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2020 Volvo XC60 Performance Review


Performance: 7.9

The 2020 Volvo XC60's engine offerings range from energetic to downright potent, with the upper-level options outfitted with both a turbo- and a supercharger. The power doesn't come at the expense of fuel economy, though, and there's even a plug-in-hybrid XC60 that is blisteringly fast yet extremely fuel-efficient. Overall, the XC60 holds its own on the performance front, but it isn't as fun to drive as some competitors.

  • While the XC60 is a solid midpack contender, it does have some flaws worth noting. Surges in power from the twin-charged engine mean some issues with low-speed drivability, but a well-tuned transmission helps even things out. Steering and handling are a bit behind the curve for a luxury SUV, though, lacking some of the precision that rivals posses (sic)." -- Edmunds
  • Spirited performance may not be the first thing you think of when considering a Volvo, but the fact that even a base XC60 feels surprisingly potent is an unexpected delight. The base T5 models with their 250-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinders feel zippy and as if they punch above their weight. Step up to the T6, and you get a small engine that has been turbocharged and supercharged, the only one of its kind on the market. The result packs a serious punch. … The third powertrain option, the hybrid T8 that pairs a gasoline engine and electric powertrain, left us less impressed. Though the technology under the hood is commendable and with 400 horsepower it's the most powerful XC60, transitions between the gasoline and electric powertrains aren't all that smooth." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "The XC60 T6 we sampled in Catalonia was able to get out of its own way with surprising eagerness, but it was the crossover's overhauled chassis that stole the show on the sweeping highways, tight roundabouts, and cyclist-filled twisting mountain lanes outside of Barcelona." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The XC60 comes standard with a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, found in T5 models. It's mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain delivers pretty good acceleration and has ample power, but the stronger available engines make this Volvo quicker.

For more power, you can upgrade to the T6, which has a 316-horsepower turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder engine. This is the powertrain most people will want, as it's noticeably more energetic than the base setup.

With the T5's powertrain and front-wheel drive, the XC60 earns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The T5 with all-wheel drive gets 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, which are the same ratings for the T6 powertrain. These are above-average estimates for the luxury compact SUV class.

A plug-in hybrid, called T8, is also available. This combines the T6 engine with an electric motor and a 10.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, and the system produces a total of 400 horsepower. This powertrain is more potent than the engines in the T5 or T6, and XC60s so equipped go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds flat.

We don't yet have estimates for the plug-in hybrid's all-electric range or fuel economy, but the similar 2019 model has 17 miles of all-electric range and earns 58 MPGe and 26 mpg combined city/highway. It can be fully recharged in about three hours from a 240-volt outlet.

For more information, read What is MPGe?

There's a new engine choice for 2020 as well. Sold in limited numbers, the performance-oriented Polestar Engineered trim features the T8 powertrain, but it produces 415 horsepower and has a few additional tweaks to deliver better throttle response.

  • "[The T6] is our favorite XC60 because its engine is something of a guilty pleasure. It is both turbocharged and supercharged, and the result feels like power, squared. Packing 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque it really gets up and goes." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "The T5 turbocharged four-cylinder engine that underpins the base XC60 makes a respectable 250 horsepower …, but the one you'll want is the T6 twincharged four-cylinder, which uses a turbocharger and a supercharger to make 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The supercharger helps build low-end torque and passes the bulk of the power supplementation off to the turbo once it's been properly spooled up. It's a clever system, and one that makes a four cylinder feel almost like a six, but still just short of naturally aspirated." -- New York Daily News (2018)
  • "In the XC60, the engine pulls harder than it does in the XC90 thanks to less weight and a smaller footprint. Rolling into the throttle in comfort mode, you'll feel a pleasant linear acceleration -- almost like a naturally aspirated engine. Move to dynamic mode and the throttle tip-in becomes more aggressive and your foot has more of a say in what the XC60 wants to do. The eight-speed transmission handles power well and is shudder-free. Shift speeds are acceptable for a torque converter-based automatic but aren't anywhere near as quick as a dual-clutch transmission." -- Autoweek (2018)

Handling and Braking

The XC60 prioritizes ride comfort over athletic handling, and it delivers. This SUV absorbs most road imperfections with ease, and an available air suspension makes the ride even cushier. The XC60’s handling is competent and composed, but it lacks the agility of some rivals.

You can select from five customizable drive modes: Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, Off-Road, and Individual. These modes let you adjust the throttle, steering, transmission, and body height of the XC60. All-wheel drive is standard in all but the base XC60, which comes with front-wheel drive.

  • "It may not be the sportiest vehicle in the segment, but the XC60 is one of the most comfortable SUVs in its class." -- Edmunds
  • "Regardless of which powertrain you choose, this Volvo SUV's suspension provides both comfort and a significant amount of control and is designed to limit both understeer and torque steer for a neutral feel in a variety of circumstances. Additionally, with multiple drive modes -- including an individualized one -- you can optimize the XC60 for sporty, comfort-oriented, efficiency-minded and even off-road driving." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • While Volvo talks about better performance and superior body control with 'no diagonal roll,' the XC60 remains as comfort-oriented as everybody expects it to be. … The steering is speed dependent and 3-way adjustable, but I found that all three settings provide lots of assistance and a rather artificial feel once you really hit the curves." -- Road and Track (2018)
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2020 Volvo XC60

MSRP: $40,150 - $52,650

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