Don't call it old, just call it well-aged and still quite good.

2016 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Drive-E Platinum Review

Near the end of life, it's still one great CUV

By: Amos Kwon

Web2Carz Editor-In-Chief

Published: July 28th, 2016

It's hard to believe the XC60 midsized crossover has only been around since 2010. It actually seems older, really. We feel like we've seen them pretty much everywhere since forever, but that's thanks to their popularity (for a Volvo, anyway). Thankfully, Volvo refreshed it significantly in 2014 and made the fascias more sophisticated and did away with a lot of dark exterior plastics, which made it look cheaper than it was. The current model is on its way out soon since Chinese-owned Volvo is looking to redo much of their lineup -- having started out with a bang with the hot-selling XC90 full-sized SUV.

  • Driving Impressions

    We never really expect to be wowed by crossovers when it comes to the driving experience. Shy of a Porsche Macan Turbo or a Jaguar F-Pace or even the Mazda CX-9, most CUVs are a bit dull in the driving senses. And though the XC60 doesn't thrill in the turns or provide exacting steering feel, it does move with authority and provide a modicum of fun for something that's meant to traverse shopping mall lots and the occasional gravel driveway.

    Our T6 Drive-E benefitted from Volvo's more potent edition of their 2.0-liter turbocharged four, largely because it gets assistance from a supercharger for a healthy 302 horsepower 295 lb-ft of torque. The T6 Drive-E also gets the smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic instead of the six-speed automatic that shows up in lesser trims.

    • Ride Quality: Limo-like ride quality. Great seats and good shock absorption. 19-inch Michelin all-season tires ride smoothly.
    • Steering: Numb electrically-assisted steering that's pretty vague. No awards here but no surpises, either.
    • Acceleration: Powerful acceleration and decent throttle response. The XC60 in T6 Drive-E guise is a mover in a straight line.
    • Braking: Decent braking that's a little soft at the top of the pedal.
    • Handling: Understeers and feels soft in the turns. It's not a CUV that can be pushed, but that's not our expectation, anyway.

  • Technology and Safety

    Though Volvo reworked their XC60 two years ago, they failed to do much with the dated tech, and that's the biggest chagrin we have for this crossover. It's just plain old and looks that way. The big keypad in the center stack is convoluted and hard to use. The infotainment system is likewise dated when it comes to controls, despite the fact that its visually appealing and easy to read.

    It fares better when it comes to safety. Volvo is synonymous with supreme safety, and the current XC60 is no exception, garnering an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for the 2016 model year. And that comes as no surprise given Volvo's commitment to being one of the safest brands in the industry.

    • Infotainment Screen Size/Quality: The 7-inch screen is easy to read but is set in a bit too deep, probably to avoid glare. There's also no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Grrr. At least there's WiFi.
    • Bluetooth Phone Pairing: Easy pairing but ran into music streaming hiccups numerous times. Frustrating.
    • Voice/Sound Quality: Voice and sound quality were both very good. We like the premium audio system for its rich sound.
    • Controls: Awful controls that you have to get used to. Th multifunction knobs are hard to decipher while driving.
    • Safety: The XC60 in this trim pretty much has it all from smart cruise control to pedestrian and cyclist detection. The expensive tech package is worth it thanks to collision detection with full auto brake. The child booster seats are a boon for parents of small ones.

  • Exterior Design & Styling

    We won't call it beautiful, but Volvo is more about sophistication and sensibility rather than visual punch (at least with the older generation cars). We like the revised fascias that give the Volvo a bit more presence, and the body is well-sculpted like any modern CUV should be. We like the fact that Volvo eschews busyness in their design language, and even when this car is replaced with the next-gen version, it will still look handsome, especially in charcoal gray.

    • Front: The wide Volvo grille isn't overly tall like so many other cars today, keeping it clean with simple headlights and a crisp lower fascia.
    • Rear: We love Volvo's taillights on their wagons and CUVs, hoping they never depart too far from this formula.
    • Profile: Very wagon-like, but that's not a bad thing at all, in our opinion. The single dramatic crease on the front door and the longer one at the beltline give it the right amount of drama. Not too little, not too much.

  • Driver and Passenger Comfort

    Volvo takes the time to do their Contour seats just about perfectly, and we wonder why other automakers can't do as good of a job with support and bolstering. If you're going to take a long trip in a car, these seats are pretty much perfect. We laud Volvo for not sacrificing comfort for aesthetics, though these seats are pretty attractive.

    We like the Swedish flavor of the interior despite the somewhat dated look. Ergonomics could use work, but it definitely departs from the Teutonic look of Audi. It could use a bit more drama like modern Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs. At least the materials quality and the fit and finish are fantastic.

