2016 Volvo XC60

Rating

78/100

Background

It’s been hard for family vehicles to shake a reputation for being boring, but Volvo is doing a pretty good job of giving consumers a fine alternative with its 2016 XC60. We’ve appreciated the XC60’s sleek good looks and stylish cabin since the model was introduced back for 2010. The XC60 is still solidly a Volvo at its core, though, and these attributes simply add polish to what is still a very sensible luxury crossover SUV.
Indeed, the five-passenger XC60 boasts plenty of interior space, a comprehensive feature set and top-notch crash test scores. It can also be pretty fuel-efficient. Volvo revitalized the XC60’s engine lineup just last year, and with extraordinary results. The front-wheel-drive Drive-E T5 and T6 versions have some of the best EPA-estimated fuel efficiency (up to 26 miles per gallon combined) you’ll find in this segment. The all-wheel-drive XC60 models don’t get these engines and therefore aren’t as fuel-efficient, but they still get decent miles per gallon numbers compared with competitors in the class.
If you’re shopping for a small luxury crossover, you won’t be lacking for choice. Top competitors include the spacious 2016 Acura RDX, the stylish Audi Q5 and the engaging BMW X3. There are also some fresher faces to consider, including the Lexus NX 200t and the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. Overall, you’ll be doing well by picking any of these vehicles, but the XC60 continues to be a solid choice, particularly if you want some Swedish flair to go along with family-friendly practicality and strong safety credentials.

Drive

The 2016 Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E delivers respectable acceleration and very good fuel efficiency. You’ll get very similar fuel economy in the T6 Drive-E, and it turns the energy level up even further with its novel turbo- and supercharged power plant. For both, the associated eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly. It’s unfortunate that you can’t get these engines with AWD, though. Acceleration is similar on AWD models, but fuel economy suffers.
Around town, the XC60 easily soaks up road imperfections and provides a cozy drive quality. Think twice about the available 20-inch wheels, though, as you may find the resulting drive to be a touch too firm. As for handling, the XC60 is competent, but it’s not the segment’s sportiest entry. Largely because newer and sportier models have come along in recent years, the XC60 can seem out of its element on tight, twisting roads, and its steering is overly light.

Exterior

The 2016 Volvo XC60 is a small crossover SUV with seating for five. Trim levels correspond to engine and drivetrain and include the T5 Drive-E, T5 AWD, T6 Drive-E, T6 AWD and T6 AWD R-Design.
The 2015 XC60 T5 Drive-E and T5 AWD come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, front and rear foglights, LED running lights, roof rails, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with power lumbar support, driver seat memory functions, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, "T-Tec" fabric upholstery and a 40/20/40-split-folding rear seat. Technology features include low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation, automatic braking (City Safety), Bluetooth phone and sound connectivity, a 7-inch center display screen, voice commands, smartphone app integration (as part of Volvo’s Sensus Connect), Volvo’s On Call system, WiFi capability and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary sound jack and a USB sound interface.
The Premier package for the T5 Drive-E and T5 AWD adds a panoramic sunroof, rear privacy glass, leather upholstery, configurable digital gauges, a navigation system and an auto-dimming mirror.
The T5 Platinum trim adds a power liftgate, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, a premium 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, interior accent lighting and Volvo’s Technology and Convenience packages (explained below).
The base T6 Drive-E and T6 AWD start with the Premier level features and add keyless ignition and entry. The T6 AWD R-Design is similarly equipped, but gets 20-inch wheels, special exterior and interior design elements and its own unique digital gauges.
All versions of T6s also have a Platinum trim level that adds the same equipment as the T5 Platinum trim.
Volvo’s Technology package, standard on Platinum models and an option on all other trims, adds adaptive cruise control, an upgraded forward collision mitigation system, driver alertness and lane departure warning systems and automatic high beam headlight control.
Also standard on the Platinum, and optional on other 2016 XC60s, is the Convenience package, which includes a cargo area cover and pop-up grocery bag holder, power-retractable exterior mirrors, power-folding rear head restraints and a power outlet in the rear cargo area. The Climate package, an option for all models, adds an interior air quality system, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and a heated windshield and windshield washer nozzles. The Sport package adds 20-inch wheels and sport front seats.
The Blind Spot Information System package bundles a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors.
The Inscription package includes upgraded leather upholstery, extended leather interior trim, special sill plates and special wood trim. It is not available for the T6 R-Design AWD. A Proximity package adds a rearview camera, power tailgate and keyless ignition to models that don’t already have that equipment.
Major stand-alone features for the XC60 include a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system and built-in rear seat child booster seats (that also include power child door locks).

