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2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Windy City Review By Larry Nutson

2015.5 Volvo XC60  (select to view enlarged photo)

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

I haven’t had very much direct experience with Volvo cars during my lengthy automotive tenure. However a Volvo did make its way into our household fleet about seven years ago.

Our first-born, our daughter had completed her undergraduate university studies, graduated and was about to be off in her first professional job. She would need a car due to the very suburban, more accurately exurban location where she would be living and working in the Northeast U.S. After going through her first-ever car shopping experience, and with some guidance from her parents, she selected a 2007 Volvo S40 sedan.

I was happy with her decision knowing Volvo’s long-standing reputation for safety. The front-wheel drive S40 would provide the efficiency, space and driving security that she needed in a car. She described the S40 with the term “sporty sophistication” as to why it met her emotional needs in a car. I think these words, sporty sophistication, still describe the Volvos of today.

2015.5 Volvo XC60  (select to view enlarged photo)

Volvo says it’s midway through a global transformation that involves the creation of a global industrial footprint, the complete renewal of Volvo’s product range over the next five years, the introduction of a new modular chassis technology, world first safety technologies, a new design language, a new powertrain architecture and a range of class leading connectivity services.

Volvo has been in operation since 1927. It was a part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding. Volvo sells cars in about 100 countries. Sales increased 8.9 per cent in 2014 to a new record of 465,866 cars sold.

The Volvo XC60 crossover was Volvo Cars’ best-selling model in 2014 and it also represented the highest growth in absolute numbers. Sales of the XC60 amounted to 136,993 cars vs. 114,010 in 2013, which was an increase of 20.2 per cent. The biggest market for the Volvo XC60 was China followed by the U.S. and Sweden.

My re-acquaintance with Volvo was in the form of a 2015.5 (yes, 2015 and a half) XC60 T6 AWD compact luxury crossover. The XC60 is very respected in the auto world because of its excellent behavior on the road, a high emphasis on safety, very roomy cabin and good-looking interior. On the outside I found the XC60 very distinctive and a vehicle that offered unique design that broke away from many of the cookie-cutter looks that are on vehicles today.

2015.5 Volvo XC60  (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2015.5 model year designation relates to newer cars that received Volvo’s new standard Sensus Connect and Volvo On-Call with 6-month complimentary subscriptions. Also, new Sensus Navigation with Map Care is now standard on Premier and Platinum trim levels and all T6 models including R-Design, and a new Harmon Kardon Premium Sound System.

The lowest priced Volvo XC60 is the T5 Drive-E model at $36,200. This is a 240 HP 4-cylinder front-drive model. The top of the line is the XC60 T6 AWD R-Design Platinum priced at $50,750. For the enthusiast, the R-Design has a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder delivering 325 horsepower. The R-Design’s chassis employs stronger damping and a more direct steering gear.

The all-wheel drive XC60 T6 I drove has a base MSRP of $42,400. It’s powered by 300 HP 3.0-L turbocharged six cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic.

EPA test fuel economy ratings for the XC60 T6 are 20 mpg combined or 5.0 gallons per 100 miles, with 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway ratings. The best EPA test ratings for the XC60 are for the T5 Drive-E at 24 city mpg, 31 highway mpg for a 27 mpg combined test rating. Remember, these are laboratory test ratings and your actual road mileage may be different. And also keep in mind that our now low gasoline prices will rise again.

Also equipped on my media-evaluation XC60 was the Platinum Package priced at $4,400 that includes a power tailgate, xenon headlights, keyless drive, rear park assist, a convenience package, grocery bag holder, power retractable outside mirrors…wonderful to have in tight city parking, and a couple other items. As a part of the Premium Package you get a Convenience Package and also a Technology Package.

2015.5 Volvo XC60  (select to view enlarged photo)

The Technology Package includes adaptive cruise control, collision warning with full automatic braking, pedestrian/cyclist detection with automatic braking (very cool with more and more bikers in big cities), and lane departure warning.

2015.5 Volvo XC 60  (select to view enlarged photo)

I’ve often wondered why so many vehicles today have large tachometers that most of their drivers will never look at or use. Volvo has a better idea. The Adaptive Digital Display electronic instrument cluster allows you to choose from one of three themes. The "Elegance" theme has a traditional appearance, with a large speedometer and small tachometer off to the side. The "Eco" theme features a green background illumination, designed to create an environmentally inspired look. And the "Performance" theme has a red background and in the center, a tachometer replaces the speedometer and vehicle speed is shown digitally.

Another bit of safety from Volvo came in the form of the $500 extra built-in child booster seats in the two outboard rear seat positions. Just flip up the seat bottom to raise it and buckle in your child.

Take note that the Volvo XC60 earned a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and Top Safety Pick plus honor from IIHS for performance in the new Small Overlap Test.

More detailed information and specs on the complete Volvo XC60 model range is only a mouse click away at If you want to compare the XC60 to other compact crossover SUVs you can do that right here on

2015.5 Volvo XC60  (select to view enlarged photo)

Volvo didn’t forget dog owners. My test car had a Dog Gate fitted in the cargo compartment that prevents the dog from jumping out from the car when the tailgate is opened. The Dog Gate is combined with the Vertical Divider and the Steel Cargo Organizer to nicely protect your very loved dog.

Another noteworthy Volvo feature that makes ownership a bit more pleasurable is the complimentary factory scheduled maintenance that’s included for three years or 36,000 miles.

A recent IIHS study touted that improved vehicle designs and safety technology has a lot to do with the continuing decline in fatality risk. Volvo has been and continues to be a leader in offering a high level of vehicle safety for its owners.

2015.5 Volvo XC60  (select to view enlarged photo)

To sum it up, I found the XC 60 to be a very comfortable, responsive overall vehicle. It’s not too big for city use, the interior is quite luxurious and comfortable, ride and handling are evoke confidence, and there is plenty of punch from the engine.

XC60: Swedish for SUV, as Volvo says.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy