2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Introduction
Since its introduction back in 2010, the Volvo XC60 has been one of our favorite mid-size crossover suvs. The model is both handsomely styled and exudes a quality of understated luxuriousness we find particularly appealing. Further, with the wealth of powertrain options Volvo offers for the XC60, the model can be tailored to the tastes of a broad variety of drivers.
In other words, safety isn’t the only reason to consider a Volvo anymore.
Some time ago, the company’s management team made the decision to inject its products with a bit more excitement, while maintaining the core safety values for which the company has long been renowned. To that end, Volvo’s products became more esthetically pleasing, performance became more of a consideration, and their luxury quotient was multiplied considerably.
Volvo has quietly become one of Europe’s most coveted brands.
For the 2014 model year, the XC60 has been treated to a considerable update. The Swedish crossover SUV sports a new front end, an interior update, and its all-wheel drive system has been reworked to improve its performance. Further, some of the Volvo’s safety systems have be reworked, and the transmission fitted the T6 models (of which our test vehicle was one) has been recalibrated to increase its response in the Sport mode.
In other words, as good as it was before, for 2014, the Volvo XC60 is even better, but it still isn’t quite perfect.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Models And Pricing
For the 2014 model year, the Volvo XC60 is being offered in three models: XC60 3.2, XC60 T6 AWD, and XC60 T6 AWD R-Design. There are also three trim packages available.
The base model is the $34,850 XC60 3.2. Standard features for this iteration of the XC60 include a set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels, a set of roof rails to improve cargo capacity, automatic headlights with washers, automatic windshield wipers, and heated exterior mirrors. The base XC60 also comes with cruise control, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, memory functions for the driver’s seat and exterior rear-view mirrors, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
The entry-level XC60 model also offers a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a split-folding 40/20/40 rear seatback to expand interior cargo capacity, an auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, plus Bluetooth telephone connectivity and audio streaming. The Volvo’s eight-speaker sound system supports a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input port, and an iPod/USB audio interface.
For $37,950, you can get the XC60 3.2 Premier. In addition to all of the above, the Premier is equipped with a set of silver-painted roof rails, rear privacy glass for added security, keyless entry and pushbutton start, a panoramic sunroof with a sunshade, leather upholstery for the seats, a multi-configurable TFT instrument display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an eight-way power adjustable passenger’s seat.
For $39,250 you can go Premier Plus. This will get you everything listed so far, plus a power rear liftgate for the cargo compartment, front and rear parking sensor arrays, a rearview video monitoring system, a quick-fold front passenger seat to expand cargo capacity even more, a cargo cover, and a set of power-folding rear head restraints.
A fully loaded XC60 3.2 Platinum comes in at $41,950. This bundles all of the above with a set of auto-dimming and power folding exterior rearview mirrors, accent lighting for the interior, Volvo’s navigation system, and the audio system gets an upgrade to a12-speaker surround-sound configuration.
The base XC60 T6 AWD ($41,550) comes equipped like the XC60 3.2 Premier, but with all-wheel drive and a more powerful engine. The T6 AWD with the Premier Plus package comes in at $42,850, while the T6 AWD with the Platinum package comes in at $45,550.
The 2014 XC60 T6 AWD R-Design starts at $45,800, and like the T6 AWD, comes kitted out with the 3.2 Premier’s offerings as standard. The R-Design also adds an even more powerful engine, color-matched lower body moldings and a metallic-themed interior with unique aluminum inserts in the steering wheel, door moldings and the center stack. The R-Design configuration also features silk metal finish exterior mirror housings, trim moldings, and skid plates, along with a set of twin chrome tailpipes. To cap it all off, the R-Design logo is embossed in the front seat backrests and displayed on the grille.
Adding the Premier Plus package to an R-Design configured XC60 costs $47,180, while going Platinum will cost $49,800. Volvo also adds a destination and shipping charge of $915 to each of the prices quoted above.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Design
The 2014 XC60 gets the first styling makeover since the XC60 was introduced in 2010. The styling of the Volvo is essentially all-new from the windshield forward. The changes include a new hood, new front fenders, and new a fascia. The headlights have also been redesigned, along with the grille—which features a larger Volvo logo.
