Yowza! I was pleasantly surprised by this Volvo. Powerful and fun like a sports car with the storage of an SUV. Loved the interior trim and seats — masculine and sporty. Seat heaters worked like a dream. Plenty of room for passengers and luggage, yet tight turning radius and compact size got me into some tight spaces.
From an art guru perspective: I love the taillights, which make for quite the abstract look at night. I’d park this in my stable before a Lincoln MKX or a Cadillac SRX. It’d be a tough call between an XC60 and an Audi Q5, but I think the Volvo might beat that as well.
– Kelly Murphy, Creative Director
The Volvo XC60 drives well, rides very comfortably, handles well, and has a well-balanced, nicely calibrated powertrain. It’s also very stylish inside and out. The numerous R-Design touches (grille, seats, wheels, tailpipes, etc) are nice, but red certainly wouldn’t be my choice for this car. Otherwise, I would gladly park an XC60 in my garage.
– Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
The in-car technology on the Volvo XC60 was pretty much outdated when the vehicle launched in 2009. One year later and it looks utterly archaic, compared not only to the luxury competition, but also cars costing tens of thousands of dollars less. Our long-term Hyundai Sonata costs less than $26,000 and has a much more attractive and functional navigation system. The Volvo’s large screen is comically underutilized, only capable of displaying the navigation map. Audio, climate, and phone information are displayed on a smaller, pathetic single-color display.
I vehemently disagree with Rusty that this XC60 rides comfortably after driving across Michigan during the Thanksgiving holiday with family in tow. Over modest bumps and cracks, the ride can be jarring, especially for backseat passengers. On long trips, it quickly becomes unpleasant. The compromised ride, though, is likely due to the 20-inch wheels that are part of the R-Design package. I highly suggest staying away from it.
Aside from the ride and the technology, the XC60 does have a lot of endearing traits. The turbocharged inline-six is strong and smooth, the steering is excellent, and the body control is impressive for an SUV. It’s a pretty fun and sporty package in this segment, but Volvo’s delivered those attributes in a rather compromised vehicle.
– Eric Tingwall, Assistant Editor
I was also very impressed with the Volvo. The exterior is much more refined than previous Volvo crossovers, and the R-Design package in red with the big, five-spoke wheels is a knockout combo. When I saw Mike Ofiara drive by one morning, I thought he was in a Porsche Cayenne. A closer look reveals all the classic Volvo cues but put together in a nicely updated package.
The XC60 confirmed once again that nobody does a better job with seats than Volvo. They’re gorgeous, comfortable, and supportive. The rest of the interior is stylish and very well done as well: the grain on the dash, the waterfall console, the door panels and hardware, and the controls and buttons are all beautifully executed.
There were, however, some issues that need mentioning. Although the blue metal bezels on the instruments are certainly stylish, the thin markings on the dials are too difficult to read, particularly at night when they remain too dimly lit. The abbreviated needles to accommodate the inner displays also fail to make things easy to read at a glance. The blocky resolution of the digital displays are a disappointment as well. Volvo needs to do far better on these details in this price range. The Audi blows away the field in this regard, and the ease and clarity of using its controls are a serious point in its favor over the Volvo.
The hidden navigation controls on the back of the wheel seem unnecessary as well. The joystick? Fine. But the enter and exit buttons need to be visible. This also renders the nav system useless to the passenger, another annoyance. [There is, however, a remote control as well. Just don’t lose it.]
The cargo area seemed huge compared with that of the Q5 and more accessible through the larger tailgate as well. I didn’t try folding any seats since I had child seats installed, but it swallowed a bunch of stuff from Ikea with ease.
The Volvo wins on style and space, but the Audi tech interface is so superior, it’d be a very tough choice if I were buying. Volvo by a better-looking nose…
– Matt Tierney, Art Director
2010 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design
Base price (with destination): $42,400
Price as tested: $47,800
3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine
6-speed automatic transmission
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
20-inch alloy R Design wheels
Hill decent control
Dynamic stability traction control
Tire-pressure monitoring system
Tilt/telescoping steering column
40/20/40 split folding rear seats
Heated outside mirrors
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Keyless push-button ignition
High-performance audio system with 8 speakers
In-dash single CD player with WMA/MP3 capability
USB/Auxiliary audio inputs
Sirius satellite radio
R-Design elements: 20-inch wheels, sports chassis, chrome tailpipes, chrome skid plate, color-matched lower body moldings, blue instrument cluster, silk-metal grille, sport leather seats, aluminum pedals, aluminum center stack, leather steering wheel and gearshift knob
Options on this vehicle:
Multimedia package — $2700
Dynaudio premium sound system
Logic II surround sound
DVD map data
Rear park assist with backup camera
Climate & technology package — $2700
Heated front/rear seats
Heated windshield washer nozzles
Rain sensing wipers
Adaptive cruise control
Collision warning with auto brake
Key options not on vehicle:
Convenience package — $1200
Fuel economy: 16/21/18 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Size: 3.0L Turbocharged 6-cylinder
Horsepower: 281 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Curb weight: 4225 lb
Wheels/tires: 20-inch wheels, 255/45R20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season tires