Small and midsize crossover SUVs are very popular with families, who favor their spacious passenger and cargo compartments, elevated seating positions and available all-wheel drive. But oftentimes these vehicles can be rather plain and anonymous. If you desire a crossover with style and presence that is still quite family-friendly, the 2014 Volvo XC60 is one of our top picks.
This year the XC60 receives its first major update since its debut back in 2010. Visually, it looks sleeker thanks to a new front end design. Inside, you’ll find new instruments, added metallic accents and white, rather than green, button illumination. These aren’t huge stylistic changes, but they certainly add to an already classy look that’s still highlighted by the dashboard’s elegantly curved center stack inspired by fine Swedish furniture design.
Other XC60 virtues include relatively roomy seating, some family-focused features (such as the available built-in rear booster seats) and top-notch crash scores. In regard to the latter, the XC60 is one of the few vehicles to earn a perfect five stars in the government’s recently revamped crash tests as well as a "Good" score in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new small-overlap frontal-offset test.
Of course, avoiding a collision in the first place would be even better, and with that in mind the 2014 Volvo XC60 has plenty of features designed to prevent crashes. Among them is the standard "City Safe," which can automatically stop the XC60 if a low-speed collision with another car or fixed object is deemed imminent. Debuting this year is an upgraded system that senses wayward pedestrians or cyclists. The latter is part of a package that also includes driver-attention and lane-departure warning systems.
The XC60 does have some downsides, the most notable being its base 3.2 engine. Acceleration is lackluster with this engine, and fuel economy is below that of many competing models. Going with the stronger T6 model gets you plenty of power without a significant drop in efficiency, but it’s also more expensive. As for those competitors, the well-rounded 2014 Audi Q5 and 2014 BMW X3 come closest to matching the XC60’s space and amenities, and they’re a bit more luxurious as well. The Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class isn’t as roomy as the Volvo, but it boasts added refinement and a similar emphasis on safety.
There’s also the 2014 Acura RDX, which offers strong value and more passenger space than the XC60. Solid choices all, but when it comes to providing family-friendly transport in a stylish package, it’s hard to beat the 2014 Volvo XC60.
The 2014 Volvo XC60’s extraordinary blend of performance and comfort should satisfy the majority of shoppers looking for a small luxury crossover. Thanks to its engine’s smooth and energetic power delivery, the T6 is our preferred model. In R-Design tune, the XC60 is faster than almost every other compact luxury crossover. Models with the base 3.2-liter engine are noticeably slower, however.
On the highway, the XC60 is quiet and stable. It also has one of the most cozy rides in its class. Although the Volvo’s handling isn’t overtly sporty when going around turns, the XC60 nevertheless remains poised and confident.
The 2014 Volvo XC60 is a luxury SUV that seats five people. It is available in 3.2, T6 and T6 R-Design trim levels.
Standard features on the XC60 3.2 include 18-inch wheels, roof rails, automatic headlights with washers, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, driver memory functions, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, "T-tec" fabric upholstery, a leather-wrapped wheel, a split-folding 40/20/40 backseat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and sound connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio, an auxiliary sound jack and an iPod/USB sound interface.
The 3.2 is available with a Premium package that adds silver-painted roof rails, rear privacy glass, keyless ignition/entry, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, a multi-configurable instrument display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-way power passenger seat.
The T6 comes standard with the Premium package’s features and also has a more powerful engine. The T6 R-Design model pumps up the T6 with extra power, a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch wheels, special exterior and interior trim, a sport steering wheel and sport seats.
To any of the trim levels you can add the Premier Plus package, which features a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a quick-fold front passenger seat, a cargo cover and power-folding rear head restraints. Springing for the top Platinum package bundles all the Premier Plus equipment, while adding auto-dimming/power-retractable sideview mirrors, cabin accent lighting, a navigation system and a 12-speaker surround-sound sound system.
Other option packages include the Climate package, which adds a heated windshield, heated windshield washer nozzles, a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats and an interior air quality sensor.
The Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam control, a distance alert system, a driver attention warning system, a collision warning system (with auto braking, pedestrian detection and cyclist detection), a lane-departure warning system and a Road Sign Information display. Also available is the Blind Spot Information System package that features blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts and front and rear parking sensors.
The Sport package (3.2 and T6 only) fits the XC60 with 20-inch wheels and sport seats. Available on the T6 only is the Inscription package, which includes upgraded leather upholstery, a leather-covered dash and console trim, power lumbar support and wood trim accents.
Other stand-alone options include adaptive bi-xenon headlights, integrated rear booster seats and a dual-screen rear entertainment system.
Volvo has been making an effort in recent years to give its vehicles some interior flair, and the five-passenger XC60 is the brand’s best result yet. The thin-panel center stack — which comes with metallic trim as standard and real wood trim as an option — combines with optional two-tone upholstery to make the XC60’s cabin look both modern and inviting.
The straightforward dual-temperature adjustment dials and "mode man" pictogram make climate-control adjustments simple and intuitive. The sound system is fairly easy to use, too, though the array of small sound controls looks dated. The available DVD-based navigation system’s interface works fine in practice (especially when operating the iPod interface), but Volvo’s navigation software still feels a few years behind.
The rear seat is particularly roomy as smaller crossovers go, with a high seat cushion, above-average headroom and decent legroom for adults. The available integrated dual child booster seats are a great feature. To accommodate cargo, the versatile 40/20/40-split rear seat can be folded in a number of different ways and maximum cargo space is 67 cubic feet: a good number for this class.
Every 2014 XC60 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and whiplash-preventing front seats. Also standard is City Safety, which can mitigate or avoid a low-speed frontal impact by applying the vehicle’s brakes without driver intervention.
Included in the optional Technology package is an upgraded pedestrian detection feature, which can apply full braking force (reducing speed by as much as 22 mph) to help you avoid hitting pedestrians and cyclists who are at least 31 inches in height. This package also includes electronic warnings for driver inattention, lane departure and impending collision, the last of which includes automatic braking. Other safety options include front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a blind-spot warning system (which includes warnings about rapidly approaching vehicles on either side), rear cross-traffic alerts and integrated child booster seats.
In SUVS brake testing, a Volvo XC60 T6 came to a stop from 60 miles per hour in 119 feet, which is a bit better than average.
In government crash tests, the XC60 received a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, with five stars for both overall frontal impact and side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave the XC60 its highest score of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The IIHS also rated the XC60’s optional frontal collision warning and mitigation system as the best score of "Superior."
The 2014 Volvo XC60 3.2 comes with a 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is optional. Volvo estimates that the 3.2 takes 9.1 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph, which is quite slow for this segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is also underwhelming at 21 miles per gallon combined (18 miles per gallon city/26 miles per gallon highway) with front-drive and 20 combined (18 city/25 highway) with all-wheel drive.
The T6 gets a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 good for 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard. In SUVS testing, a T6 hit 60 miles per hour in 7 seconds, which is average for the class. EPA fuel economy is 20 miles per gallon combined (17 city/24 highway).
The T6 R-Design gets a more powerful version of this engine good for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are also standard. In SUVS testing, the R-Design hit 60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds, making it one of the faster vehicles in its segment. Volvo says the R-Design’s fuel economy is identical to the regular T6.
Excellent safety scores; ample interior space; cozy ride; strong turbocharged engine; distinctive design inside and out; available integrated booster seats.
The 2014 Volvo XC60 is a well-rounded compact luxury SUV that’s also one of the top choices for families.