2017 Volvo XC60 Review: Still solid after all these years
– Detroit, Michigan
The march of time is not easy on cars. When I first drove an XC60 a few years ago, I was very impressed. Yet in the context of all the other really good, updated crossovers you can buy in 2016 – including Volvo’s own excellent new XC90 – the XC60 feels like old hat. There’s little that I truly dislike about the sensible Swede, but there aren’t any areas in which it leaps out to me as the best in its class. We know that a new XC60 is likely to arrive in 2017; for now the current model remains a fine choice for anyone shopping the Volvo showroom.
- The twincharged T6 engine, a 2.0-liter inline-four supplemented by a supercharger and a turbocharger, is a real powerhouse. It takes a beat to wake up when you tip into the throttle, but once on the move, the two forced-induction strategies provide a huge wave of torque. Along with the quick-shifting eight-speed automatic, the T6 pulls harder than you most drivers probably really need in a car like the XC60.
- Cargo space behind the second row is seats is great. There’s a lot of depth between the seats and the liftgate, and I love the flexibility of the 40/20/40 split seat. The cargo floor could be lower, of course, to ease loading, but ultimately the XC60 carries tons of stuff – 30.8 cubic feet with the rear seats in use, 67.4 with them folded flat.
- The XC60 isn’t hugely pretty in general, but this loaded-up version wears plenty of nice jewelry. On this fully loaded T6 Inscription model, look for matte-finish real wood trim, lots of soft leather, and 20-inch wheels dressing up this otherwise staid crossover. It all helps make the Volvo’s otherwise plain design pop a little more.
- It’s not all that comfortable. The brittle suspension crashes over severe road impacts, sending quivers through the entire body that rattle interior parts and make themselves felt through the steering wheel. While hardly spine-destroying, the Volvo’s ride leaves a lot to be desired compared to its competitive set of luxury models. The 20-inch wheels equipped on this loaded T6 Inscription test car likely contribute mightily to this issue.
- The Sensus seven-inch infotainment system still works quickly, but it looks like an artifact compared to what other automakers are doing. The screen is sunken into the dashboard, making it look even smaller, and its matte-finish screen doesn’t pop the way other carmakers’ infotainment systems shine. Again, progress is the enemy: I’m perhaps most critical of this display because I know how much I love the giant, bright touchscreen in the new XC90 (and S90 sedan and V90 wagon).
- The electronics and secondary controls in this era of Volvo have never really appealed to me. Manipulating the infotainment system from the small rotating knob or adjusting vehicle settings with the ‘OK’ button and twist dial on the left stalk are slow, cumbersome ways of working the electronics. Using the big, chunky steering wheel controls while driving is easy, but other switchgear has a bigger learning curve.
Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com