The redesigned Volvo XC60 T6 scoots to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and hangs on to a cloverleaf at a very carlike 0.87 g, but it’s not built for those feats. A less expensive, base-engine BMW X3 will easily keep up while a similarly priced Porsche Macan S will embarrass the Volvo on a winding two-lane. Buying an XC60 for its performance is like purchasing a Rolex for the way it keeps time. No, you get the XC60 to salve the right part of your brain: You buy it for its quiet, comfortable, and all-around stunning interior.
That Volvo can produce a six-figure-worthy interior in a $63,290 compact SUV and still have the money to keep the lights on is a modern mystery. Our theory is that Volvo’s switch to a single engine block across its entire lineup saved enough development dollars to heavily pad the interior coffers. It’s a strategy not without compromise, however.
The engine, of course, is a 2.0-liter inline-four. In T6 guise, it wears both a turbocharger and a supercharger to produce 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A sporting engine this is not, and it lacks the eccentric character of the inline-fives and -sixes that once formed the uniquely Norse personality of the brand. Run it to the forced shift at 6300 rpm and there is little to inspire, both in the sounds it makes and the feelings it elicits. All-wheel drive is standard, and the eight-speed transaxle shifts with competence across the rev range, but as there are no paddles, manual shifts must be executed using the gear selector. Steering and brake feel are unremarkable, even if their feedback is perfectly matched to the XC60’s relaxed mission. If you have to hustle, the $1800 air springs and adaptive dampers do a more than adequate job of keeping body motions in check. And despite 20-inch wheels (standard on Inscription T6 models), the ride is smooth.
Most of the day-to-day controls are accessible through the central touchscreen, but on a cold morning, it’s slow to respond until the cabin warms. Also, screen icons for specific tasks, such as deactivating the aggressive stop-start system, aren’t easily discoverable amid the menus. Dedicated buttons for important ancillary functions would improve the situation. Fortunately, the three-stage heated seats and heated steering wheel automatically fire up when it’s cold outside.
Our car was fitted with $13,595 in options, but the only must-have is the $3000 Luxury Seat package. Sliding into the XC60’s 12-way adjustable thrones reminds us of our first sprawl in an Arne Jacobsen lounge chair, which is to say we were perfectly supported—a feeling that is worth every penny.