Premium compact crossovers are all the rage these days, and within that hot market, Volvo works to carve out a high-style niche for its XC60.
The XC60 is in the autumn of its product cycle; this generation hit European roads at the end of 2008 and is slated for a 2017 redesign. US buyers first saw it as a 2010, and it’s still selling in decent volumes, with current sales running about half the Audi Q5 and nearly matching the BMW X3.
The freshening the XC60 got for 2014 helps keep it in the game; those slit-like fog lights are particularly striking.
“Premium compact crossover” is the XC60’s market, and with a base price of $36,400 for the front-wheel drive T5 Drive-E, the XC60 is still in reach of those choosing between entering the upscale market and buying a heavily optioned Honda CR-V or Ford Escape.
Part of the reason for going premium is the wider variety of available options, and the XC60 has a choice of many upgrades. The tested T6 all-wheel drive had the $4,400 Platinum Package, with its terrific Harmon Kardon sound system and trademark center dash speaker.
Platinum also includes a rear view camera and the Technology Package, with its adaptive cruise control.
Platinum also includes rear seat head rests that can flip down remotely…
…and a power rear tailgate.
The Technology Package has Volvo’s collision warning system, which goes as far as to stop the XC60 if it senses an imminent situation. As with many competing systems, San Francisco’s steep hills gave it a scare; approaching a grade with brio sent the warning system into full squawk.
Next time, we’ll dig around in the settings to see if Volvo included an adjustable sensitivity.
For dog lovers, the XC60 can be had with this neatly-shaped dog crate and corresponding grate above the rear seat.
Although this crate is lightweight, it feels stout enough for most active pups. The door swings up with the help of a hydraulic strut, a nice touch. The current trend seems to favor buckling up your dog, but a crate will be effective in at least keeping Spot from becoming a deadly projectile in an accident.
The XC60 offers five different power outputs from its engines, ranging from 240 horsepower (which matches the top Ford Escape) for the front-wheel drive T5 Drive-E to 325 horsepower for the T6 all-wheel drive R-Design.
The tested XC60 was one step down from the top, with 300 horses available from its 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder. This engine suits the XC60 well; it takes what feels like a heavy vehicle and injects feelings of lightness and strength. Takeoffs are strong, and turbo lag is minimal. The EPA rates it at 24 mpg overall.
The T6’s six-speed automatic is a willing partner, with crisp downshifts for nice matchups with the turbo’s boost.
Handling was typical Volvo, with minimal body roll and a generally even-tempered feel. The XC60 feels big but not bulky.
The test car had the optional $1,000 “Titania” 20-inch wheels.
Inside, the XC60’s two-toned leather is dramatic, and it’s fitted to front seat that are as comfortable as any Volvo has built. They set you up for good posture, and your view out is commanding.
The back seat is roomy enough for six-footers.
Another typical Volvo detail we find pleasing is its choice of accent material – the sculpted shiny trim picks up light while not looking cheap.
Otherwise, interior styling balances the flashy…
…with the straightforward.
The Volvo faithful will find much that’s comfortingly familiar in the XC60’s design – safety, utility and those throne-like front seats – and buyers shopping for something chic in this market segment will find much to catch their eye, with more than ample performance to back it up.
Tell us in the comments – do you think the XC60 has the goods to compete in the hot premium crossover segment?2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD
Base Price: $42,400
Price As Tested: $51,675
Power Operated Tailgate With Memory Setting
Active Dual Xenon Headlights With Washers
Rear Park Assist Camera
Convenience Package – Homelink, Digital Compass, Cargo Cover, Grocery Bag Holder, 12V Power Outlet in Cargo Area, Power Retractable Exterior Mirrors, Electric Folding Rear Headrests
Harmon Kardon Premium Sound System
Technology Package – Adaptive Cruise Control With Queue Assist, Collision Warning With Full Auto Brake, Distance Alert, Driver Alert Control, Lane Departure Warning, Active High Beam, Road Sign Information
20-Inch TITANIA Alloy Wheels: $1,000
Child Booster Seats: $500
Power Child Locks
Dual Outboard Child Boost Seats With Adaptive Seatbelts
Blind Spot Information Systems Package: $900
Metallic Paint: $550
Heated Front Seats: $500
Destination Charge: $925
Comfortable and powerful
Lots of safety tech
Feels stable rather than sporty
Overactive collision warning in hilly terrain
Price adds up with options