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2016 Volvo XC60: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader June 2016

The 2016 Volvo XC60 is one of the coolest premium compact crossovers around thanks to a sleek exterior and Volvo's distinctive interior design. Safety is a big selling point. It is a Volvo, after all, so the crash-test results are perfect.

From a comfort angle, four adults can lounge all day in the roomy cabin, and the engines range from energetic and efficient to out-and-out fun. It proves that being sensible and family-oriented doesn't have to be dull -- the XC60 can also tackle corners with more ability than a lot of crossovers, especially in R-Design form. Some great choices are out there, but the XC60 fully deserves to be among them.

What's New for 2016?

The only change is that the front passenger seat no longer has a fold-flat function. And the turbo/supercharged engine in the T6 can now be paired with all-wheel drive (AWD).

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

Engine stop/start feature in the T5 is intrusive

How Much?

$37,595-$47,945

Fuel Economy

The T5 Drive-E has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, along with a stop/start feature. This model uses front-wheel drive, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg combined.

The T5 AWD model has all-wheel drive (naturally) and a 2.5-liter inline 5-cylinder engine that is turbocharged to generate 250 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. This is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission, and EPA estimates are 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

The T6 Drive-E uses a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, rated at 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive complete the setup. EPA puts fuel consumption at 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined. Volvo will pair this with all-wheel drive as the 2016 model year rolls on. The T6 Drive-E AWD achieves 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.

The T6 AWD R-Design enjoys a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine developing 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption of 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined is the downside of that extra power.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Volvo XC60 is offered in T5 Drive-E, T5 AWD, T6 Drive-E, T6 AWD and T6 AWD R-Design trim levels.

The T5 Drive-E ($37,595) comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, 8-way power adjustable front seats with driver's-side memory settings, remote keyless entry, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and the Sensus Connect infotainment system with a 7-in central screen, eight speakers, satellite radio and HD Radio, a USB port and auxiliary input. It also comes with Volvo's City Safety system, which can bring the vehicle to a full stop at speeds under 15 miles per hour.

The T5 AWD ($39,095) has the 5-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and the same equipment as the T5 Drive-E.

The T6 Drive-E ($42,345) adds the 302-hp turbocharged and supercharged engine, keyless entry/ignition, leather seating surfaces, an adaptive digital thin-film-transistor display, a panoramic sunroof with a sunshade and paddle shifters.

The T6 AWD ($43,645) brings a turbocharged 3.0-liter engine and all-wheel drive, along with all the equipment found on the T6 Drive-E.

Topping the range is the T6 R-Design AWD ($47,945), which comes with 20-in wheels, a sport suspension and several other appearance features inside and out to enhance the performance-oriented feel.

A Premier package is offered on T5 models and brings features up to the T6's equipment level. A higher-level Platinum package includes navigation, a rearview camera, a power lift gate and a Harman Kardon 12-speaker sound system.

Volvo also offers a Climate package, adding heat to the windshield-washer nozzles, windshield, steering wheel and both rows of seats. A Technology package includes adaptive cruise control, Volvo's Road Sign Information system, lane-departure warning and a more advanced version of the City Safety system.

The Sport package adds sport seats and 20-in alloy wheels. The Inscription package (T6 only) adds special soft-leather upholstery, black headliner, a leather-wrapped dashboard and front console, power lumbar support, wood inlays and inscription scuff plates and mats. A dual-screen rear entertainment system is also available.

Fold down the versatile 40/20/40-split rear seats for maximum cargo space of 67.4 cu ft., which is more than respectable for this class. Even with the seatback fully in place, there's still 30.8 cu ft. of room behind it.

Safety

The XC60 features standard stability control, six airbags and Volvo's City Safety system. It also offers a long list of optional accident-avoidance technology, including the new Road Sign Information system, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control, plus a blind spot monitoring system that includes rear cross-traffic alert, as well as parking sensors at both ends.

Six airbags may not seem like many, but crash tests count -- and the XC60 aced them. In the government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing, it scored a perfect five stars in all categories. Similarly, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the XC60 its top rating of Good in every category and named it a Top Safety Pick+.

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. The dashboard is also fantastic, featuring premium materials and the floating slimline center panel that looks like something out of a design magazine. Ergonomics are satisfactory, with extra points awarded for the neat airflow controls.

The back seat is more accommodating than many in this class, and the integrated dual-stage child booster seats are a great kid-friendly option.

The ride is quiet and smooth, 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.

Those content with front-wheel drive will love the power and fuel efficiency of Volvo's Drive-E 4-cylinder engines. The ideal choice is the turbocharged and supercharged engine found in the T6. It provides great power (even at low revs), and it's smooth, quiet and loves to run -- all without guzzling gas.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Audi Q5 -- Smaller inside than the XC60, the Q5 has equal styling panache, and it's fun to drive.

2016 BMW X3 -- Arguably the best of the bunch, the X3 has driving fun, tech, equipment and quality, all in high measure.

2016 Lexus NX -- A relative newcomer, the NX is already a big seller. If the looks appeal, take one for a test drive.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class -- The erstwhile GLK has been revamped, redesigned and renamed. It's based on the current C-Class sedan and specializes in comfort and style.

Used Lexus RX -- Admittedly, the RX doesn't drive as well as the XC60. But if we're going down the pre-owned route, a high-quality Japanese machine is no bad thing.

Autotrader's Advice

As long as all-wheel drive is not a must-have, the T6 Drive-E FWD with the Platinum package represents a well-equipped and powerful SUV for under $50,000.

Find a Volvo XC60 for sale

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Used 2016 Volvo XC60 FWD T5 Premier
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Used 2016 Volvo XC60 AWD T6 R-Design
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Used 2016 Volvo XC60 FWD T5 Premier
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Used 2016 Volvo XC60 AWD T5 Platinum
Used 2016 Volvo XC60
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Volvo XC60: New Car Review - Autotrader