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2019 Volvo XC60: Delightful Driving Character

Since the second-generation Volvo XC60 came out for the 2018 model year, this compact luxury crossover has been helping to breathe new life into the Volvo brand. It adopted a sharp new look, a comfortable, great-looking interior and perhaps most surprisingly, some fantastic driving dynamics.

Our Tester

Before we dig into what we love about how the Volvo XC60 drives, let’s recap the long-term tester that we’ve been driving for the last few months. Our 2019 XC60 is the range-topping T5 AWD Inscription model which is fully loaded with features including Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving tech, a 9-in infotainment system with Bowers and Wilkins premium audio, a head-up display, supple leather seating, 4-zone automatic climate control and much more.

The myriad safety tech from a brand with a long reputation for safety doesn’t surprise us so much, but what we did find surprising are the XC60’s performance and driving character. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four making 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is pretty par for the course in this segment. But we’ve found there’s much more to this compact luxury crossover than what its performance numbers show on paper.

Fun to Drive

Plenty of luxury crossovers on the market can match the performance of the Volvo XC60 on paper, but we found it particularly fun from behind the wheel, which is saying a lot considering its tough competition. The punchy engine gets you from 0-to-60 mph in less than seven seconds and it handles very well for an SUV. It has a solid feel at any speed and the steering is especially good.

Contributing to this crossover’s superb driving character is its carefully engineered chassis using double wishbone suspension up front and integral-link suspension in back. It uses lightweight materials throughout the chassis which help to keep it nimble in the corners without sacrificing comfort.

Watch Out, Germans

Our editor Dwight’s wife has been cross-shopping the Volvo XC60 with a few other compact SUVs, some from luxury brands and some from volume brands, and she’s found the Volvo to be her favorite partly thanks to its driving dynamics. This is a strength you might not expect from the Swedish brand and it might be something you associate more with the Germans, but the strong performance and fun driving character of the XC60 is proof that Volvo is serious about stepping up its game in an increasingly competitive segment.

Our XC60, in particular, isn’t very cheap with a price tag of $58,495, but this Volvo has a starting price of $40,795 including the destination fee which undercuts many of its competitors. If you want European luxury without the German price tag, then the Volvo XC60 is in a sweet spot making it a strong value with a fun-to-drive attitude. Find a Volvo XC60 for sale

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