By Bill Clark
- Turbo V6 feels like a V8
- Exterior and interior styling
- Very comfortable
- Versatile cargo capabilities
- Mind-baffling electronics
- Useless proximity key
- R-design rear bumper not compatible with receiver hitch
Having tested a number of small crossovers, I can say with certainty that the Volvo XC60 is almost the perfect family crossover and certainly one that provides enough ‘fun factor’ to entertain car enthusiasts. I never expected to say that about a Volvo crossover. If it wasn’t for the frustrating vehicle electronics menu systems, I’d call it perfect.
I had the pleasure of testing the XC60 in T6 AWD R-Design trim ($43,160). Optionally, the tester came with the climate package with rear heated seats, Technology Package, Rear Park Assist, and Integrated Navigation, which brought the price up to $50,365. Testing a Volvo allows us to get a look at advanced safety features, so I was really disappointed that they left out the $800 Blind spot Indicator System (BLIS)
Other than the missing BLIS, the car still provides an abundance of safety features, which they dub, ‘City Safety”, such as Collision-detect with full auto-brake, Pedestrian-detect with full auto-brake, distance alert with brake warning, Lane departure warning, Adaptive cruise control. The distance alert with brake warning is great! There is an 8-inch wide band of red LED’s on the dash that reflect on the windshield and gives you a heads-up and audible warning if the car detects that you might not be ready for a quick stop. If you don’t put on the brakes, the XC60 will. Oddly enough, the owner’s manual says you can override the auto-braking by using the gas pedal (weird!). I guess someone might really prefer to hit the car in front of them (?)
The XC60 is easily the best-looking crossover in the segment, and is unmistakably Volvo – inside and out. The R-design theme with XC side-sills, striking XC-badged 5-spoke 20-inch wheels, and R-design rear bumper give it a confident, sporty look. The R-design theme carries on inside and offers unique, blue clock-face gauges and a much sportier-looking steering wheel that shares a nice perorated leather treatment with the shifter.
The seats are the most comfortable seats I have been in – very plush, but still provide plenty of support with adequate side-bolstering for the amount of cornering traction available.
That ample cornering traction is courtesy of the R-design’s larger 255/45/20 wheels and tires and despite its ~4200lb curb weight. Volvo did their homework here. Your passengers will object to hard cornering maneuvers before the tires do.
Even with those large wheels and tires, the XC60 has a noticeably small turning radius and feels very nimble. As a result, parking-lot maneuverability is great.