May 24, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Friday, 30 April 2010 13:32
When we test-drove Volvo’s big XC90 sport-utility vehicle two years ago, we found ourselves longing for a right-sized Volvo SUV, with the XC90’s comfort, luxury and safety, but less bulk. Our wish came true in the form of the XC60, a compact SUV squeezed between the station-wagon-based XC70 and the XC90.
The XC60 has the sweet styling and solid feel of Volvo’s other SUVs, significantly better fuel economy than the XC90, and a much lower price. Our XC60 T6 with all-wheel drive was priced before options at $37,200, about $10,000 less than a comparably equipped XC90. We logged about 17 mpg with our XC90 two years ago, 20.3 with the XC60.
A Chinese automaker, Geely, is in the process of buying Volvo from Ford Motor Co. Geely executives say they don’t intend to close European factories or dictate to Volvo’s board. This year’s debut of the XC60 suggests Volvo’s leaders remain confident the brand will thrive under new management.
The XC60 is available with a 3.2-liter, 235-horsepower inline 6-cylinder engine that delivers an impressive 27 mpg on the highway. Base priced at $32,395, it comes only with front-wheel drive. Our all-wheel-drive test car had the 281-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six, which supplied smooth and ample power. Volvo offers a V-8 engine in the XC90 but not in the XC60, and there’s no need for it. The performance-oriented R-Design model starts at $41,550.
The XC60’s interior is modern and well-appointed, with many familiar features, including the slim center stack with storage space in front. Our only complaint was with the white-on-tan labels on the controls. While buying gasoline, we had to pull out the owner’s manual to find the fuel-door release button. It was in plain sight, to the left of the steering column, but the icon, back-lighted and easy to see at night, was practically invisible in daylight.
Room for driver and front passenger is more than sufficient. The rear seat is comfortable, and there’s plenty of headroom, but long-legged passengers will ask the driver and front-seat mate to move forward an inch or two. No third seat is available.
The cargo area is impressively large at 30.8 cubic feet, expanding to 67 cubic feet when the rear seat is lowered. The seats fold down easily, without requiring the headrests to be removed or the front seats moved forward, and the cargo surface is flat and nearly seamless. Underneath the rear deck is a large, convenient, sectioned tray.
All XC60s come with the usual array of Volvo safety features. On the standard-equipment list is a system called City Safety, which slows or stops the car at speeds below 19 mph when the sensor detects an imminent collision with a slower-moving or stopped vehicle. Predictably, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has designated the XC60 a Top Safety Pick.
With gasoline prices rising, the XC60 is the safe, stylish and fuel-efficient choice for aficionados of Volvo’s SUV line.
Engine: 3.2-liter inline 6, 281 horsepower, 295 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic
Weight: 4,174 lb.
Ground clearance: 9.1 in.
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Wheels: 19x7.5-inch alloy
Tires: 235/60R18 103H all-season
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 30.8 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 67 cu. ft.
Towing capacity: 3,307 lb.
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
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