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2019 Volvo XC60 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.3

The 2019 Volvo XC60's trio of engine offerings range from energetic to downright potent, with the upper-level options outfitted with both a turbocharger and a supercharger. The power doesn't come at the expense of fuel economy, and there's even a plug-in hybrid option that is blisteringly fast yet extremely fuel-efficient.

  • 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
  • "The XC60 comes in 349 pounds lighter than its big brother, which would give Volvo an obvious excuse to detune the engine to keep the performance in line with the rest of the brand – it didn't. Instead, the Volvo XC60 is a nimbler and quicker people mover than the XC90." -- Autoweek (2018)
  • "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's eight-speed automatic transmission is mated to one of three engines. The base T5 engine – a 250-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder – is pleasantly quick and capable under most circumstances. Its maximum towing capacity of 5,291 pounds is exceptional for an SUV this size. The T5 also delivers above-average fuel economy: 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 20/27 mpg city/highway with all-wheel drive.

The T6 engine garners the most praise from reviewers. This 316-horsepower, turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder matches the displacement of the T5 but feels noticeably more potent. The T6 engine can sprint to 60 mph in a respectable 5.6 seconds and matches the T5's impressive tow rating.

A plug-in hybrid engine, the T8, is also available. This merges the T6 engine with an electric motor and a 10.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, delivering even faster off-the-line acceleration of zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The 400-horsepower T8 hasn't had much testing by professional automotive journalists, but one review notes that it isn't always polished when switching between gasoline and electric power. The XC60 plug-in hybrid has 17 miles of all-electric range and earns 58 mpg-equivalent combined. It can be fully recharged in about three hours from a 240-volt outlet.

  • "[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
  • "The T5 turbocharged four-cylinder engine that underpins the base XC60 makes a respectable 250 horsepower (which for comparison's sake is just 2 hp shy of the 2018 Audi Q5), 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 now comes standard with five drive modes: Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, Off-Road, and Individual (which you can customize). These modes let you adjust the throttle, steering, transmission, and body height of the XC60. In any setting, this Volvo offers a smooth ride with an optional air suspension system that is even cushier. All-wheel drive is standard in all but the base XC60, which comes with front-wheel drive.

  • "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
  • "The XC60 is decidedly more agile than the XC90 and exhibits none of the outgoing XC60's unwanted body roll. The biggest contributor here is the upgraded suspension, which uses front struts instead of control arms up front and a new aluminum composite transverse leaf spring instead of coil springs at the rear as standard. Smoothing things out further still on our tester was the optional air suspension, which can be fitted for $1,800." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "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 suspension is the same double wishbone front/multilink with a composite leaf spring rear as in the XC90, with the option of having an air-suspension. 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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