By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
San Jose – When we reviewed the 2015.5 Volvo XC60 two years ago we talked about how the company had “gone through a series of difficulties and ownership changes in recent years, but indications are it’s headed in the right direction thanks to support from the new owner (2010) Chinese automaker Geely.” That certainly seems to be the case.
Since that time, Volvo has introduced new products and technologies that consumers and critics have had favorable responses to, and sales have continued to climb.
The most successful of the Volvo lineup has been the Volvo XC60 which makes up about one-third of the company’s total sales. It has been one of our favorites in the SUV/Crossover category because it’s fun to drive, has a unique stylish design (inside and out), and excellent safety technologies. Parents with younger children will also appreciate the optional child booster seats that flip up, out of the rear seat cushions allowing for a safer seating position without having to deal with moving after-market booster seats.
It had been more than a year since we had driven the latest iteration of the XC60, so we borrowed one on a recent trip to California for our grandson’s high school graduation. We wanted to get a fresh look at the outgoing model before the all-new 2018 model rolls into dealerships later this year.
The 2017 Volvo XC60 still looks great — the styling is crisp and contemporary. The interior is typically Scandinavian – uncluttered and functional along with high quality materials and top-level workmanship. We like the high-tech instrument cluster with a digital display. It has a large tachometer in the center of the pod, with a large digital speedometer in the middle. It makes it easy to check engine speed and vehicle speed in a glance.
The standard XC60 configuration is a front-wheel drive with a 240-hp turbocharged and direct injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The optional power plant, which our test car had, is the T6 with all-wheel drive. The T6 engine is one of the most sophisticated and advanced four-cylinder engines ever built. The 2.0-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine is both supercharged and turbocharged, taking advantage of both pressurization technologies to maximize the power through the full range of engine speeds. Often high-power four-cylinder engines are rough, but this one is smooth, quiet, and powerful. Volvo lists a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph.
The transmission for the new Drive-E engines is an eight-speed Geartronic driver adaptive automatic with Sport Mode. When the Sport Mode is selected or when using paddle shifters, software mapping improves first to second gear change times up to 50 percent and by 20-30 percent on third to sixth gears.
Volvo has the reputation of being obsessed with safety and the 2017 XC60 maintains that attitude with standard features like rear park assist camera, blind spot information, lane change merge aid, rear parking sensors, roll stability control and corner traction control on all models. Other features we think are also important are included in option packages. They include adaptive cruise control, collision warning, Xenon Headlights, and the Pedestrian & Cyclist Detection system with full auto brake along with several other important safety features.
Anyone who has driven a car with a speed limit indicator has probably become hooked on to having that information on the navigation screen, instrument panel or head-up display (or in multiple areas. Most of these speed limit systems rely on the map data base to indicate the speed limits. In contrast, the Volvo system uses a camera to read speed limit signs so it is accurate even when driving through areas with temporary speed limits.
The XC60 is enjoyable to drive, with a solid precise feel. If we had any complaint it would be the car feels a little heavy and it is, tipping the scale at more than 4,200 pounds and it doesn’t feel quite as agile as some competitors which include some of the big names like Porsche Macan, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.
The 2017 Volvo XC60 is available in three trim levels: Dynamic, Inscription and R-Design. Prices start at $41,945, including the destination charge, for the FWD Dynamic model. The XC60 T6 AWD Inscription starts at $47,345 and peaks at just over $56,000 with all the available options. Volvo also offers a comprehensive list of aftermarket style accessories to personalize the car for carrying animals and recreation equipment. The R-Design, which has a base price of $51,995, uses the same basic mechanicals as the other models with the T6 AWD but adds sportier design elements.
With an all new model on the way, this is an excellent time to save big on a 2017 Volvo XC60, we noticed several big discounts.