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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


XC60: Volvo’s pulse-pounding crossover

Historically, Volvos have appealed more to my head than my heart.

Volvos define sensible transportation. Even the turbocharged trims of recent vintage have been more sporty-ish than sporty, stronger on reason than passion. 

Now comes the XC60, a premium crossover (from $36,675, including destination) that marries Volvo virtues with dynamics that approach Germany’s best. Whether paddling about in city traffic or trimming your favorite corner’s apex, the XC60’s reflexes are confident and assertive.

The nicely weighted, electrically assisted steering is communicative and accurate. The chassis and suspension work in lock-step to smooth out rough surfaces and check body lean. Its engines are responsive, efficient and innovative.

A distinctly Scandinavian cast informs cabin design, with its easy curves, intuitive controls and elegant “floating” center stack. Seats are beautifully sculpted, comfortable and supportive.

The rear seating area offers more legroom and headroom than most compact crossovers. Available integrated booster seats pop up from the seat bottoms. 

Interior features include a 3-spoke steering wheel, Off Black dash top, wood décor trim on front door panels, cloth-covered B-pillars, metal-trim vent surrounds, Quartz headliner, front door sill plates and a metal threshold for the cargo area.

The XC60 is available in front- and all-wheel-drive formats and in five well-equipped trims, topped by the $51,000 T6 AWD R-Design Platinum.

Standard gear includes front and rear foglights, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, driver-side memory, a leather-wrapped, three-spoke tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, fabric upholstery, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod audio interface.

Wi-Fi Hotspot gives the driver access to cloud-based Volvo services without an on-board smartphone. A Wi-Fi hotspot inside the car allows passengers to connect their portable devices to the Internet.

This year, Volvo debuts a new engine lineup, dominated by four-cylinder direct-injected powerplants. Front-drive trims are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four that makes 240 or, with the addition of a supercharger, 302 horsepower. 

Both engines are mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. EPA ratings are 27 mpg combined (24 city, 31 highway) and 25/22/30.

All-wheel-drive models get a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower or a 3.0-liter 300-hp turbocharged inline six. Both are paired with a six-speed automatic and return 20/17//24.

The ultimate XC60, the T6 AWD R-Design makes 325 horsepower. Its chassis is strengthened to handle the load and more-direct steering ratios enhance road feel.

Volvo’s AWD system transfers power to the wheels with the best grip. The torque-vectoring FWD system cuts power to the inside wheel during cornering, sharpening turn-in and reducing understeer.

In all trims, a new driver-selectable ECO+ fuel-saving technology optimizes shift points, engine control and throttle response to improve efficiency by as much as five percent.

Volvo continues to prioritize safety, and the XC60 earns top ratings in all government and insurance-industry crash tests.

The demands of head and heart often are in conflict, if not outright warfare; what a treat it is to discover a Volvo that satisfies both.

Don Adair is a Spokane-based freelance writer. Contact him at

2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD
Vehicle base price:
Trim level base price: $42,200
As tested: $51,675
Optional equipment included metallic paint; 20-inch alloy wheels; heated front seats; sport seats; integrated booster seats; adaptive Xenon headlights with active high-beams; keyless entry/ignition; premium audio system; adaptive cruise control; collision-warning with auto-brake; pedestrian/cyclist detection with auto-brake; more.
EPA ratings: 20 combined/17 city/24 highway
Regular unleaded fuel specified

Don Adair
Don Adair is a Spokane-based freelance writer.