Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
June 20, 2013
If you have been paying any attention for the past few weeks here at Cheers & Gears, you know I had the chance to drive two top selling compact luxury crossovers; the Lexus RX 350 and Cadillac SRX. Both of them left me wondering why they are so popular. The Cadillac had a great design and tech, but the engine was somewhat pokey and the fuel economy left a lot to be desired. The Lexus had an exciting exterior and very impressive fuel economy, but driving dynamics were a mixed bag and the feature set for the price left me scratching my head. There had to be a compact luxury crossover that didn't leave me with that feeling.
A few weeks ago, another compact luxury crossover arrived in my driveway for a week's evaluation. It was not one of the usual suspects from Germany, instead it hailed from Sweden. The Volvo XC60 is latest model to join Volvo's XC lineup and is the second best-selling model right behind the S60. Was this the crossover to make me feel different?
The XC60 follows Volvo's current design motif of minimalistic styling. Key items to take note are the strong shoulder line running along the side, scalloping on the doors, and tall taillights on the rear end. The overall look of the XC60 reminded me of the upcoming V60 wagon just with a taller ride height.
Inside, the XC60 has one of the best interiors in the class. Leather, soft touch materials, and metal trim pieces line the door panels and dashboard; making it feel more expensive than it really is. This is helped by the excellent build quality on my test vehicle.
What isn't so impressive is the XC60's infotainment system. Much like the S60 R-Design I had back in December, the XC60 uses a center stack full of buttons and knobs to move around and control the system. While the control layout is easy to use once you figure out which button does what, there were times where I was wishing Volvo had put in a touchscreen to perform certain tasks.
Comfort is a big plus in the XC60. Driver and passenger get heated and power adjustable seats. Backseat passengers will find a very good amount of head and legroom. Taking the XC60 for a nice long drive, I found the seats provide excellent support and comfort.
Powering this XC60 is Volvo's tried and true 3.0L turbocharged inline-six with 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is your sole choice with this powertrain, as is all-wheel drive. Those looking for more power should look at the XC60 T6 R-Design increases horsepower to 325 and torque to 350.
The T6 engine is a perfect choice for the XC60, considering the vehicle as a whole tips the scales at 4,225 pounds. No matter when you're leaving a stop, cruising along the interstate, or whatever, the T6 produces the right amount of motivation. The six-speed automatic doesn't exhibit any hunting of gears; it knew what gear it needed to be in at the time. EPA rates the 2013 XC60 T6 AWD at 17 City/23 Highway/20 Combined. During my week, I averaged around 21 MPG.
The XC60's ride is one the best if your priority is comfort. The suspension provides one of the smoothest rides in the class, no matter the road surface I was driving on. Steering was a bit of surprise as I was expecting light and indirect. This isn't so as the steering provides very good feel and feedback. Road and wind noise were kept to a minimum, making this a great road trip vehicle.
At the end of the week, I found myself liking the XC60 over the SRX and RX 350 by a wide margin. The minimalist styling, handsome interior, punchy powertain, and comfort ride make this almost a best-in-class. The only thing that hold it back is the controls for the infotainment system.
Throw in the fact that as equipped, this XC60 lists for $48,145, undercuts many of its competitors - making this a very compelling choice in the class.
Disclaimer: Volvo provided the XC60, Insurance, and one tank of gas.
Year - 2013
Make – Volvo
Model – XC60
Trim – T6 AWD
Engine – Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-Six
Driveline – All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
Horsepower @ RPM – 300 @ 5,600 RPM
Torque @ RPM – 325 @ 2,100-4,200 RPM
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/23/20
Curb Weight – 4,225 lbs
Location of Manufacture – Ghent, Belgum
Base Price - $40,450.00
As Tested Price - $48,145.00* (Includes $895.00 destination charge)
Platnum Trim Package - $4,600.00
Climate Package - $900.00
19' FENRIR Alloy Wheels - $750.00
Terra Bronze Metallic - $550.00