Is there such a thing as a "perfect" crossover? Probably not, but the 2012 Volvo XC60 comes pretty close.
Excuse our enthusiasm but when it comes to styling, safety, performance and available features, the XC60 scores a lot of points.
The styling is definitely eye-catching and there are three models: 3.2, T6, and R-Design wrapped around four trim levels, Base, Premier, Premier Plus, and Platinum. Our advice? Go through those models and trim levels with your Volvo dealer to outfit your XC60 the way you'll want it.
The interior of the XC60 is lavish, comfortable, and has intriguing styling. The front seats are supportive, especially in the R-Design model and the dashboard is very cool, with a floating trim-line center panel unlike anything you'll see elsewhere.
The quality of materials is very good with a distinctive gauge cluster and instrument panel that puts everything where it belongs, including a standard 7-inch information and entertainment display. It's not a touchscreen but instead uses a steering wheel mounted controller. It's not always as intuitive as we'd like but it works fairly well once you're used to it. We really like Volvo's clever airflow controls, plus iPod/USB/Bluetooth connectivity is standard in every XC60.
The rear seat is roomy enough for most adults and has a unique 40/20/40 split. Fold it down and there's a generous 67.4 cubic-feet of cargo space?cavernous for a crossover.
And even with the rear seat in place, there's still over 30 cubic-feet of space back there.
And don't forget to compare the XC60 with its closest crossover competitors like the Audi Q5, which is a bit smaller inside than the XC60 but measures up just about everywhere else.
The BMW X3 was recently redesigned with a strong turbo engine and offers slightly better fuel economy than the Volvo's 3.2-liter engine, while the Cadillac SRX was also freshened up for 2012 and finally has performance to match its appearance.
The base engine in the 3.2 XC60 is a 3.2-liter, 240-horsepower inline 6 mated with front wheel drive. It's ok, but ultimately an underachiever. The all-wheel-drive T6 or R-Design models are our choice, with either a smooth and powerful 300-horse Turbo 6 or a 325-horsepower Turbo 6. All XC60's come with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The R-Design is one quick crossover, but if fuel economy really matters, it may not be your best choice. Even the other inline sixes aren't mileage-masters either.
The XC60 does, however, pack in seven passive restraints and earn five-star government crash ratings in every test category except rollover resistance?not surprising in a crossover with a higher center of gravity.
The prices for the three XC60 models, before tacking on the options, range from $33,300 for the 3.2 up to $43,700 for the R-Design. And like we said, you'll have a long list of optional features waiting for you to check off at the dealership. The XC60's powertrain is covered by Volvo's 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty.
The 2012 Volvo XC60 is a premium crossover that you'll find little fault with. It has looks, comfort, space, performance, so there's not much missing here. That's as close to perfect as you could expect from any crossover you're considering.