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2019 Volvo XC60

$39,800 - $52,950
Price Range (MSRP)
Volvo XC60

2019 Volvo XC60 Test Drive Review: A Beautifully Crafted Compact Crossover Experience

by Ian Wright

Volvo has been putting its own distinct spin on the compact crossover in order to compete with the ingrained premium brands for a while now. It's a sophisticated take with safety, style, and technology at its core. The XC60 is no exception as Volvo has managed to take the much larger XC90 and shrink it without losing too much volume in the right places. The basic ingredients are a spacious interior for its class, a premium look and feel inside and out, overriding attention to safety, and a healthy list of standard and optional features.

When it comes to Volvo interiors, the word minimalism gets thrown around too much. However, the current crop of Volvo interiors is an exercise in minimizing clutter and distraction while keeping things functional and stylish.

The technology reaches under the hood with all of Volvo's models being powered by a variation of its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines. For the most powerful gas option, rather than shift up to a 6-cylinder power plant, Volvo has instead opted to use turbocharging and supercharging together to make comparable power outputs.

Read in this review:

2019 Volvo XC60 Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 XC60?

The second-generation Volvo XC60 is already an impressive machine that offers luxury and performance and for 2019 Volvo has made sure to keep the pressure mounted on the opposition by introducing even more optional packages and small interior updates. For 2019 the base model gets heated seats and windshield wipers as standard as well a 12V power outlet in the rear of the car. The mid-level R-Design and Inscription models up the ante with standard blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry, parking assistance, and powered head restraints. Optional packages have been renamed and slightly reshuffled; new owners will now be able to select from Premium, Multimedia, and Advanced packages.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros:
  • Premium interior
  • Lots of additional options
  • Engine choices broaden the appeal
  • It's safe as houses
  • Cons:
  • Blunted driving experience
  • Usable cargo space shrinks
  • Road noise more prevalent than competitors
  • Engines sound coarse and unrefined

XC60 Exterior

The XC range of SUVs manages to blend modern masculine looks with classic Swedish elegance. The Scandinavian automaker is renowned for its clean designs that manage to look graceful and striking all at once. The profile of the 2019 XC60 looks good from any angle; a rising window line ends off with a sharp tailgate, and the wheel arches are filled up with large alloy wheels that give the XC60 notable presence on the road. Standard exterior features include a panoramic moonroof, sleek chrome-tipped exhaust outlets, LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and Volvo's signature Hammer of Thor LED daytime running lights. The R-design trim package we tested adds larger wheels, matte finish side mirrors and tweaks the front of the car to include a sportier-looking intake and gloss black grille. The Inscription range pushes the XC60's luxury agenda even further with small exterior touches such as illuminated door handles and a hands-free tailgate.

2019 Volvo XC60 Side View CarBuzz
2019 Volvo XC60 Side View CarBuzz
2019 Volvo XC60 Rear Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2019 Volvo XC60 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The midsize five-seater XC60 is comparable in proportions to its main competitors, the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, both in terms of dimensions and weight. The Swedish crossover SUV is 65.3 inches tall, matching the Q3, and is 74.9 inches wide. Its 112.8-inch wheelbase mirrors that of the BMW X3. At 4,199 pounds, the XC60 is over 100 pounds heavier than both its German rivals, but it's not noticeable on the road. The XC60 isn't marketed as a serious off roader, but with a ground clearance of 8.5 inches the Volvo will be more capable than the Audi Q3 or BMW X3 at taking on the dirt, but in the real world that extra bit of height will come in handy when climbing pavements.

Exterior Colors

Gone are the days of beige Volvo station wagons piloted by accounting teachers and dental assistants; Volvo has updated its color range in recent years to include more than dark blue and off white, and for 2019 new owners have the choice of eight individual colors that can turn the XC60 into a suburban friendly soccer car, or blacked out hip-hop taxi. The 2019 XC60 is available in Fusion Red Metallic, Metallic Osmium Gray, Ice White Crystal, Onyx Black Metallic, White Metallic, Bright Silver Metallic, Denim Blue Metallic, and Pine Gray Metallic. The muscular lines of the XC60 lend itself well to darker colors, with Osmium Grey Metallic and Pine Gray Metallic being standout choices. The Fusion Red Metallic is an excellent choice for people who prefer a bit more flash.

