To back up those sporty, good looks and competent handling, the 3.0 liter turbo in-line six produces 325HP and 354lb-ft of torque. With the very broad, flat torque curve there is abundant power everywhere, even in the more usable lower RPM ranges. It feels more like a strong V8.
I drove the car with a lead foot the whole time and still got an impressive 18 MPG. Between the significant low-end torque and the AWD with 255-width tires, the car seemed eager to accelerate onto a busy street regardless of the situation.
The biggest let-down with this car, and my chief complaint was with the on-board electronics. There’s a lot of technology here, but the user interface is the worst I have experienced in any car – ever! It feels like Volvo gave it a lobotomy. Menus and options were missing, the owner’s manual walked me into dead-ends looking for options that it said were there, but seemingly didn’t exist. It was bad enough that I took the car to my local dealer, who after 30 minutes, came back and said the car was due for at least 6 software and firmware updates, but they couldn’t tell me if I was on pre-production electronics. I’ve never seen something so broken.
Frustrations included, but were not limited to:
- The highest-level menu does not come on until you select a sub-menu and then back out of it.
- The rear view camera does not default to automatically come on in reverse. I had to push the “Cam” button to get it to turn on. The menu for the auto rear camera was not where the manual said it was although I eventually found it by accident.
- The heated seat icon on the screen does not enlarge when I used it and it was too small to see safely when I drove. And in some screen modes, the heated seat setting display does not come to the top so there’s no feedback one you’ve pushed the heated seat button.
- I had to push the NAV button to see the Nav telemetry after using Nav features and then push the radio button to see the radio telemetry after using radio features. You‘d think that if you used a radio feature, the radio screen would come up with visual feedback, but that didn’t happen.
- When trying to enter the house number of a street address, the lettering wheel came up and I had to tell it to use numbers in the numbers field, not letters!!
- Proximity keyless entry was selected in the menu, but never worked for me. I had to fish the proximity key out of my pocket every time to push the unlock button.
I’ll give Volvo a benefit of the doubt saying these are pre-production electronics glitches. Although, this is not the first year of XC60 production. If their production menus and features are this cumbersome, I’ll think twice before I buy a Volvo. I’d actually still take the time to go test a car from the dealership and have another go at the electronics.
Aside from the electronics user-interface trouble, this is one of my all-time favorite cars to drive and hands-down my favorite small crossover, due to its looks, performance and versatility.
One option I wish our tester came with was the built-in rear booster seats – for just $500 and foregoing the rear heated seats, you can adjust both the rear seat cushions to fit your toddlers. Adding to that versatility is a 40/20/40 split folding rear seat configuration which allow you to use both back seats and stow longer items like a snow-board, Lacrosse or Hockey sticks coming up the middle.