The Volvo XC60 is an all new luxury crossover that blends the spaciousness of a full size SUV with the performance of a sedan.
Performance – The power of this XC60 comes from the same inline-6 turbocharged engine that can be found in the S60 T6 but with a few tweaks. It doesn’t put out quite as much power as the S60 variant but it’s not considered a slouch either with its 281hp and 295 lb-ft of torque power delivery. However, in the updated 2011+ models of the XC60, the engine has the exact same power figures as the current generation S60 (325 hp & 325 lb-ft). Like other turbocharged engines that Volvo produces, this one does not suffer from any sort of turbo lag and power is instantaneous at the exact moment that you put your foot down on the throttle pedal. This test vehicle had also done almost 100,000km and yet the engine felt like as though it had just left the factory line yesterday.
Volvo’s Haldex all-wheel-drive system keeps the big CUV firmly planted and in the driver’s control at all times. It is a clever AWD system that detects which wheel has the most grip and sends the engine’s power to that wheel making the XC60 pull very quickly out of corners or slippery situations. Also the steering feel can be adjusted on the fly to better suit the driver’s preferences. Although, with the least amount of steering assist it doesn’t make the CUV feel like a Lotus Elise but it is a lot better than an Audi Q5 for example. The XC60 also has 3 choices to choose from for the ride quality. Dubbed the “Volvo Four-C”, it is a system that adjusts the Ohlin’s shocks for different softness or firmness settings. In Comfort mode, the shocks are at their softness and makes for a very comfortable ride. In Sport mode, there is a compromise between ride comfort and limiting body roll for better handling. In Advanced mode, the shocks are set to their stiffest setting with no regard to ride comfort at all.
Comfort – If you leave the XC60 in Comfort mode all the time, you will not be disappointed with the ride quality. The best way to describe is that it’s better than smooth. Ohlins has a reputation for making only quality shock absorbers and the ones fitted to this XC60 are no exception. Cracks and bumps, that you’d normally swerve to avoid, can be driven right over without ever having to cringe as you ride over them.
The interior space of the XC60 is on the larger side when compared against the BMW X3 or Audi Q5. Occupants at the front have plenty of leg and head room while occupants in the back can choose to fold the center “seat” to become an arm rest or fold it up to allow for a 3rd person. Unfortunately it does not have a 3rd row available unlike the Nissan Rogue. This T6 model is equipped with leather seats, as you’d expect from a luxury vehicle, as well as a full complement of air bags to keep all occupants safe in an accident.
The interior styling is starting to become a bit of a let-down for me because it is showing its age. The “floating” center console was very interesting when it was first introduced, and it still is, but the actual buttons look like they’re from the 1990’s and need to be updated. Also the instrument cluster still consists of 2 analog gauges for the tachometer and speedometer however in the new 2014+ models, it has been replaced by a digital instrument cluster similar to the 2014 S60 T6.
Odds and Ends – Volvo has moved away from its stereotypical “box on wheels” styling but the XC60 manages to look just like a high riding station wagon. But I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing because I like the look of it. The exterior body has more curves than an iPhone but still manages to look attractive from just about every angle. I particularly like some of the details such as the “XC” designation etched in the wheels and the flow of the rear taillights at night. It is an elegant design.
Of course this being a Volvo, it comes with a boat load of safety features. City Safety is at the top of that list because it comes standard and at speeds below 30km/h it can stop the vehicle if it thinks that and accident will occur with an object in front and the driver will be unable to stop in time. Having tried this system first hand, I can tell you that it works brilliantly all the time. Blind side monitoring, lane departure warning, driver alert controls, collision warning, and many more electronic features combined with a rigid chassis made this crossover the safest of any crossovers with the NHTSA and earning it a 5 star safety rating in each category.
Thank you to Jim Pattison Volvo of Surrey for providing the vehicle.
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.