Many vehicles promise to be all things to all people, but the 2015 Volvo XC60 is the rare ride that actually delivers.
Look at what this luxury crossover offers. Safety? Hey, it's a Volvo. The crash-test results are just about perfect. Comfort? Four adults can lounge all day in the XC60's roomy cabin. Performance? Two new Drive-E 4-cylinder engines join the 3.2-liter and optional turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder on the all-wheel-drive trims, giving the XC60 the broadest range of engine choices in the segment. Styling? Thanks to a sleek exterior and Volvo's distinctive interior design, the XC60 is one of the coolest crossovers around.
If we have one complaint, it's that the newest, most fuel-efficient engines are not available on the AWD models, an attribute which, if offered, would make the XC60 nearly impossible to argue against owning.
What's New for 2015?
Two new 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engines are added to the front-wheel-drive models, along with a new 8-speed automatic transmission. On the XC60 T5 FWD, a 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is offered, while the T6 FWD model adds a supercharger to the turbocharged engine for increased low-end performance and a total of 302 hp. New exterior styling helps keep the XC60 fresh.
What We Like
Excellent crash-test scores; strong yet fuel-efficient turbocharged and supercharged engines; accommodating back seat; easy on the eyes; plenty of cargo space
What We Don't
The newest engines with the best fuel economy are not available on AWD trims; poor fuel economy and lackluster power with the 3.2-liter engine
The XC60 T5 FWD trim is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A new 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is stop/start technology. Fuel economy ratings for this engine are 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The XC60 T6 FWD brings a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, rated at 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates for this engine are 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy.
The XC60 3.2 AWD model is powered by a 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine rated at 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, and is teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy for this engine is a disappointing 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. The XC60 T6 AWD and T6 R-Design get a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine good for 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy figures of 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy are the price paid for the extra power.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Volvo XC60 is offered in five trim levels: T5 Drive-E FWD, T6 Drive-E FWD, 3.2 AWD, T6 AWD and T6 R-Design AWD.
The XC60 T5 FWD ($36,675) comes standard with 18-inch wheels, a power driver's and passenger seat, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, the Sensus infotainment system with a 7-in central screen and dual-zone automatic climate control. It also comes with Volvo's City Safety system, which can bring the XC60 to a full stop at speeds under 15 miles per hour.
The XC60 3.2 AWD ($38,175) gets a less fuel-efficient 6-cylinder engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, AWD and the same equipment as the T5 FWD.
The XC60 T6 FWD ($40,975) adds a 302-hp turbocharged and supercharged engine, keyless drive and entry, leather seating surfaces, an adaptive digital TFT display, a panoramic sunroof with shade and paddle shifters.
The XC60 T6 AWD ($42,475) brings a turbocharged 3.0-liter engine and all the equipment found on the T6 FWD.
Topping the XC60's range is the T6 R-Design AWD ($46,725), which offers a sporty take on the T6. It adds 20-in wheels and several other appearance features inside and out to give the XC60 a performance-oriented feel.
Three main option packages are available. The Premier Package is offered on the 3.2 and T5 only, and adds enough features to equal the T6's equipment level. All models offer the Premier Plus Package, which includes a power lift gate, power-folding rear headrests, and front and rear obstacle detection. Topping the range is the Platinum Package, which includes navigation, a rearview camera and a 650-watt surround-sound audio system.
Volvo also offers a Climate Package, which boasts heated windshield washer nozzles, a heated windshield, a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, and the Technology Package, which includes adaptive cruise control, the Road Sign Information System, a lane-departure warning system and a more advanced version of City Safety.
The Sport Package adds sport seats and 20-in alloy wheels, while the Inscription Package (T6 only) adds special soft leather upholstery, a black headliner, a leather-wrapped dashboard and front console, power lumbar support, unique wood inlays, and Inscription doorsill plates and floor mats.
The 2015 XC60 features standard stability control, six airbags and Volvo's City Safety system. The XC60 also boasts a long list of optional accident-avoidance technology, including the new Road Sign Information System, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
Six airbags may not seem like many, but remember that the crash tests are what count, and that the XC60 aced them. In government crash testing, the XC60 scored a perfect five stars in all impact categories. Similarly, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the XC60 its top rating of Good in every category.
Behind the Wheel
The XC60's front seats aren't as stellar as those in the S60 sedan, but they're close. Volvo's trademark combination of simplicity and long-distance support is certainly present in these chairs. From the driver's perspective, the dashboard is brilliant too, featuring premium materials and the floating slimline center panel, which looks like something out of an avant-garde design magazine. Ergonomics are satisfactory, with extra points awarded for Volvo's neat airflow controls.
The XC60's back seat is more adult-friendly than many in this class, and the integrated 2-stage child booster seats are a notable kid-friendly option. Fold back down the versatile 40/20/40 split rear seat and you'll enjoy 67.4 cu ft of cargo space -- a robust figure for a vehicle of this type. Even with the seat back fully in place, there's still 30.8 cu ft of room behind it. On the road, the XC60 has the quiet, smooth ride that luxury shoppers expect, and the view from the driver's seat is appropriately commanding. What's unexpected is the XC60's handling prowess, which blows up the stereotype of the stodgy, conservative Volvo family vehicle. There's real athleticism in the way the XC60 moves. An improved stability control system with Corner Traction Control distributes power to the outside wheels for reduced understeer and better control. The XC60 is right up there among the most satisfying crossovers to drive.
As for the engine choices, we're not fans of the 3.2-liter unit, as it's rather noisy and not particularly energetic. If you have to have AWD, we strongly recommend stepping up to the T6's turbocharged motor, which delivers authoritative performance. Those content with FWD will love the power and fuel efficiency of Volvo's new Drive-E 4-cylinder powerplants. In the T5, the 240-hp turbocharged engine is as powerful as the 3.2-liter but with vastly better fuel economy. Our favorite, however, is the turbocharged and supercharged engine found in the T6 FWD. This engine delivers great power even at low rpms, is smooth and quiet, and loves to run, doing it all without guzzling gas.
Other Cars to Consider
Audi Q5 -- Smaller inside than the XC60, the Q5 nonetheless matches the Volvo's styling panache, and it's fun to drive, too.
BMW X3 -- The X3 boasts excellent power in turbocharged xDrive35i form, yet it gets better fuel economy than the sluggish XC60 3.2 AWD.
Get the T6 Drive-E FWD with the Platinum Package and you'll have a nicely equipped and powerful SUV for well under $50,000. If you must have AWD, we suggest that you avoid the 3.2-liter engine and go for the T6 AWD or R-Design.