  • Crystal White Pearl Metallic
  • Bright Silver Metallic
  • Osmium Grey Metallic
  • Onyx Black Metallic
  • Denim Blue Metallic
  • Pine Grey Metallic
  • Fusion Red Metallic
  • Bursting Blue Metallic
  • Ice White

XC60 Performance

Performance from the XC60 ranges from perky to punchy, depending on the choice of drivetrain configuration. There are two engine choices on offer, and you can have the XC60 in either front-wheel-drive, a new offering that will appeal to drivers living in the sunnier parts of the country, or all-wheel-drive for the rest who have to deal with heavy snow and slippery conditions. The T6 badged XC60 is capable of sprinting to sixty in 5.6 seconds to give an idea of its potential performance - an acceptable figure but lagging some way behind the most potent six-cylinder offerings from Mercedes-Benz or BMW.

2019 Volvo XC60 Front View CarBuzz
2019 Volvo XC60 Engine Bay CarBuzz
2019 Volvo XC60 Rear View CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

For 2019, there are two gas-only engine options available. A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine that produces 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque is the only engine available in either front- or all-wheel drive. The more powerful option is a turbocharged and supercharged version of the same engine that now produces a more serious 316 hp and 295 lb-ft. Both engines are mated to an Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0-liter Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Volvo has found a very nice balance in the suspension that keeps the XC60 level when fooling around and giving a smooth and comfortable ride when being as sensible as a Volvo driver should be. The steering is light and reactive to make driving in a brisk and businesslike fashion a smooth affair. The light steering also comes into its own in the parking lot, although when out on the open road things start to feel a little numb. That's not a big deal though for a car that's target market isn't the speed enthusiasts and, on balance, the steering suits the chassis remarkably well.

The base T5 engine is uninspired and best described as adequate. It's perfectly serviceable around town and out on the freeway but lacks the effortless power expected to come with a premium vehicle. Our tester arrived in T6 spec fitted with the turbocharged and supercharged engine making the kind of punchy power the XC60 deserves. However, while making the torque we want to get us up to speed, the engine does lack the refinement we would usually expect. It's also thirstier than we would like for a four-cylinder, but we'll come to that.

Where Volvo gets points back is with the drivetrain and how transparent it is when driving. On top of it being smooth and effortless, it helps the engine become peppy and enthusiastic when the need arises.

XC60 Gas Mileage

It should be noted at the start that the Volvo XC60 is a 4,000+ pound SUV, and depending on the drivetrain configuration, fuel consumption figures will vary. The base model in FWD guise will return numbers of 22/29/24 mpg city/highway/combined, the best of the bunch. That number matches the Q3 2.0T Premium Quattro, but the X3 comes out on top with 25/29/27 mpg. At the other end of the spectrum, the top of the line T6 AWD with its more powerful engine sees the numbers take a dip; you can expect to get 19/27/22 mpg, making it the thirstier than both the Q5 and X3. The XC60 comes with a sizeable 18.5-gallon fuel tank that should be good for an estimated range of 425 miles.

Our real-world mileage ended up a little lower than the EPA estimate with only 20.3 mpg combined, although it should be noted we enjoyed driving the XC60 to the point we forgot to go into true economy mode. With that in mind, the 22 mpg does appear to be attainable.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2019 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum FWD

XC60 Interior

The interior design of the 2019 XC60 mirrors the exterior in that it uses clean and contemporary styling to make a statement of premium quality and tastefulness. For 2019, standard features on the XC60 include heated and power-adjustable front seats, aluminum alloy inserts, door plates, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The design is typically Swedish in its aesthetic simplicity, centered around a large portrait-orientated infotainment screen, but it also brings an element of warmth to a segment dominated by German design erring on the side of function.

