, upright profile that defines the XC60’s silhouette provides for great sightlines all the way around. Both passengers and the driver have excellent outward visibility.

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8

2020 Volvo XC60

Features

The well-equipped XC60 will impress even the most discerning luxury customers.

Like any good luxury car, the Volvo XC60 comes well-equipped and offers plenty of indulgences to further up the ante. For all this we give it an 8 out of 10.

Base models, known as Momentum, start at $41,790 after destination and are generously well equipped. Standard features include leather upholstery, Bluetooth, keyless ignition, a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and 18-inch wheels. 

R-Design is the middle child and adds 19-inch wheels, glossy black trim for a more sporting touch, and nappa leather seats with front thigh extenders. Navigation becomes standard. Stiffer springs and sport-tuned chassis mean the R-Design can back up its sporty demeanor. An R-Design costs $48,490.

Inscriptions are the high-zoot models. They add driftwood trim, four-zone climate control, chrome touches for a luxury look, and signature LED lighting. You’ll pay at least $48,490 for one of these.

The new Polestar Engineered models are by far the priciest—but also the fastest. With their power boost and re-tuned computers, five-second sprints to sixty are the norm for this flavor of XC60. Besides the powertrain, there’s also 21-inch wheels, Bowers and Wilkins audio, and a head-up display. Expect to shell out $70,495 for one.

The infotainment on all trims is handled by a standard 9.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility. We’re happy this is standard; it’s a great system, perhaps one of the best in the market. Logical and intuitive, we hope other automakers are taking a hard look at this software.

Opting for one of the optional engines will run up the bill quickly. The T6 is a roughly $3,400 upgrade; the T8, an eye-watering $14,000.

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4

2020 Volvo XC60

Fuel Economy

A penchant for premium is one of the only drawbacks of Volvo’s otherwise impressive crossover.

Despite the hybridized T8, fuel economy isn’t one of the top reasons to buy an XC60; some of this can be blamed on that two-ton-plus curb weight. We give the XC60 a 4 out of 10 on our scale. 

Front-drive models with the T5 are rated at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 24 combined. It’s the best out of the XC60’s gas engines but still nothing too great relative to the class. With all-wheel drive these numbers fall to 20/27/23 mpg. The T6 is rated identically.

T8-equipped models are better, but steep prices conspire to keep them out of reach for most buyers. With a full battery, 19 miles of range is possible and when working alongside the gas engine, fuel economy is 27 mpg combined. Premium fuel is required for all engines.

Review continues below
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$40,150
MSRP based on T5 FWD Momentum
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7.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 8
Features 8
Fuel Economy 4
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2020 Volvo XC60 Pricing Insights

  • 2020 XC60 supplies healthy; 2021s available for order
  • Factory rebate up to $4,000
  • Lease a 2020 from $395 for 36 months
  • 0% APR for 60 months + up to $2,000 bonus
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