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2013 Volvo XC60 T6 Review By Dan Poler


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2013 Volvo XC60


By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Cahnenl

The XC60 has been around since the 2009 model year and is one of the best-selling vehicles in Volvo’s stable. Despite this, it’s just not a car you see every day. We had the opportunity to take the XC60, and we find ourselves wondering why there aren’t more examples of this excellent luxury midsize SUV on the roads.

Our XC60 came equipped in the T6 Platinum trim – the T6 adding Volvo’s 3 liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine, and the Platinum adding a host of high-end features including a navigation system with traffic, rear camera, an upgraded stereo system, power rear liftgate, front and rear sonar parking sensors, and active xenon headlights which turn according to the vehicle’s steering.

This is in addition to the host of standard features such as roof rails, automatic on/off headlights with washers, variable automatic wipers, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat with memory functions and adjustable lumbar, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a split-folding 40/20/40 backseat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

On the outside, Volvo has in recent years moved away from the boxy shapes of old, the corporate design now including swooping curves, particularly at the back end.

Inside the cabin, there’s a distinctly modern flair, with top-notch materials including brushed metal in abundance. Seating all around is amongst the most comfortable we’ve found in quite some time – it’s easy for four adults to be enjoy the space even for longer trips. There are some interesting brand-specific details, such as storage behind the center console – while nice to have, it can be a bit difficult to reach while driving.

We make much of the integrated navigation, radio, and climate control systems we find in modern vehicles; many can be challenging to operate. Not Volvo’s. We actually found the XC60’s controls to be a joy, amongst the simplest and most straightforward on the market. The center screen does an excellent job of presenting not only the navigation, but current settings such as radio station and seat heater settings, in a manner that is uncluttered and easy to understand. Rather than needing to read a manual the size of a telephone book, operation of the various controls is intuitive and easy, an unexpected pleasure. There are a few operations (for example, changing the radio band) that seem to take a number of clicks and turns of the adjustment dial, but it’s easily something that one becomes accustomed to.

Another nicety of the interior that seems to be a disappearing feature in a lot of vehicles is a truly flat load surface with the rear seats folded. The rear seats in the XC60 fold quickly and easily to form a surface completely flat relative to the trunk floor, revealing an astonishingly large cargo area.

There are a couple of small interior quirks – for example, a cigarette lighter squeezed tightly between the front cupholders is an odd location, and that storage space behind the radio controls can be a mixed blessing, as items tend to escape during cornering.

Driving the XC60 is a pleasure. The tall windshield provides for excellent visibility even though the driver’s seating position is somewhat low compared to other midsize luxury SUV’s. Blind spots are minimal, with good guidance provided by sonar sensors and rear camera, and the cabin is quiet and peaceful.

Volvo knows how to build a turbocharged powerplant, and it shows in the XC60. The T6’s 300 hp and 325 lb-ft torque provide for plenty of fun, and the 6-speed automatic transmission provides a sport mode that dials it up a notch. Turbo lag is minimal, popping up just a little when really pushed in sport mode, but for daily driving the engine and transmission provide smooth, consistent power. Roll and lean in the curves is present, of course, as with any SUV, but limited.

It wouldn’t be a review of a Volvo if we didn’t talk about safety. The XC60 is an all-wheel drive vehicle – although not a tunable AWD system, it remained composed and in control on every surface we could throw at it. Additionally, all of the typical Volvo-isms we’d expect to find are here, including antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and whiplash-preventing front seats. Unique to Volvo and standard on the XC60 is their City Safety, which can mitigate or avoid a low-speed frontal impact by applying the vehicle's brakes without driver intervention.

In addition to these standard safety features, optional safety features include integrated child booster seats, blind-spot warning, collision warning and active braking, distance alert, and driver attention warning. The XC60 is in fact one of the only vehicles to score a perfect five-star rating on the US government’s new safety test regimen.

All told, the Volvo XC60 is a quirky, fun little SUV with plenty of room, quick acceleration, and an enjoyable driving experience. Although we don’t see them as often as their German and Japanese competitors, the Swedes have an excellent recipe that deserves consideration.

Specifications

2013 Volvo XC60 T6
Base Price: $34,200
Price as Tested: $48,145
Engine Type: Turbocharged 6-Cyl, continuously variable valve timing, twin-scroll turbo
Engine Size: 3.0 Liter
Horsepower: 300
Torque (lb-ft): 325
Transmission: 6-Speed Geartronic Automatic with Sport Mode
Wheelbase / Length (in): 109.2 / 182.2
Curb Weight: 4,225
Pounds per HP: 14
Fuel Capacity (gal): 18.5 
Fuel Requirement: Premium Unleaded
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season – P35/55VR19
Brakes: Ventilated disc with ABS
Suspension, front/rear: MacPherson Strut / Multi-Link
Ground clearance (in): 9.1
Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
EPA Fuel Economy - MPG
city / highway / observed: 17 / 23 / 22
Towing capacity (lb): 3,300
Base Trim Price: $40,450

Options and Charges

Platinum Package: $4,600 (Navigation system with real time traffic, rear park assist camera, Volvo premium sound system, power operated tailgate, grocery bag holder, front & rear park assist, digital compass, electric folding rear headrests, cargo cover, 12V power outlet in cargo area, homelink garage door transmitter, active dual Xenon headlights)

Climate Package: $900 (Heated front and rear seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, interior air quality system)

Metallic Paint: $550

19” FENRIR Alloy Wheels: $895.00

Delivery: $895

Price as tested: $48,145