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2021 Volvo XC60 Review

The 2021 Volvo XC60 finishes in the top half of our luxury compact SUV rankings. It's stylish and comfortable, though it isn't quite as athletic as some class rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful, feature-packed interior
  • Outstanding seat comfort
  • Cushioned ride
  • Large cargo hold
  • Less fun to drive than some competitors

New for 2021

  • Models with T8 plug-in-hybrid powertrain now called Recharge
  • More standard driver assistance features
  • Some feature shuffling between trims

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.2
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.9 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Volvo XC60 a Good SUV?

Yes, the Volvo XC60 is a good SUV. It offers three capable powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid, and it gets good gas mileage while providing a comfortable ride. The interior is arguably the finest in the class, with plush, spacious seats, ample cargo space, and plenty of features.

Why You Can Trust Us: 24 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This 2021 XC60 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

Should I Buy the Volvo XC60?

The XC60 is a great entry in the luxury compact SUV class, and it should be one of your top considerations when looking for a small luxury crossover, especially if you don't care much about handling agility.

Find a 2021 Volvo XC60 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Volvo XC60: What's the Difference?

The 2021 Volvo XC60 doesn't see a ton of changes. Plug-in-hybrid models are now known as XC60 Recharge models, and more driver assistance features – including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors – now come standard. Otherwise, the 2021 XC60 is pretty similar to the 2020 model.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 XC60 »

Here are the key changes for the Volvo XC60 over the last few years:

  • 2017: revised trim levels; five-cylinder engine discontinued
  • 2018: fully redesigned with newly available T8 plug-in-hybrid model, more passenger space, and standard Sensus infotainment system
  • 2019: added front-wheel-drive base model; heated front seats (AWD models only) and drive modes became standard; synthetic leather upholstery added to standard features list
  • 2020: high-performance Polestar model debuted; slight range increase for T8 hybrid powertrain
  • 2021: models with T8 plug-in-hybrid powertrain now called Recharge; more driver assistance features now standard

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 XC60, 2019 XC60, and 2020 XC60 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Volvo XC60 Cost?

The XC60 carries a starting MSRP of $41,700. That's a few thousand dollars more than the base price of many other luxury compact SUVs. The most expensive nonhybrid XC60 is the Inscription trim. It has a starting price of $49,200, which is reasonable for a top trim in this class.

XC60 Recharge models, which are plug-in-hybrid versions of this Volvo, have a base price of $53,500. The XC60 Polestar Engineered features the T8 powertrain and is the most expensive trim in the lineup, starting at $70,145.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volvo deals page.

Volvo XC60 Versus the Competition

Volvo XC60 vs. Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 is a highly ranked luxury compact SUV, just like the XC60. The German crossover handles better than the XC60 while still riding smoothly. Both vehicles have first-rate interiors with top-notch build quality and lots of cargo space. Both are a good buy, though the XC60 comes with more standard safety features.

Compare the XC60 and Audi Q5 »

Volvo XC60 vs. Volvo XC40

The Volvo XC40 is a luxury subcompact SUV, and it's the smallest crossover in Volvo's lineup. It costs much less than the XC60, and it has fewer features and less cargo space. However, it still has two rows of adult-friendly seats and a premium interior, and it delivers a comfortable ride while getting good gas mileage.

Compare the XC60 and XC40 »

Compare the XC60, Q5, and XC40 »

XC60 Interior: All That and a Bag of Lingonberries

XC60 Cargo Space

Only a handful of class rivals give you more storage space than the XC60. It provides 22.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 63.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

How Many People Does the XC60 Seat?

The XC60 seats five people, and it does so in incredible style. Both rows of seats are spacious and provide plenty of room for adult passengers. Even better, they're arguably the most comfortable seats in the class.

XC60 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

XC60 Interior Quality

Simply put, the XC60 features one of the finest interiors of any small luxury crossover. It's handsome and stylish, and there are top-notch materials throughout.

