This is one of the safest SUVs you can buy, and like Volvos have for well over a decade, the 2015 XC60 blends safety, practicality, and style in equal measure. There are lots of different engines, model series, and trim levels from which to select, ranging in price from $36,675 for a base model to nearly $59,000 with all the extras.
Shown here is the 2015 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E equipped with the optional Sport Package, which includes these 20-inch Titania-design aluminum wheels. This is a stylish SUV, one displaying traditional Volvo design traits, though my preference is the R-Design model for its unique visual details.
There’s nothing overtly luxurious about my test vehicle’s interior, though Volvo does use quality materials in most respects. If you’re seeking something plush, get a 2015 XC60 equipped with the optional Inscription Package, which includes premium leather, real wood and aluminum trim, and other upgrades.
The Volvo XC60’s front seats are comfortable, but comfort is about more than just seat design. In my opinion, the relationship of the seats to the steering wheel, the door panels, and to the controls isn’t quite right, no matter how much I adjust the driver’s seat.
Though legroom is a little tight, the Volvo XC60’s rear seat is quite comfortable. The seat cushions coddle their occupants, foot room is generous, and the front seatbacks are padded to be kinder to knees and shins. Plus, a panoramic sunroof makes the XC60’s back seat feel roomier than it is.
Cargo space behind the rear seats measures 30.8 cu.-ft. Fold the seats down to maximize cargo volume and stuff the SUV full with 67.4 cu.-ft. of your belongings. Skiers will appreciate the 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, which allows the XC60 to carry four people and skis for a trip to the mountains.
Four different engines are offered for the 2015 XC60, but this big news this year is the introduction of new, more fuel-efficient, Drive-E engines in the front-wheel-drive models. Installed in the XC60 T5 Drive-E, the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder makes 240 horsepower. My XC60 T6 Drive-E had this same engine, but with a supercharger added, and generated 302 horsepower. With this latter engine, the EPA says the XC60 ought to return 25 mpg in combined driving. I got 20.4 mpg.
The Volvo XC60 does not distinguish itself in the quality, dependability, and reliability departments. Consumer Reports expects reliability to be average, based primary on reported problems with the electrical system and the audio system. J.D. Power also finds the XC60 unremarkable in terms of quality and dependability. Therefore, leasing is probably a good idea. That way, you’re covered by the standard 4-year/50,000-mile warranty.
The Volvo XC60 is one of two luxury suvs to get both a 5-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a “Top Safety Pick+” rating with standard equipment by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). So yeah, it’s safe.
In addition to a standard City Safety autonomous braking system designed to help the driver avoid low-speed collisions, the XC60 can be optioned with a long list of safety features including a sophisticated Collision Warning system that includes Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection and Full Auto Brake capability.
A standard Volvo XC60 is not a luxury vehicle. It even lacks dark-tinted rear window glass. At a minimum, plan to spend $39,775 for a T5 Drive-E Premier, which includes the privacy glass plus leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, Keyless Drive technology, adaptive digital Thin Film Transistor instrumentation, and more.
If you’re thinking that a Volvo suv with a starting price tag of more than $36,000 would have a standard reversing camera, guess again. It is optional for all models, included as part of the Premier Plus trim package. To get one, you’re spending a minimum of $41,175 for an XC60.
The Platinum trim package includes a navigation system and a premium sound system. It is easy enough to program the navigation system, but the sound system serves as a constant source of frustration. I like to drive with the navigation map showing, but every time I wanted to switch radio stations I forgot that I first needed to push the Radio button and then use the pre-set buttons or tuning knob. Arrrgh!
Order the optional Technology Package, and the XC60 includes a Road Sign Information system that displays the speed limit right on the speedometer. Here, I’m driving down a freeway with a 65-mph limit, but the Road Sign Information system shows 45 mph on the speedometer because that’s the limit on the adjacent frontage road.
Safe, stylish, and undeniably Swedish, the 2015 Volvo XC60 is appealing in many ways. There is work to be done, though, especially with regard to driving dynamics, control layout and operation, and smarter packaging that provides a better value equation.
Volvo provided the 2015 XC60 for this photo gallery
2015 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E photos by Christian Wardlaw