2019 Volvo XC60 fro CarBuzz
2019 Volvo XC60 Steering Wheel CarBuzz
2019 Volvo XC60 Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz
See All 2019 Volvo XC60 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

There's very little to fault with Volvo's interiors these days. Both front and rear passengers have a little more space then you would expect from looking at the XC60 from the outside. Overall styling and materials are in line with more expensive Volvos and a real treat for the segment. Everything flows through the interior and makes sense, including the portrait infotainment display. There's thought in the small details too, and our favorite is the storage slots under the rear passenger seats that can easily hold most tablet computers.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The XC60 R-Type we were provided for testing came with the black R-Design leather and Nubuck sports seats that detracted from the overall Volvoness of the interior. While these are great sports seats, it is overkill for the vehicle. We much prefer the XC60 with one of the lighter and more style-driven interiors available and let the racier crossovers play at being a race car.

Overall, the materials Volvo is using are up there with its competitors. Black standard leather upholstery is available but we prefer the lighter and airier feel in the cabin of the pale Blond color. That will show dirt quicker than other colors, but darker Amber leather and even darker Maroon Brown also suit the rest of the interior well.

XC60 Trunk and Cargo Space

The XC60 fits two rows of seating as well as an acceptably sized trunk space within its 112.8-inch wheelbase and does an admirable job of not only creating a good sense of spaciousness for its passengers but also provides a decent amount of trunk space. With the second row of seats in the upright position, the XC60 offers 29.7 cubic feet of space; more than enough room for three Ikea bedside tables. With all the seats up to the first row folded down, the five-seater Volvo offers an impressive 63.3 cubic feet. That should be enough to squeeze in a small sofa should you be moving house. The Audi and BMW provide more space with their rear seats in the upright position, but the Volvo sits at the top in terms of overall space.

Personal storage is taken care of via deep door pockets, an illuminated glove box, and a center console. Rear passengers get smaller door pockets and a fold-out center console with dual cupholders.

2019 Volvo XC60 Trunk Space CarBuzz
2019 Volvo XC60 Taillights CarBuzz
2019 Volvo XC60 Badge CarBuzz

XC60 Infotainment and Features

The standard features list on the base model XC60 is impressive and helps to push Volvo's agenda as an automaker that delivers premium products. From the base model upwards, you can expect to find full LED lighting and a panoramic moonroof, while higher-spec models even get illuminated door handles. On the inside, the base model gets dual-zone automatic climate control which gets upgraded to four-zones in the T5 and T6 models. Seats are upholstered in leather, and front-seat passengers get power-adjustable and heated seats. Over and above the standard features list, every step you take up the trim levels means more comfort and ease of use; the R-Design comes with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with rear-mounted shifter paddles, adding to the overall dynamic appeal of the sports-biased trim package, and the Inscription gets optional Nappa leather seats and active air suspension. Volvo's comprehensive driver assistance features include Pilot Assist adaptive cruise control, as well as City Safety collision mitigation functionality including lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.

Features

When we say the driver assist package is comprehensive, we mean it. It's also communicative about what's going on and when, but not quite to the point of distraction. We're also big fans of the head-up display, although it's keen to let you know in the strongest possible terms when you've breached the speed limit. This can get annoying, as we learned when the system believed a few times that we were in lower speed limited areas than what was actually posted at the side of the road.

Infotainment

Volvo's display makes use of its muted color palette to add style to the function of its upright 9- or 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. The Sensus Connect system is still fluid but faster now after the 2018 software refresh. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are ever-present through the range while the useful navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates is available on Momentum-trimmed base models and standard on all others.

The optional 1,100-watt, 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system is an expensive upgrade, and what an upgrade it is. There isn't a genre we've found yet that doesn't suit the system and, across the Volvo range, we've been trying to find one. While we wouldn't commit to calling it the best system available at the moment, we won't argue too hard with anyone claiming it is.

