2013 Volvo XC60

2013 Volvo XC60 Review

Swedish crossover offers some surprises.

By: Tim Healey

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: March 27th, 2013

Volvo has a reputation as the automotive equivalent of sensible shoes. Buyers associate the Swedish automaker with safety and a style that borders on blandness without actually being boring. The XC60 crossover seems to fit the brand perfectly, thanks to its blend-in styling and emphasis on safety features.

Opt for the T6 trim, however, and some surprises await. This crossover has a few tricks up its sleeve.

  • Performance

    No one expects a family-hauling crossover to have a lot of performance chops, but in T6 trim, the XC60 does. Credit must be given to the 300-horsepower/325-lb-ft-of-torque turbocharged inline six-cylinder under the hood. Even with a curb weight of over two tons, the XC60 has plenty of power for acceleration.

    Ride and handling are surprisingly good, too. There is a fair bit of body roll in the corners, and the steering can be a tad heavy and numb at times, but the XC60 is able to run the corners faster and more smoothly than you'd expect. Some understeer ruins the fun when the driver pushes too hard, but overall the XC is pretty willing to tango.

    During highway cruising, the XC60's ride shines as buttery smooth--this thing eats miles with ease. Long road trips are much less painful when behind the wheel.

    The only real performance letdown is the mushy, soft brakes. There isn't much bite, and we found them hard to trust while braking hard before cornering.

  • Exterior

    The XC60 looks more like a tall wagon than an SUV, with an overall shape that reminds us of the Volvo wagons of yore, simply raised. Volvo has added some curvature, but the look is still conservative. It's not boring, but it won't turn heads either.

  • Interior

    For the most part, cabin materials are class-appropriate, although the hard plastic cowl above the instrument cluster looks a bit down-market. The infotainment controls require a little too much work to accomplish simple tasks in some cases. It takes a bit of trial and error before the driver truly learns them, but once this is achieved, the controls make more sense. The XC60's telephone keypad-like center stack seems button-heavy, but it was easy enough to learn.

    Headroom and legroom for taller drivers are plentiful up front, but rear passengers will suffer with the front seats set back. Cargo room is more than adequate.

    We like the extra storage space under the center stack and the green night-lighting that illuminates the center buttons, and the seats were comfortable enough for long drives. Once you translate some of the pictographs on the controls, the XC60's cabin is a great place to do business.

  • Final Thoughts

    At nearly $50K, our XC60 tester doesn't come cheap. But as a luxury crossover with some performance abilities, it does its job well. Drive it as a comfy family-hauler or interstate-cruiser, and it's a perfectly pleasant companion. Hammer on the throttle for a passing maneuver or drive it hard on a winding road, and it holds its own.

    It may look and feel conservative, but at least in T6 trim, the XC60 is a delightful crossover to drive.

  • Specs, Features, and Prices

    Engine: 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Drive Wheels: All-wheel-drive

    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway

    Base Price: $40,450

    As-tested price: $48,145

    Available Features: Bluetooth, USB port, navigation, front and rear park assist, tilt and telescope steering wheel, 19-inch alloy wheels, power tailgate, rearview camera, heated front and rear seats, leather seats, City Safety system.

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