Volvo XC60

2016 Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60, now in its seventh year, is a mid-size crossover SUV built on the platform of the sweet S60 sedan. Available with front- or all-wheel-drive, the XC60 is safe and particularly sensible, as Volvos are known to be. The V60 wagon is similar but its more like a large hatchback, not nearly as roomy in back as the family-friendly XC60.

The 2016 Volvo XC60 is available in 10 different models. For 2016, there are no real changes, just a shuffling of options.

The XC60s fuel-efficient, direct-injection 2.0-liter engines, called Drive-E, were new for 2015. There are two versions, the T5 with 240 horsepower and T6 with 302 horsepower, both paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The T5 is turbocharged, while the T6 adds a supercharger to the turbocharger. The idea behind having two aspiration methods on the same engine is that one (turbocharged) brings more power at higher speeds, while the other (supercharged) brings more a lower speeds.

The lightweight Drive-E engines with the solid Haldex all-wheel drive come with the old 6-speed transmissions that now seem archaic. A 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder sounds stodgy but is actually strong and smooth; a 3.2-liter inline-6 makes 240 horsepower; a turbocharged 3.0-liter six makes 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque; while the R-Design model using that engine is tuned to bring 325 horsepower.

Safety has been Volvos thing forever. The XC60 gets Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS, and nearly a clean sweep from NHTSA, missing by one star in the rollover test. Its City Safety system alerts the driver to an imminent collision and brakes to prevent low-speed rear-enders. The system recently added Pedestrian Detection and Cyclist Detection.

2014 Volvo XC60

Launched as a 2010 model, Volvo XC60 is the smallest of the Volvo crossover family, which includes XC70 and XC90. A compact SUV about the size of a Honda CR-V, Volvo XC60 competes favorably with Acura MDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. Three versions are available: XC60 3.2, turbocharged XC60 T6 AWD, and an R-Design model that develops even more power.

Volvo XC60 seats four quite comfortably, five with a bit of coziness, while offering more cargo space than nearly all competitors. XC60 looks like a smaller version of XC90, and it doesnt shout family-mobile.

The standard 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine easily meets the demands of daily driving, offering 240 horsepower and an EPA-estimated 19/25 mpg City/Highway with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is an option. Under the hood of the T6 AWD is a turbocharged 3.0-liter engine, generating 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The T6 gets an EPA estimate of 17/23 mpg City/Highway.

For those who value quick acceleration, a 325-horsepower version of the turbocharged engine is available, in the R-Design edition. Torque output is boosted by 29 foot-pounds. Like the T6 AWD, the all-wheel-drive R-Design is rated 17/23 mpg. All engines use Regular-grade gasoline.

Volvo has given the XC60 a fresh front-end look for 2014, including a new hood and front fenders, plus a revised grille with a larger Volvo iron mark. Headlights have been reshaped and a new lower front spoiler is bright-trimmed. New vertical LED daytime running lights are mounted, and Pan alloy wheels on the XC60 3.2 hold 18-inch tires. To improve handling, the base car gets new Corner Traction Control by torque vectoring. Inside are a new instrument cluster, three-spoke steering wheel, available wood trim on front door panels, stitching on door panels and armrest, white illumination for buttons (replacing green), and new front door sill plates. An enhanced tire pressure monitoring system tells whether a front or rear tire is low.

The Premier trim level gains an auto-dimming mirror, and an adaptive digital TFT display instrument cluster with three selectable themes. Premier Plus adds a rear park assist camera and quick-fold front passenger seat. Platinum gains auto-dimming, power-retractable mirrors. The optional Climate Package adds a heated windshield and steering wheel, while the Technology Package adds cyclist detection. A new Sport Package includes sport seats and 20-inch Titania alloy wheels. The Blind Spot Information System includes cross traffic alert, lane change merge aid, and front/rear park assist

Paddle shifters are new in the T6 AWD, which adds Advanced Quick Shift for 2014. In Sport mode, or when paddles are used, new software quickens gear-changes by 20-30 percent (50 percent, from First to Second gear). This cuts 0-60 mph acceleration from 6.9 to 6.5 seconds, according to Volvo.

A new Inscription Package includes Sovereign Hide soft leather seating surfaces, leather-covered dashboard, power lumbar support. New 20-inch Ixion alloy wheels go on the T6 R-Design. Premier Plus trim for the R-Design adds a rear park assist camera, while the Platinum trim get auto-dimming, power-retractable outside mirrors.

The XC60 is not the sportiest among the compact SUVs, but it handles well on city streets and highways. We ran it hard on curvy remote roads, and it responded well. Its easy to park, too, particularly with the optional rearview camera. The XC60 rides comfortably, brakes are superb, and its 6-speed automatic transmission is well tuned.

Volvos full-time all-wheel-drive system works smoothly in the daily grind without a huge penalty in fuel economy (18/24 mpg in the base model). AWD is truly welcome when the weather gets foul or on gravel.

With all-wheel drive and 9.1 inches of ground clearance, the Volvo XC60 offers as much off-highway capability as most sport-utility buyers will ever need. It can handle backcountry trails, and the computer-managed Hill Descent Control makes creeping down steep inclines secure. An XC60 can tow 3300 pounds: a trailer full of snowmobiles or a small boat.


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