XC60 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Sensus infotainment system is fairly intuitive. The vertically oriented touch screen is easy to read, and it responds quickly to inputs. The only downside is that the touch screen controls almost every function, so adjusting some settings takes multiple steps. This can be a hassle while you're on the move.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 9-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a 10-speaker audio system
  • Available infotainment features: wireless device charging, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, and navigation
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control and a panoramic sunroof
  • Other available features: quad-zone automatic climate control and proximity keyless entry

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

XC60 Performance: A Capable, Comfortable Cruiser

XC60 Engine

There are three powertrain options in the XC60. The base T5 is a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The T6 is a 316-horsepower turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder engine. The T8 is a plug-in hybrid with a turbo-four engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 400 horsepower (415 in Polestar-engineered models). All are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The T5 delivers pretty good acceleration and has ample power, but the stronger available engines make this Volvo quicker. The T6 is the powertrain most people will want, as it's noticeably more potent than the T5. The T8 delivers the best acceleration of the three, but it's also the priciest powertrain, so it may not be worth the money to you.

XC60 Gas Mileage

With the T5 and front-wheel drive, the XC60 gets 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, which are typical ratings for the luxury compact SUV class. Ratings drop by about 1 mpg if you opt for all-wheel drive. With the T6 powertrain, which also has all-wheel drive, the XC60 gets 20/27 mpg city/highway.

Models with the T8 powertrain are the most fuel-efficient; with it equipped, the XC60 gets 57 MPG-equivalent under electric power and 27 mpg in combined city/highway driving using gasoline power.

For more information, read What is MPGe?

XC60 Ride and Handling

This small crossover prioritizes comfort, and it isn't as fun to drive as rivals like the BMW X3 or Porsche Macan. Still, the XC60 feels poised around turns. The ride is supple, and most road imperfections get absorbed with ease.

XC60 Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the XC60 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

XC60 Reliability

Is the Volvo XC60 Reliable?

The 2021 XC60 has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Volvo XC60 Warranty

Volvo covers the XC60 with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

XC60 Safety

XC60 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Volvo XC60 an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 XC60.

XC60 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Run-off road mitigation and protection
  • Driver drowsiness monitoring
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear collision warning with braking
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Care Key (a key with programmable parameters for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist
  • Front parking sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Distance alert
  • Head-up display
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Pilot Assist (controls your speed relative to other vehicles around you and provides steering input to keep you centered in your lane)

Read more about safety »

XC60 Dimensions and Weight

The XC60 is 15.4 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,003 to 4,751 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Volvo XC60 Built?

Volvo builds the 2021 XC60 in Sweden.

Which Volvo XC60 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Volvo XC60 comes in four trims: Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and Polestar Engineered. There are also three powertrains: the base T5 (a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine), the T6 (a 316-horsepower turbo- and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine), and the T8 plug-in hybrid (a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 400 horsepower).

The T5 is the only engine that comes with front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is optional with this engine and standard with the T6 and T8). An eight-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox choice, regardless of which engine you want.

The base XC60 Momentum trim comes well-equipped and features plenty of infotainment and driver assistance technology. It also boasts a comfortable, premium interior, making it an excellent value. You'll likely want to upgrade to the T6 powertrain, however, which provides a more satisfying driving experience than the T5.

Notably, a federal tax credit may be available for buyers of XC60s with the T8 plug-in-hybrid powertrain.

Volvo XC60 Momentum

The XC60 Momentum carries a starting price of $41,700. It comes standard with the T5 powertrain and front-wheel drive.

Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, and the Sensus infotainment system with a vertically oriented 9-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a 10-speaker audio system.

Standard driver assistance features include Care Key, run-off road mitigation and protection, driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear collision warning with braking, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera.

You can add all-wheel drive for $2,300 or you can upgrade to the T6 powertrain (which adds AWD as well) for $5,800. The Momentum is the only trim not offered with the T8 powertrain.

The Advanced package ($2,100) adds wireless device charging, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and a surround-view parking camera system. The Premium package ($1,700) includes front parking sensors and navigation. You can also add a Harman Kardon audio system for $800.

