2016 Volvo XC60

Starting MSRP: $36,600 - $45,750

Estimated MPG: 23 city / 31 hwy

2016 Volvo XC60 Review

Some competing luxury crossovers may be more athletic, but the 2016 Volvo XC60 excels with outstanding crash test scores and a high-quality interior. Unique features like integrated child booster seats also provide families with small children a level of functionality that’s unusual for the class.

By Jim Sharifi
Last Updated 05/16/2016

The 2016 Volvo XC60 is a luxury compact SUV that seats five. It comes standard with front-wheel drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. All-wheel drive and more powerful engine choices are available, including a five-cylinder, a turbocharged six-cylinder and a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder.

The XC60 carries over with minimal changes for the 2016 model year and is offered in five trims that each come with a specific powertrain: T5 Drive-E, T5 AWD, T6 Drive-E, T6 AWD and T6 AWD R-Design. In addition, Premiere and Platinum subtrims are available to build on the XC60’s list of standard equipment.

Exterior

Exterior
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While it shares a similar profile with many luxury compact SUVs, the XC60 is instantly recognizable as a Volvo product when viewed from the front. Volvo’s large “iron mark” dominates the grille, and styling updates that initially debuted on the 2014 model continue to give the XC60 a sleek and attractive appearance.

The base XC60 comes with 18-inch wheels, roof rails, rain-sensing windshield wipers and heated sideview mirrors. Our test XC60 T6 Drive-E added a number of exterior enhancements, including headlight washers, auto-dimming sideview mirrors, rear privacy glass, 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate.

Interior

Interior
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The XC60’s cabin features straightforward controls and premium materials that are in line with the expectations of a luxury compact SUV. Our test XC60 featured an attractive, two-tone color scheme and expanses of walnut wood trim on the door panels and center stack.

Cargo space is competitive but not class leading, with 30.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Folding the second row opens up a maximum of 67.4 cubic feet. Competitors like the Acura RDX offer slightly more space overall.

The front seats are exceptionally comfortable and supportive, with excellent headroom and legroom. The rear seats are a little tight for adult passengers, with less legroom than most will probably want. However, our test SUV’s integrated child booster seats are a boon for anyone who frequently has children in the second row, but doesn’t want to wrestle with removing and installing a booster when there’s more than one adult passenger.

You would never know the boosters are there if you aren’t looking for them. Release a small latch on the front of the seat cushion and the booster will flip up on either one of the outboard seats. Every car should come with these, and they’d prove especially useful if you find yourself switching to carpool duty after dropping the kids off at school.

Performance

Performance
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Four engines are available in the 2016 XC60. The front-wheel drive T5 Drive-E model comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. T5 AWD models add all-wheel drive and a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.

T6 Drive-E models come with a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard on the XC60 T6 Drive-E, while all-wheel drive was made available midway through the model year. T6 models without the “Drive-E” designation include the T6 AWD and T6 AWD R-Design. Both come with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, which generates 300 and 325 horsepower in T6 AWD and T6 AWD R-Design models, respectively.

An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on T5 Drive-E and T6 Drive-E models, while the XC60 T5 AWD and T6 AWD come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The front-wheel drive XC60 T5 Drive-E offers the best fuel economy in the lineup, with an EPA-estimated 23/31 mpg city/highway. Our test XC60 T6 Drive-E with all-wheel drive gets lower estimates, with an EPA rating of 19/27 mpg.

The XC60’s turbocharged and supercharged engine provides plenty of power on paper, but it’s easy to catch the powertrain off guard. Our test XC60 accelerated willingly when we were on the throttle, but there was a noticeable lag when we went from cruising at a constant speed to calling on the engine for additional passing power.

The start/stop system also resulted in more of a pause than we would like when we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The system didn’t restart the XC60 as quickly as expected, making it more difficult to execute a lane change when an accident blocked traffic ahead. Still, it’s easily turned off with the press of a button on the center stack.

Where the XC60 does excel, however, is in providing a comfortable and quiet driving experience. While it’s not particularly athletic, the XC60 offers controlled handling and a compliant ride that should ease the stress of your daily commute. Also easing the commute was an adaptive cruise control system that is among the most user-friendly in the industry. Extraordinarily easy to set and adjust, the adaptive cruise control can bring this SUV to a full stop, which is a godsend in stop-and-go traffic on congested highways.

Technology

Technology
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The base Volvo XC60 comes with Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB connectivity and Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system with a 7-inch color screen. A data connection is provided through the standard Sensus Connect system, which can provide access to the internet and apps that include Stitcher, Pandora and Yelp. A six-month trial to Sensus Connect is included, after which a subscription is required.

An assortment of small buttons on the XC60’s center stack provides access to audio, climate, phone and navigation functions. While it may look a little overwhelming at first glance, primary functions are accessed with buttons in the top row, which makes it easy to switch between radio, media, phone and navigation settings.

Large knobs allow you to adjust the volume and dual-zone automatic climate control, while a large tuning knob serves double duty, allowing you scroll through the XC60’s infotainment settings. In general it works well, though sometimes an extra (and unnecessary) step is required. For example, it allows you to scroll through satellite radio channels, but requires that you press the OK button in the center of the knob to select a new channel. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s an extra step that could take a driver’s eyes off the road longer than necessary.

Safety

Safety
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The 2016 Volvo XC60 comes standard with anti-lock brakes, stability control and Volvo’s City Safety system, which can automatically apply the brakes to help avoid collisions at speeds of 31 mph or less. Available driver-assistance features include a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with full automatic braking.

In testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2016 Volvo XC60 earned top scores of Good in all crash tests. It also received a Superior rating for front crash prevention when equipped with the available forward collision mitigation system. As a result, the IIHS gave the 2016 XC60 a Top Safety Pick+ award.

The XC60 also performed well in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), receiving an overall score of five out of five stars.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The 2016 Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E starts at $36,600 (excluding a $995 destination charge). T5 AWD and T6 Drive-E models start at $38,100 and $41,350, respectively.

Our all-wheel drive XC60 T6 Drive-E started with a base price of $43,350 and built on it with options that included the Platinum subtrim ($4,400), a climate package and child booster seats ($1,550), Contour seats ($500), metallic paint ($560), walnut wood inlays ($400) and 19-inch wheels ($750). As tested, our XC60 carried an MSRP of $52,505 after destination.

While competitors like the Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50 offer slightly lower starting prices, the XC60 undercuts a number of competing luxury compact SUVs in terms of base price. Regardless of which engine you choose, we recommend opting for the Platinum subtrim, which will include desirable features like a rearview camera, proximity key with push-button start, navigation and a full complement of driver assistance features.

After destination, you can expect to pay about $45,000 for a front-wheel drive XC60 T5 Drive-E Platinum. A comparably equipped T5 AWD model should carry an MSRP of about $46,600.

Overall

Overall
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Although its powertrain could be a little more refined, the 2016 Volvo XC60 should stand out to buyers who prioritize safety within the luxury compact SUV segment. Impressively strong crash test ratings and an extensive suite of available driver assistance features reinforce Volvo’s standing as an automaker that is renowned for building exceptionally safe vehicles. The XC60 adds to those attributes with a premium interior, useful cargo space and exclusive family-friendly features.