The front spoiler has been replaced and now features bright trim. The new face of the XC60 is graced with vertically mounted LED daytime running lights, as well as new front and rear skid plate décor. To clean up the rear end, there is a new integrated exhaust pipe design. Completing the exterior revisions is a new set of 18-inch alloy wheels as standard for 3.2 trim levels. Similarly, the top-of-the-line T6 AWD R-Design XC60 gets a new set of 20-inch alloys.
Inside, the XC60 gets a brace of revised design elements, luxury touches and convenience features. These include a new three-spoke steering wheel, a new instrument panel, additional metallic accents, and white—as opposed to green illumination for the secondary control buttons. The XC60 gets a new shift knob too. This one features a piano black background with illuminated symbols to make viewing it in the dark easier.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Features And Controls
The real star of the new interior is the adaptive digital display employing Thin Film Transistor technology. This is standard on 3.2 Premier, Premier Plus and Platinum trims levels; plus all T6 AWD and R-Design models. The display can be configured to display a choice of one of three pre-programmed setups.
These are; Elegance, which features a traditional appearance with a large, circular speedometer bordered by secondary displays; Eco, which features green background illumination with an Eco meter displayed on the left side of the speedometer; and Performance, which uses red background illumination. Further, a tachometer replaces the speedometer and vehicle speed is shown digitally. The right display includes a power meter gauge that informs the driver how much power is available and how much is being used at any given moment.
Volvo’s “Sensus” telematics system uses a seven-inch color monitor to facilitate interfacing with audio system, navigation system and a variety of other functions. There is also a touchscreen version of it called “Sensus Touch”. Offered as an accessory, it enables the XC60 to be connected to the Internet and features a host of pre-loaded applications. These include Internet music streaming and Internet radio, Google maps, integrated navigation, and an app store for new function upgrades.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Comfort And Cargo
There are few automotive conveyances known to humankind capable of besting a Volvo when it comes to seating comfort. Further, the ergonomics of a Volvo interior are designed specifically with maximum utility and minimum time away from the road for the driver’s eyes. To say the layout is intuitive is to practice a highly advanced form of understatement. Long story short, Volvo’s got interior design down to a science—literally.
The XC60’s passenger compartment is spacious, pleasantly decorated, and filled with really thoughtful touches like the optional integrated child safety booster seat. The two-tone upholstery brightens the compartment considerably, and the driving position is excellent. All of the controls are at the driver’s fingertips and there is more than ample storage throughout the passenger compartment.
The thin-panel center stack is good looking and has the added advantage of freeing up additional storage space behind it. Each of the four doors harbors storage, and there are map pockets (even though hardly anyone uses maps anymore) in the back of the front seats. The glovebox offers adequate hidden storage, even with the owner’s manual in place. The center console also houses a deep and useful well beneath the center armrest.
The split folding rear seat back offers tremendous versatility, and the XC60 boasts some 67 cubic feet of storage with the seat completely folded.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Safety Technology
When it comes to safety—good Lord, Volvo goes into overdrive; in addition to the usual spate of disc brakes, ABS, traction control, stability control, rollover protection, airbags, and sophisticated alarm systems, in this case one capable of warning you if somebody has broken into the car and is waiting for you; the 2014 Volvo XC60 boasts cutting edge safety advancements such as City Safety.
This driver support system is designed to prevent, or at the very least, mitigate the damage inflicted by collisions at speeds of 31 mph or less. Depending upon how fast the XC60 is traveling when a potential incident is detected, City Safety will either pre-charge the brakes to help the driver stop more quickly, or automatically brake the XC60 to help avoid a rear-end collision or lessen its impact.
Volvo’s new Blind Spot Information System Package includes front and rear park assist, Cross Traffic Alert, and a Lane Change Merge Aid. All of these systems are designed to warn of the proximity of other vehicles—enabling you to execute maneuvers in traffic more confidently.
