$22,605 - $32,724

2016 Volvo XC60 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Volvo XC60 was new.


Performance: 8.4

Though you'll most likely want the XC60 for its smooth, quiet ride, you’ll find that its performance won't put you to sleep. The XC60 has a lineup of fuel-efficient engines that deliver strong acceleration, and it has surprisingly nimble handling as well.

  • "The new 4-cylinder engines introduced last year offer plenty of power without sacrificing fuel economy, and its all-wheel-drive system provides assurance on slick roads." – Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Volvo XC60 engages drivers with responsive steering, and handling that feels tight and controlled even when going around turns. It's not the sportiest entry in the segment, but it's certainly athletic and offers more driving entertainment than you might expect from a Volvo." -- Edmunds (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The XC60's base turbocharged four-cylinder engine has enough power and acceleration that you won't have to hesitate when merging onto the highway or pulling out into traffic. It backs up that performance with a smile-inducing fuel economy rating. The XC60 gets an EPA-estimated 23/31 mpg city/highway, which is better than many class rivals.

There are also more powerful engines available on higher trims and all-wheel drive models, including a turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder engine that is the preferred choice of many test drivers. It's great for enthusiastic driving, and you won't take much of a hit on fuel economy.

Some drivers may get annoyed at the transmission while circling the parking lot. It has a tendency to hunt for the right gear at very low speeds, leading to some awkward lurches as it shifts.

See a full list of specs »

  • "We've driven a couple different Volvos with the new Drive-E engines, and they're for real. The Volvo XC60 T5 gets 24 mpg in the city, but with enough power to get from a standstill to 60 mph in just under seven seconds. And remember, the T5 is the 'slow' one." – Kelley Blue Book
  • "The T5 Drive-E delivers energetic acceleration and class-leading efficiency, while the T6 Drive-E turns the energy level up even further with its novel turbo- and supercharged power plant. The T6 AWD's turbocharged-6 is just as enthusiastic in getting the XC60 moving -- if not as quickly as some rival upgrade engines -- but it does return significantly lower fuel economy than the front-wheel-drive engines." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "The new eight-speed transmission is smooth in full automatic operation, although there were a couple of odd lurches at parking-lot speeds, as though its electronic brain wasn't quite sure which gear to engage. Using the paddle shifters is reasonably satisfying, even though shifts aren't quite as quick as those from some dual-clutch units." – Car and Driver (2015)

Ride, Handling, and Braking

As befitting a comfort-oriented luxury SUV, the XC60 delivers a supple ride (less so with the available 20-inch wheels), and the well-insulated cabin ensures that you never have to blast the radio because of outside noise.

Most buyers accustomed to thinking of Volvos as dull safety machines will be pleasantly surprised by the XC60's handling and steering. It feels right at home on winding roads, adding an unexpected degree of driving enjoyment. However, the XC60 still lags behind true performance vehicles in the class like the Porsche Macan.

  • "The steering feels good in your hands, and the XC60's suspension is tuned with just the right amount of bite so that taking a corner briskly doesn't feel scary, but without any ride harshness." – Kelley Blue Book
  • "On the road, the XC60 has the quiet, smooth ride that luxury shoppers expect, and the view from the driver's seat is appropriately commanding. What's unexpected is the XC60's handling prowess, which blows up the stereotype of the stodgy, conservative Volvo family vehicle. There's real athleticism in the way the XC60 moves." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "… the XC60 easily soaks up road imperfections and provides a comfortable ride quality. We would think twice about the available 20-inch wheels, though, as you may find the resulting ride to be a touch too firm." -- Edmunds (2015)

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