Standing out is important to some, and a stylish new Swede in the form of a new Volvo XC60 gets noticed. This European best seller can be had with two gasoline engines and a 400hp plug in Hybrid, all coupled to an 8-speed Geartronic transmission. Pricing starts at a little over $41,000, but is paying a premium worth it over the rivals?
When buying a car, it’s not uncommon to want to stand out from the crowd a little, and that’s where this Scandinavian import comes in. The Volvo XC60 is the smaller of the two XC models available; it’s a sporty crossover of sorts with bold, recognizable styling that only the Swedish can deliver. These imports usually come in with heavier price tags than similarly-sized rivals, but that extra spend when you choose a car from the XC range means you get a high level of standard equipment in any of the three quite similar models; the Momentum, Inscription and R-Design.
Stepping inside a Volvo is a revelation; things are decidedly upmarket no matter what trim level you’re in, but the Swedes have managed to keep things looking unique. You’re not going to confuse a Volvo interior with any of its German rivals. The seating in a Volvo has a unique design that’s built for not only looks and comfort, but safety too. Depending on your choices, you can have black and aluminium trim combinations, or include wood grain if the classic look is more your style.
The layout of the driving controls is very good, as is the infotainment on the dash and the associated controls in the center console. It’s reminiscent of a modern office. The 8-inch digital driver display is a great finishing touch that displays all normal driving information as well as readings from the many sensors around the car. Then there’s the available styling, tech and audio options that are plentiful enough to raise the price tag a lot.
Just about every modern Volvo offers up a good drive. The suspension and the Dynamic Chassis on the three conventional-engined models is tight enough to let you push the XC60 into some situations more suited to a car, and if you choose the range-topping R-Design option the suspension gets even stiffer still with a Sport Chassis setup to make for a more sports-focused drive. Power delivery is good no matter what engine derivative is chosen, which is thanks to all models using Volvo’s eight-speed automatic transmission.
It’s seamless in execution and thanks to different programming extracts the best out of each individual engine setup. A model that’s a little heavier in feel, but with equally good performance and spec is the T8 eAWD plug-in hybrid. To compensate for any added weight from the hybrid, this model features air suspension with Volvo’s Four-C Active Chassis.
Volvo has been known for their torque 5-cylinder engines, but those have fallen away to be replaced by the new generation Drive-E engines with a cylinder less. In fact the 6-cylinder from the T6 variant has also lost a couple of cylinders. The T5 is a 250 hp 4-cylinder; the T6 is also a 4-cylinder but with 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque thanks to a combination of supercharging and turbocharging, and the T8 hybrid is rated at 400hp. All of these engines are mated to Volvo’s sublime 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system. All variants perform well, on par with competitor offerings.
Safety is synonymous with the Volvo brand, and while the amount of tech packed in is about the same as what other cars in this league are fitted with but in many cases Volvo does it better and often employs technology that others don’t. On the audio side, you can option a great Bowers & Wilken system for that concert hall-style experience, but on the safety options side there’s a few things like the Vision Package that has things like park assist, blind spot info and cross traffic alert. Once this is taken, the Advanced Package is next that uses a brilliant 360-deg surround camera. There’s probably no safer car out there than a Volvo.
Even with a change up in the engines, the Volvo XC60 looks to be a great offering in the larger crossover segment. The combinations of tech and spec mean there’s something for everyone, but you have to keep in mind that you’ll likely pay a premium, starting at $41,500. The T8 hybrid also marks the start of more electric offerings from the brand, and you can also get special discounts on them.