In addition to the packages listed above, T5 AWD and T6 models offer the Climate package ($750), which adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

Volvo XC60 R-Design

The XC60 R-Design starts at $47,850. This trim has a sportier appearance, with unique styling elements such as a special grille and wheels, cloth and leather upholstery and front sport seats, and R-Design badging.

In addition to the base trim's features, the R-Design comes with quad-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, front parking sensors, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and navigation. You can add all-wheel drive for $2,300, or you can upgrade to the T6 powertrain (which adds AWD as well) for $5,800.

The Advanced package ($1,900) adds wireless device charging, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and a surround-view parking camera system. The Climate 2 package ($750) adds a heated steering wheel. You can add some features individually, including parallel and perpendicular park assist ($200), an air suspension ($1,800), and a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system ($3,200).

The R-Design Recharge, which features the plug-in-hybrid T8 powertrain, starts at $59,650. It has the same standard and available features as other R-Design models.

Volvo XC60 Inscription

The XC60 Inscription has a starting price of $49,200. The Inscription's feature list is nearly identical to the R-Design’s, but the Inscription swaps out some of the sport-oriented aspects for more premium luxury touches such as Nappa leather upholstery and wood trim.

You can add all-wheel drive for $2,300, or you can upgrade to the T6 powertrain (which adds AWD as well) for $5,800. The Inscription offers the same packages and options as the R-Design trim.

There are two Inscription Recharge trims. The Inscription Expression Recharge starts at $53,500, while the full Inscription Recharge starts at $61,000. The Inscription Recharge has the same standard and available features as the T5 and T6 Inscription models.

The Inscription Expression is sort of like a light version of the trim, with some features downgrades such as dual-zone automatic climate control instead of quad-zone and a 10-speaker stereo instead of the Harman Kardon stereo. The Inscription Expression has the same optional features as the base Momentum trim.

Volvo XC60 Polestar Engineered

The XC60 Polestar Engineered starts at $70,145. This trim only comes with the T8 plug-in-hybrid powertrain, and this model offers an additional 15 horsepower (it also makes 494 pound-feet of torque instead of 495). The Polestar also comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, a Bowers & Wilkins audio system, and wireless device charging.

There are no notable option packages with the Polestar Engineered.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volvo deals page.

See 2021 Volvo XC60 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Volvo XC60 ranks in the top half of the luxury compact SUV class, and it could claim one of the top places if it were a little more fun to drive. That said, it does just about everything else incredibly well. It has a posh interior, comfortable seats, and lots of technology. This is an excellent choice for small luxury crossover shoppers.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "We love what Volvo has done with the new XC60 even if it doesn't actually impress us from a dynamic standpoint. But it doesn't have to, because the majority of people buying this vehicle aren't often focused on dynamics first. User-friendly interfaces and driver aids make it easy to log miles, but it's not the car you'd choose first for a windy mountain road. That said, the design is strikingly good-looking." -- Edmunds (2020)
  • "This 2-row/5-passenger compact-luxury SUV is an alluring alternative to rivals such as the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5 and Acura RDX thanks to its sensual design, strong roster of standard features, and variety of sophisticated powertrains. … Volvo is known for being at the vanguard of safety, and the XC60 carries that mantra with a standard suite of accident-avoidance features." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "Indeed, you get an awful lot of car for your money in the 2018 XC60. … But no matter the dollars and sense, the XC60 should definitely be considered. … It has the equipment, space, quality and safety to be considered a smart buy, along with the style and character to make it an impulse one. Just don't expect many surprises." -- Autoblog (2018)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 16, 2020

Dipping Demand: So far this year, dealerships have sold 7.7 percent fewer XC60s compared to the same period in 2019. While it’s selling in the middle of the luxury compact SUV class, segment leaders like the BMW X3 and the Acura RDX are still outselling the XC60 nearly 2 to 1. 

Research more buying advice »
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