Review: 2013 Volvo XC60

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Quick! Flash back to the last time you parked at the mall by a high-end department store. What did you see? Lexus RX’s, BMW X3, X5′s. Maybe an Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLK. Without a doubt, the market for premium compact CUV’s has a plethora of options, yet the Volvo XC60 is rarely discussed. Why is this? For one, and I blame Volvo, they simply are not promoting or marketing the car. If you don’t raise product awareness that this car exists, you are not going to get much showroom traffic. The Lexus RX reigns supreme in this segment, and through no fault of their own, it appears image conscious McMansion inhabitants feel better about themselves if they can brag about buying a Lexus than a Volvo.

And that is a shame, because the Volvo XC60 is a fine car that seriously deserves some recognition that car buyers and news media have not been giving. The XC60 is certainly a handsome, even classy CUV, but like any other crossover, it won’t turn heads. Cool and understated, our Volvo wears its Swedish design philosophy proudly. If bling is your thing, this may not be the car for you, but our test car’s optional 19″ wheels were a nice touch.

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Let’s face it though-if you’re buying a crossover, you want utility and comfort, so the interior matters. Again, simple, clean elegant design prevails, but the quality of materials were exceptional. Leather, aluminum, soft touch plastics, every tactile feature of the XC60 reeked of excellent quality and workmanship. Volvo has a well earned reputation for constructing exceptionally comfortable seats. Coming from someone who drives a different new car every week, I can honestly say the XC60 has some of the best seats in the business. You actually feel better once you climb into the car. The gauges are clear and easy to read, and most controls are simple enough to understand. While the overall architecture of the interior is gorgeous to touch and look at, a huge grouping of tiny, small and largely inconsequential buttons clutter the center console, which unfortunately ages the otherwise gorgeous interior by about ten years. And while packed with the latest tech features, the navigation/entertainment systems also feel, well, old in comparison to the competition. It’s sort of like whipping out a flip phone at a party when all your friends have Androids and iPhones . Yes, it works, but is it cool?

Volvo XC60 buyers have three engine choices to suit their needs. The base model is equipped with a 3.2L inline six rated at 240hp, with the option of front or all-wheel drive. Our test car was the mid-level T6, which is powered by a 3.0L turbocharged inline six rated at 300hp, and all-wheel drive is standard. At the top of the food chain is the T6 R-Design, which has the same engine but is tuned to 325hp. Our XC60 T6 has EPA fuel economy figures of 17/23 MPG city/highway. Interestingly, Volvo claims the more powerful R-Design will return the same numbers. However, few people in this market are looking for sports car like acceleration, and I found the turbocharged six to have plenty of power. Even with the optional 19″ alloys the Volvo was very comfortable to drive. If Volvo’s mission was to deliver a comfortable, easy to live with CUV, they succeeded. Though not offered in North America, European buyers have the option of a diesel engine, and even the choice of a manual transmission. I know, it hurts me too.

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Our Volvo XC60 T6 has a base MSRP of $40, 450USD. As you’d expect, Volvo has thrown in numerous safety features, and boasts a five star rating from IIHS, the best rating you can get. Standard features include a leather interior, 7″ color screen, panoramic sunroof, power seats with memory, push button start, dual zone auto climate control, and Bluetooth. Our test car had the optional Platinum Package, which added navigation, rear park assist, rear view camera, power liftgate and active xenon headlights, the Climate Package which includes heated heated front and rear seats, and heated windshield wiper nozzles. Special paint, optional 19″ alloys and destination charges bring the tally to $46,146. In the premium crossover market, this actually represent a pretty decent value.

The Volvo XC60 is a perfectly competent vehicle for families seeking a premium crossover, and until the V60 wagon arrives, is the true iteration of the Volvo wagon Americans have embraced for decades. Flashy? No. Pretentious? No. But that’s not what Volvo has ever been about. Quietly producing vehicles that offer unprecedented safety, quality, and comfort are the hallmarks of Volvo, and in that respect, Volvo has succeeded with the XC60.

 

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Comments

  1. Carl says

    Technical features is the thing that I personally look in a car. This car design and interior looks simply awesome but as far as navigation and music system is concerned it feels like it is not set up to today's level of technology. There are so many advanced navigation systems in the market, I recently got installed one from tadibrothers.com and it is intact with highly new features. It is a complete package of power & design, wish it had that internal features that suits the dashboard of such a car.

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