XC60 Problems and Reliability

The second-generation XC60 has been with us since 2017, and in that time has only been recalled twice. The first recall was issued for 2017 year models due to a malfunction with front and side passenger airbags that fail to deploy in case of an accident. The second recall was for XC60 vehicles produced between 2017 and late 2018. The recall was issued due to a software error that caused the GPS coordinates to display incorrectly. This was a life or death issue, as emergency services could possibly be sent the wrong location in case of a serious accident. There have been no recalls for the 2019 Volvo XC60. The 2019 XC60 is backed by a four-year/50,000 mile basic warranty that includes a 12-year/unlimited corrosion warranty, a four-year/50,000 mile drivetrain warranty, and a three-year/36,000 mile maintenance plan. When you buy a new XC60, you'll also be covered by a four-year roadside assistance plan.

XC60 Safety

Volvo is best known for building safe cars and was the first car manufacturer to introduce the three-point safety belt, a safety feature that can now be found on virtually every vehicle built to transport people. The XC60 remains true to its forebears. The IIHS awarded the 2019 XC60 with its prestigious Top Safety Pick rating. The NHTSA hasn't yet evaluated the current-generation XC60.

Key Safety Features

The 2019 XC60 makes use of Volvo's IntelliSafe road safety package that includes features that would usually be reserved as optional extras on most other cars in this category. For starters, the XC60 gets a city safe collision avoidance system that makes use of support technologies such as steering assistance, which can moderate steering during emergency situations, lane keep assistance that lets you know when it's safe to make your move, and semi-autonomous road signal recognition to aid you in navigating the urban jungle. Other safety features that come standard on all models is oncoming lane warning, driver alert control, and run-off road mitigation. Volvo offers a few semi-autonomous safety technologies as optional extras. These include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and cross-traffic alert. Parking can be made even more hassle-free with the addition of a 360-degree camera with park assist.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Volvo XC60 a good SUV?

None of our minor quibbles detract from the fact the XC60 is a good car, and we would go as far as saying it's a great car. It's a complete package for a sophisticated buyer. While it may not have the sporting chops of BMW's X3 or X5, it's still a fun car when you want it to be. It may not have the badge cache of a Mercedes, but it does have its unique style to give it a different edge. The bottom line is that the Volvo XC60 is a great car and a unique one at that.

What's the Price of the 2019 Volvo XC60?

There are nine variations of the non-hybrid XC60 to choose from, which means potential buyers get a wide range of options, and there should be a variant of the XC60 fit for every budget. The base model T5 Momentum starts off at an MSRP of $40,150 in FWD guise, while the T6 AWD version will cost you $2,300 more. The R-Design is $46,850 in T5 spec and $49,150 in T6 AWD guise. The T6 Momentum is only available in AWD and will set you back $45,950. At the top sits the Inscription range, with the T5 Inscription starting at $49,150. The range tops out with the T6 Inscription AWD which costs $52,650. These prices exclude tax, registration, and a $995 delivery fee. The XC60 offers the most affordable base model when compared to the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, both starting above the $41,000 mark, but the Volvo can get expensive as the options list grows,. Potential buyers should take note that the XC60 can start matching higher class cars for price.

2019 Volvo XC60 Models

The 2019 Volvo XC60 is available in three trim levels, each available with two engine options. The three trims are: Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription.

The Momentum gets things going and as the base model of the XC60 range offers good value for money thanks to an impressive standard-feature list that includes heated front seats, a moonroof and a host of safety tech that puts it near the top of its class. You get full LED lighting on the outside and 10-way power-adjustable seats inside. A nine-inch infotainment display and an eight-inch driver display gives the XC60's interior a futuristic feel.

The R-design is the next step up and will appeal to the driver who's looking for a more stimulating driving experience thanks to a sport-tuned chassis that features a lowered ride height, stiffer suspension damping, and dynamic traction control. On the outside the R-Design gets 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and a range of appearance changes to make the XC60 look even more muscular. The infotainment system is upgraded to now feature a 12.3-inch display with navigation and the seats are upholstered in fine Nappa leather.

