With the XC60, Volvo took the plunge into what it's calling the "small premium utility" market, which is to say a compact crossover SUV with luxury appointments. While on the small side, the XC60 is a little bigger than many of its most notable market contemporaries. At 182.2 inches in length, the XC60 is 2.3-inches longer than the BMW X3, 1.5-inches longer than Acura's RDX and 3.9 inches beyond the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class.
The XC60 also strutted into the crowded small crossover stage with a design that was more aggressive and expressive than many recent Volvos. The XC60 crossover plays every card in the small SUV design playbook, with giant headlight assemblies (whimsically irregular in shape), lots of trapezoidal elements, a pronounced step-down between the power dome hood and the fenders, a rising waistline from stem to stern, and really big 'S-turn' taillights bookending the rear.
The XC60 can be had in three flavors. The base front-drive 3.2 (all-wheel-drive is optional) is powered by Volvo's 240-horsepower 3.2-liter six-cylinder. The all-wheel drive only XC60 T6 is propelled by a 300 horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder, as is the T6 R-Design version, which comes shod with 20-inch wheels, a stiffer suspension, additional eye candy, and a whopping 325 horsepower.
Bodystyle: 4-door SUV
Engines: 3.2-liter inline-6, 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Models: 3.2, T6 AWD, R-Design
Few changes for 2012, but three model levels have been deleted and replaced with Premier, Premier Plus, and Platinum.
The XC60's exterior appearance represents a direction that was defined through the lines of the 2011 S60 sedan. The XC60's body is flowing and expressive in ways unimaginable to Volvo enthusiasts of yore, and features giant headlight assemblies, lots of trapezoidal elements, a pronounced step-down between the power dome hood and the fenders, and a rising waistline from stem to stern.
Inside, Volvo's Scandinavian design philosophy is evident, where you'll find Volvo's signature thin, waterfall center stack as the anchor point. The instrument pod and door inserts have a unique, modular feel, and includes a 7-inch color infotainment screen with Bluetooth and satellite radio.
Performance & Handling
The Volvo XC60's 0-60 mph times vary depending upon engine configuration. The front-drive version of the 3.2 achieves it in an estimated 8.6 seconds, while the T6 all-wheel drive and R-Design drop that to a quick 7.1 seconds. With its firmed-up suspension, larger wheels and tires, and more direct steering, the R-Design is easily the best handler of the group, though its 20-inch tires don't lend themselves to supple ride quality.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the XC60 its Top Safety Pick for 2011, and that should follow for 2012 as well. Volvo's legendary safety technologies are available in abundance for the XC60, including Volvo's City Safety, which can automatically stop the XC60 from speeds below 19 mph if it detects an impending collision.
EPA Fuel Economy
3.2 front-wheel drive: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway
3.2 all-wheel drive: 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway
T6 and R-Design: 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Stylish Looks, especially R-Design
- Nice turbocharged engine
You Won't Like
- Not as sporty as competitors
- Poor fuel economy on AWD versions
Attractive alternative in the compact crossover set
If You Like This Vehicle
- BMW X3
- Acura RDX
- Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
- Audi Q5