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2013 Volvo XC60 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Volvo XC60 was new.


Performance: 8.1

Reviewers agree that the optional turbocharged engine in 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 models is significantly stronger than the base engine and provides ample power for passing and merging at highway speeds. Regardless of the model you choose, some reviewers think there’s no escaping the XC60’s body roll, understeer and bumpy ride.

  • "The 2013 Volvo XC60's impressive blend of performance and comfort should satisfy the majority of shoppers looking for a small luxury crossover." -- Edmunds
  • "XC60's balance of power, handling, and comfort make it a great pick for those who desire something small, yet upscale." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The base Volvo XC60 has a 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower. T6 and T6 R-Design models have a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that’s more powerful than the base model. With this engine, T6 models produce 300 horsepower, while T6 R-Design models produce 325 horsepower. All trims have a six-speed automatic transmission, though T6 models have a sport mode. All-wheel drive is optional on the base trim and standard on T6 trims. The base XC60 averages 19/25 mpg city/highway, while models with the 3.0-liter engine and all-wheel drive average 17/23 mpg, according to the EPA.

With a higher horsepower rating than the base engine, many auto critics prefer the optional turbocharged engine. They think that its power delivery is smooth, that it’s significantly faster compared with the base engine and that it reaches highway passing speeds with ease. Although the turbocharged engine is the obvious reviewer favorite, one reviewer mentions that the base engine is still strong and accelerates well. All models have a six-speed automatic transmission, and test drivers say it is smooth.

  • "Thanks to its engine's smooth and energetic power delivery, the T6 is our preferred model. In R-Design tune, the T6 is quicker than almost every other compact luxury crossover. Models with the base 3.2-liter engine are noticeably slower." -- Edmunds
  • "The base, 240-horsepower 6-cylinder engine has enough oomph to get the Volvo SUV up to speed adequately, clocking a 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds. Moving up to the turbocharged inline-6, however, provides a much more rewarding experience. With a 0-60 mph time of just 6.9 seconds, this version of the XC60 feels downright quick, effortlessly getting up to speed on freeways or passing slower vehicles." -- Kelley Blue Book (2012)
  • "The transmission shifts smoothly but occasionally hunts for the right gear when driving on hilly terrain." -- Consumer Guide (T6, 2012)
  • "The crossover quickly gets up to speed, and throttle response is quick - the XC60 is fast, yet power delivery was smoother than expected from this turbo engine. The transmission is wonderfully smooth, whether in Drive or Manual mode." -- Motor Trend (T6 R-Design, 2011)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say the XC60 is quiet and comfortable, but there are several complaints that the XC60 suffers from understeer and a bumpy ride. Auto critics find that in particular, the T6 and T6 R-Design models have a harsher ride compared with the base model. Few reviewers comment on the XC60’s brakes, but those who do say they are strong.

  • "On the highway, the XC60 is quiet and stable. It also has one of the most comfortable rides in its class. Although this makes it feel a little soft when going around corners, the XC60 nevertheless remains poised even when rushed." -- Edmunds
  • "The downside of the turbo, though, is that its improved dynamics can come at the expense of harsher ride quality." -- Kelley Blue Book (T6, 2012)
  • "XC60 is generally comfortable and controlled, with no hint of float or wallow. Some testers find that larger bumps register sharply through the cabin. Some body lean is apparent in fast cornering, but it hustles around curves with car-like assurance." -- Consumer Guide (T6, 2012)
  • "Should that red paint and sporty interior begin to make you think you're driving a corner-carver, be prepared to meet some substantial understeer when you start sawing on the wheel. There's just no fighting physics." -- Autoblog (T6 R-Design, 2011)
  • "The chassis is set up to minimize body roll, the steering is precise, and the braking performance is quite good." -- Automobile Magazine (2009)

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