The stylish XC60 puts Volvo's Scandinavian style into a small luxury crossover SUV. The XC60 comes in three trim levels. Our tester was the middle of the lineup — the all-wheel-drive T6. Think of it as this generation's Volvo wagon.
Appearance: We first drove the XC60 when it was introduced as a 2010 model and the design remains unchanged, which is a good thing. The SUV is still one of the more handsome we've seen, with a high stance, elegant roofline and a curvy rear end with vertical taillights shaped like some modern sculpture. The tall XC60 is set off by silver low-profile integrated roof rails.
Performance: The XC60 has a solid feel, which befits a vehicle that weighs 4,225 pounds. The ride is smooth and comfortable, with the AWD keeping the vehicle grounded. We found the handling deft for such a heavy vehicle, with minimal body roll. The T6 trim's inline 3.0-liter turbo 6 cylinder puts out 300 horsepower and propels the SUV athletically on the highway and under heavy acceleration. The 6-speed automatic, which also has a sport mode, shifts smoothly. The estimated mpg is mediocre, especially in the city, at 17 city and 23 highway. As you would expect from a Volvo, there's a host of safety features that include standard City Safety, which helps avoid a low-speed frontal impact by applying the brakes without driver intervention. This SUV has earned five stars in government crash tests.
Interior: The XC60 has a handsome, aluminum-trimmed cabin with a panoramic sunroof. The interior only deviates from its minimalist Scandinavian design with a too-busy center console that's heavy on buttons. In an era of Bluetooth phone connections, do we need a numeric keypad? The center stack has a floating design with a storage nook behind it. Lyra found the navigation unit difficult to use. It's not a touchscreen, and its control dial doesn't stand out from the other dials and it's to the far right of the console. The well-bolstered and comfortable leather seats — trimmed in ivory and chocolate — command attention (Peter's wife was a big fan) and are the cabin's highlight. We found the interior had adequate head- and legroom, but the rear seats will cramp taller passengers. Our tester was outfitted with the Platinum package ($4,600), which included a rearview camera, parking sensors, navigation, premium sound system, power lift gate and power-folding rear headrests. The climate package ($900) includes front and rear heated seats. A blind-spot warning system is optional. We think that's a rare Volvo safety oversight. There's up to 67.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded flat.
Our 3 favorites
Ambient touch: The shifter knob glows with ambient lighting.
Scan design: The console could use some pruning, but the rest of the cabin is soothing.
Safety: Lots of standard and optional features, plus high crash-test scores.
Gliding in comfort: Plush seats, smooth and quiet ride.
Heated rear seats: Great for cold rear ends after a chilly soccer practice.
Instrument detail: The red gauge needles look as if they're floating.
The bottom line: The XC60 may get lost in the crowded luxury SUV market, but Volvo's style and safety features make it a leading contender.