    • Front Seats: Nothing but great things to say about these seats. Everybody who sat in these loved them and for good reason. They are superb.
    • Rear Seats:Very comfortable but a bit lacking on legroom--not terrible, though. Four people fit in it just fine. The fifth person doesn't fare nearly as well.
    • Visibility: Good all around. Volvo works hard to keep their pillars from being too obstructive. The seating position is quite good, as well.

  • Storage and Cargo Room

    Despite an odd storage compartment behind the waterfall center stack, the rest of the Volvo works well in the storage department. Good door pockets, a fairly capacious center armrest and good cupholders ensure easy gear stowage. Though you likely won't haul any furniture in the XC60, there's plenty of space for a weekend road trip behind the second row.

    • Storage: Good storage options, but it's no Honda Pilot. There wasn't much we didn't like except the strange space behind the center stack, which was hard to reach and made it easy to forget that we left things there since you can't see it directly unless you peer behind it.
    • Trunk/Cargo Room: The easy split-folding seatbacks fold flat quickly and without fuss. 31-cubic-feet of cargo space with the seats up and 67 cubic feet with it folded flat are more than enough space for anyone short of a flea market vendor.

  • Final Impressions

    You can wait for the 2018 XC60 in hopes that it looks like a small XC90 (which it will), or you can get this one now. It does everything very well--drives comfortably, looks attractive and stores plenty. You'll just have to be okay with not having great infotainment technology or audio/infotainment/climate controls. It's a sacrifice but not a huge one since the Volvo XC60 remains very appealing even in its final iteration for this generation.

    Families who want a truly safe automobile that's not high on visual drama and provides great acceleration and four-wheel traction can't really go wrong with the XC60, especially in the potent and well-outfitted T6 Drive-E.

  • Price & Specifications

    Engine: 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged direct inject 4-cylinder

    Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting

    Drivetrain/Layout: all-wheel drive, front engine

    Power Output: 302 horsepower / 295 lb-ft of torque

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 19 city / 27 highway

    Base Price: $43,350

    As Tested: $52,505 (incl. $995 destination charge)

    Standard Features: All-wheel drive with Instant Traction, Touring Chassis with advanced stability control, roll stability control, anti-lock braking system with Ready Alert Brakes, electronic brake distribution and assistance, power assisted rack and pinion steering, 18" alloy wheels with all-season tires, Sensus with integrated 7-inch color LCD monitor, 180W high performance audio system with 8 speakers, in-dash single CD with WMA and MP3 capability, HD Radio / USB & AUX inputs, Bluetooth hands free with audio streaming, SIRIUS Radio with 6-month complimentary subscription, Sensus Connect with 6-month complimentary subscription with unlimited data and in-car WiFi hotspot, Volvo On Call with 6-month complimentary subscription, 10-year emergency crash notification, smart phone apps including engine remote start, City Safety - low speed collision avoidance system, unibody high strength steel safety cage, five 3-point safety belts with pretensioners, inflatable curtain head impact protection, front passenger dual chamber side-impact airbags, driver & front passenger dual stage supplemental restraint system, Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) in driver & passenger seats, security system with back-up battery for siren, child safety locks in rear doors, tire pressure monitoring system, LED daytime running lights, electronic stability control, laminated panoramic roof with power sunshade, leather upholstered seating surfaces, 8-way power front seats with driver 3-position memory, front seat power lumbar support, keyless entry and drive with Safe-Approach Lighting, electronic ignition with push button start and stop, adaptive digital TFT display, leather & silk metal steering wheel, tilt & telescoping steering wheel, electronic parking brake, dual zone electronic climate control, auto-dimming inside rear view mirror, heated power outside rearview mirrors with memory, silver integrated roof rails, 40/20/40 flat folding seats, folding head restraints, rain-sensing windshield wipers

    Options on our test vehicle: PLATINUM: power tailgate with programmable setting, active dual Xenon headlights with washers, auto-dimming rear view mirrors, rear park assist camera; Convenience Package: HomeLink integrated garage door opener, cargo cover, grocery bag holder, 12V power outlet in cargo area, power retractable exterior mirrors, electric folding rear headrests; Harman Kardon premium sound system, accent lighting; Technology Package: adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist, collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian/cyclist detection with auto brake, distance alert, lane departure warning, driver alert control, active high beam, road sign information; Climate Package & Child Booster Seats: heated front seats, dual two-stage child booster seats, power child locks, heated windshield washer nozzles interior air quality system, heated steering wheel, heated windshield; Contour Seats with Charcoal Headliner; Metallic Paint, Linear Walntu Wood Inlay, 19" LESATH diamond cut wheels

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