The Volvo also features Pedestrian Protection to help prevent incidents involving people on foot. The system now incorporates Cyclist Detection to look out for bicycles. The Full Auto Brake function incorporated into these features is capable of stopping the car completely if a collision is determined to be imminent.
Volvo’s Active High Beam function automatically switches the headlights to low beam when opposite traffic is detected, and the Road Sign Information system displays traffic speed signs for the driver on the instrument cluster. There is also a Forward Looking Camera and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist to stop the XC60 completely should traffic in its path come to a stop. This also incorporates Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake. The XC60 can also be equipped Distance Alert (to warn you if you’re getting too close to other vehicles), Driver Alert Control (to help the Volvo sense you getting drowsy), and Lane Departure Warning.
In NHTSA crash tests, the XC60 earned a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, including frontal impact and side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also awarded the XC60 its highest score of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact, and roof strength tests.
In other words, if you manage to hit something with a Volvo XC60, odds are, you will still be around to tell people about it.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Engines And Fuel Economy
Three engine options are available to power the 2014 Volvo XC60. As its nomenclature implies, the base engine is a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder, producing 240 horsepower and 236 ft-lbs of torque. This makes Volvo and BMW two of the last remaining mainstream manufacturers still using ultra-smooth running inline six-cylinder engines. Other manufacturers have gone to V6 powerplants for packaging considerations.
The normally aspirated 3.2-liter V6 is offered with front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 25 on the highway and 20 combined.
Our test vehicle, the XC60 T6 AWD model, uses a turbocharged inline six displacing 3.0-liters and producing 300 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs of torque. All-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic complete this powertrain. Fuel economy is 17 miles per gallon in the city, 24 on the highway, and 20 combined.
A few choice tweaks get 325 horsepower and 354 ft-lbs of torque out of this same powertrain for R-Design XC60 models. Remarkably, fuel economy remains the same as the XC60 T6 AWD.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions
The power delivery of Volvo’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder fitted to our test car was smooth and free flowing. Further, you’d actually have look to see if the engine is turbocharged. Rather than an artificially aspirated engine, the 3.0-liter turbo six felt more like a large displacement powerplant than something with a turbo. The engine’s output was delivered with seamless perfection.
The six-speed automatic transmission functions crisply, delivering precise downshifts when required and permitting manual control when desired. Top speed is limited to 130 miles per hour.
Even though the XC60 is an SUV, it drives more like a sports sedan than anything based on a truck. The Volvo displays excellent balance with a bias towards understeer when its limits are approached. Body roll in the corners is minimal, and stability over uneven surfaces is quite good. Steering is accurate—if somewhat lacking in road feel.
Still, the 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD is a ride you’ll absolutely feel is on your side, regardless of the situation. Braking is outstanding and the Volvo’s stability is absolutely reassuring. This is a car you can drive over very long distances at elevated speeds, experiencing very little fatigue.
That said, we did find a bit more road noise creeping into the cabin that we expected. Nothing seriously annoying mind you, just a bit more tire roar than the nature of the XC60 would lead one to expect.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts
The phrase “boxy but good” hasn’t applied to Volvo for some time now. In fact, were it not for gray-haired people, I imagine most folks would by now not even recall the fact Volvos used to be so, well, clunky. Recognizing this fact, we’ll stop dwelling on the past and focus on the present state of Volvo.
While the company has yet to build anything we’d call truly exciting, it does have some very interesting offerings on its dealer’s lots today. On the whole, Volvos are good-looking cars with cutting edge safety features and more than adequate performance potential. In fact, today’s Volvos are just as much fun to drive as they are safety conscious. When you think about it, that’s a really nice combination.
Long story short; it wouldn’t break this writer’s heart to see his daughter come home with one.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Road Test & Review: Pros And Cons
Stylish exterior and interior treatments, adequately powerful engines, and an outstanding reputation for safety…
Base engine a little underpowered, fuel economy could be better…