The Inscription is aimed at more mature drivers who appreciate the finer touches. As part of this trim package, new owners can expect to find detailed touches such as a custom grille; cornering LED headlights and driftwood door inlays. On the inside, the Inscription features four-zone climate control, comfort seat padding, and adaptive cruise control.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
T5 Momentum
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,800
T6 Momentum
2.0-liter Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$45,600
T5 R-Design
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$46,650
T5 Inscription
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$47,150
T6 R-Design
2.0-liter Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$52,450
See All 2019 Volvo XC60 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Additional options on the XC60 range from additions to the exterior styling all the way to the infotainment system. New owners can select accessories like front and rear aluminum skid plates, dual exhaust pipes, and even body-colored flared wheel arches and 22-inch wheels. Inside, Volvo offers an iPad holder, child seats, and a steel grill that divides the cargo area from the front seats. Available extras for the infotainment system include a 12.3-inch display screen, head-up display, and navigation. The XC60 can be made even more safe with the optional Pilot Assist package that adds adaptive cruise control. Parking becomes a walk in the park when you opt for the 360 surround-view parking camera with extra parking assistance.

What Volvo XC60 Model Should I Buy?

While we appreciate the peppy handling and power from the sportier accouterments on our R-Design Volvo tester, none of it was necessary and we prefer the airier feeling of a regular interior. The T6 Momentum sits right in the sweet spot for value for money and boasts a suite of excellent features and is firmly where we would spend our money. We would also spring for the sound Bowers & Wilkins sound system if it didn't break the budget, and the Pilot Assist package if we knew we would be racking up the highway miles.

For someone getting into their first premium crossover though, there's no shame in snapping up the value for money and cheaper entry point of the base model.

Check out other Volvo XC60 Styles?

2019 Volvo XC60 Comparisons

2019 Volvo XC60
2019 Volvo XC60

2019 Volvo XC60 vs Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 has been around since 2008, and since then has become a firm favorite with well-to-do, family orientated people who like to look good while carting the groceries around. The 2019 model starts off at $42,950 (2.0T Premium quattro AWD), and in its base form offers similar performance to the XC60. Its turbocharged four-pot engine produces 248 hp and a superior 273 lb-ft of torque and matches the Volvo on fuel economy. The Q5 is only available with one engine choice, and as such, the Volvo T6 will trump the Q5 in terms of outright performance, although the SQ5 is a costly way to prove a point in response. The XC60 offers better safety levels and cargo space, but both feel premium and are seriously comfortable. The Volvo ends up offering a more diverse motoring experience, making it our recommended pick.

See Audi Q5 Review

2019 Volvo XC60 vs BMW X3

BMW's X3 combines SUV practicality and an engaging drive in a premium package that has found mass appeal around the world, and there's a good reason for it: Starting at $41,950, the sDrive30i, powered by a turbocharged four delivers 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and gives the X3 enough power to feel spritely in town and relaxed on the open road. It's also light on gas, returning a respectable 27 mpg on a combined cycle. The X3 can't match the Volvo for interior and cargo space but matches it in terms of build quality and interior feel. The BMW offers slightly more standard features but is not as safe. The XC60 should be your choice if you're looking at the practical side of things.

See BMW X3 Review

2019 Volvo XC60 vs Volvo XC90

A little sibling rivalry never hurt anyone, and some buyers may question whether the XC60 or XC90 is the better Volvo SUV to buy. The XC90 is bigger, seating up to seven in three rows, while the XC60 only seats five. The XC90 also offers more interior space, and with more ground clearance and an adaptive air suspension, it can tackle mildly more intimidating off-road tasks, too. But here's the kicker - while German brands pile all their tech into their range-topping models offering cut-price alternatives at a lower price point, Volvo has gifted the XC60 with all the same safety and convenience tech as the larger XC90. For $8,000 less, that makes the XC60 a tech and safety bargain, but the XC90 does boast more space and greater levels of comfort, making it a more comfortable family hauler.

See Volvo XC90 Review

Volvo XC60 Popular Comparisons

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