Interior

The XC60 flaunts its Scandinavian roots with a cabin defined by modern yet inviting design. The floating center stack and available real wood trim are particularly distinctive, and there’s certainly no mistaking the XC60 for anything else in the segment. Another Volvo hallmark is the sublimely cozy and supportive front seats.
The straightforward dual-temperature adjustment dials and "mode man" pictogram make climate control adjustments simple and intuitive. The sound system’s phone-style number pad and surrounding controls may look a bit antiquated in the luxury class these days, but they’re simple and make controlling basic stereo functions easy. For more complicated tasks like selecting a media player playlist, programming the navigation system or controlling more complicated car functions, the XC60 relies on the standard Sensus system. It’s fairly easy to use, though the multipurpose knob’s location on the dash (rather than the center console) is not ideal and it lacks a touchpad input like some other competitor controller systems.
The rear seat is roomy as smaller crossovers go, with a high seat cushion, above-average headroom and decent legroom for adults. Parents and kids alike will appreciate the available integrated child booster seats that pop up from the seat bottom. Maximum cargo space is 67 cubic feet (30.8 cubic feet with all seats upright), which is a good number for this class.

Safety

All 2016 Volvo XC60s come standard with traction and stability control, antilock brakes, whiplash-protection front seats, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is Volvo’s City Safety system, which is a low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking.
There is additional optional safety equipment. The Dual Two-Stage Integrated Booster Seats pop up from the backseat’s outboard positions and accommodate children with a height/weight range from 37 inches and 33 pounds to 55 inches and 80 pounds. The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) package adds a blind-spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors. The Technology package adds an upgraded frontal collision warning system with fully automatic braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection, a driver-inattention warning system and lane-departure warning.
In SUVS brake testing, an XC60 T6 Drive-E with 20-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 miles per hour in 118 feet, a respectable distance for this class of vehicle.
The XC60 received a top five-star rating in government crash tests for overall, frontal and side crash protection. It also received the best possible rating of "Good" in all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s crash tests, which is a rare achievement. Finally, the 2016 XC60 received a rating of "Superior" for its frontal crash prevention technology.

Specs

The 2016 Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E is fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard, along with an automatic stop-start system that shuts down the engine to save fuel when the XC60 has come to a stop. EPA-estimated fuel economy is excellent at 26 miles per gallon combined (23 city/31 highway).
The XC60 T5 AWD comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 250 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired to all-wheel drive via a 6-speed automatic transmission. EPA estimated fuel economy is 22 miles per gallon combined (19/26).
The 2016 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E comes with a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Like the T5, it has front-wheel drive and the eight-speed automatic with engine stop-start. In SUVS testing, an XC60 T6 Drive-E went from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.3 seconds, which is certainly quick, but a bit slower than a few other compact crossovers with an upgrade engine. Fuel economy is an extraordinary 24 miles per gallon combined (22 city/29 highway), and it returned 26.5 miles per gallon on the 120-mile SUVS evaluation loop — about the same as the less powerful Audi Q5 2.0T.
XC60 T6 AWD models get a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine. The regular T6 AWD version produces 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the R-Design version is good for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Both have all-wheel drive and 6-speed automatic transmissions. In SUVS testing, a T6 R-Design went from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds, and we expect the regular T6 to be only a tenth or two slower. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 20 miles per gallon combined (17 city/23 highway) for both versions.

Value

Strong and efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder engines; great crash test scores; supportive seats; generous cargo space.

Verdict

The 2016 Volvo XC60 is one of the better choices for a small luxury crossover SUV, particularly if safety and interior room are priorities.

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