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2015 Volvo XC60 First Impressions

By Mathieu St-Pierre
2015 Volvo XC60 First Impressions

Summary Rating: 83%

Styling

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Accessories

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Space and Access

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Comfort

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Performance

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Driving Dynamics

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Safety

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General Appreciation

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Las Vegas, NV -- In a moment of sheer terror, I was happy to be in the company of my Volvo XC60. I’d finally found a proper location west of Las Vegas, by the mountains, to take pictures only to find out that the batteries in the camera were dead. This was only the beginning of my troubles...

A whining/moaning noise was heard the moment I stepped out of the XC60. I scanned my surroundings and could not find the source of the aural disturbance. Moments later, I was confronted by the largest, most monstrous, rooster I’d ever laid eyes on. I was, of course, only concerned about what malicious disease he might be carrying and wisely retreated to the safe confines of the XC60.

Like a safe place to hide, the 2015 Volvo XC60 not only keeps that which is most precious to you safe, but transports it in appreciable comfort, with plenty of power and not at the expense of fuel consumption. The level of refinement oozing from this vehicle is cajoling, and with the new family of Drive-E engines, it’s a good drive too.


What is a Volvo XC60?
The 2015 Volvo XC60 is the Swedish-cum-Chinese automaker’s take on the compact luxury crossover. With the demise of the station wagon -- until now -- in North America, Volvo attempted to sway wagonistas back to Volvo showrooms with the XC60.

Success came the way of Volvo in Canada as the XC60 did manage to satisfy some diehard Volvo fans with it smooth ride and guaranteed safety features. The XC60 arrived in 2009 just as the last of the V70 wagons were being sold.

2015 Volvo XC60 Price and Specs
The upgraded 2015 Volvo XC60 T5 FWD will sport a base price of $40,950. A T6 FWD will start at $46,350. No word yet on the exact amount that the addition of AWD will bring to these MSRPs, however, expect it to hover in the $2,000 range.

The new family of Drive-E powertrains is based on a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. In T5 trim, it produces 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque (280 lbs in overboost).

Graduating to the T6 adds a supercharger in the mix and blows output to 302 horsepower and 295 torques.

The improvements to the 2015 Volvo XC60 are two-fold. First, fuel consumption ratings drop dramatically. Previously, the 3.2L XC60 managed (city/highway/combined) 13/9.0/11.2L/100km. The T5 improves to 9.8/7.5/8.7 and the T6 works out to 8.6/7.8/9.4.

The other noteworthy change comes in the name of all-mighty acceleration, which drops from 9.1 seconds in the 0-96 km/hr dash with the 3.2L to 6.9 seconds with the T5, and 6.5 seconds with the T6.

All 2015 Volvo XC60s utilise an 8-speed automatic transmission that features a manual mode.

2015 Volvo XC60 T6 3/4 view
The 2015 Volvo XC60 is the Swedish-cum-Chinese automaker’s take on the compact luxury crossover. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)

Driving the 2015 Volvo XC60
Instantly, even as a passenger, I noticed a huge difference in the XC60’s on-road behaviour. This vast improvement come in the form of less weight/burden over the front wheels previously caused by the presence of the huge inline-6 cylinder engine.

As a driver, the advancements were focused to me through the steering wheel. Steering response felt livelier than I recall, exponentially increasing the fun factor of the drive. The ride quality is also affected in a positive way. The 2015 Volvo XC60 feels better balanced and ever so firmly riveted to the tarmac.

The 2015 XC60 is currently Volvo’s most popular model and ensuring that positive changes are brought to the driving experience increases its appeal. The old 6-pot did what it had to, but at the expense of too much black gold. The new Drive-E engines remedy the latter, and vastly raise the bar on the performance aspect.

The tested T6 whistled and whined with glee when the throttle was applied. The amalgamation of both manners of forced induction combines to create lag-free, forceful acceleration. The only downside to the T6’s power is a mild dose of torque steer. Oddly, I did not notice this FWD fault on the equally endowed S60 T6 sedan I also cruised around in…

The XC60 handles itself on paved roads as well as any other compact luxury crossover. The Volvo is smooth and vigilant, while body roll is minimal. I can’t go so far as to say that the experience is sporty, but everything about the XC60 inspires wellbeing and confidence.

2015 Volvo XC60 T6 rear 3/4 view
The 2015 Volvo XC60 feels better balanced and ever so firmly riveted to the tarmac. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)

Inside and Out of the 2015 Volvo XC60
The big physical changes to the Volvo XC60 were completed for the 2014 model year. The new front end does wonders for the CUV’s curbside appeal.

In the right shade, and with the right wheels, the XC60 does something few other luxo crossovers do; it stands out from the crowd and is immediately identifiable as a Volvo.

The cabin also got a facelift in 2014. Included in this upgrade are a new instrument cluster and a few other interior upgrades including a 7” sensus HMI screen.

Fit and finish are on par with what one would expect from a luxury brand. Ergonomics are typical Scandinavian-fare: unusual yet original. Then we have the seats: Supportive and comfortable, they are some of the best in the business.

2015 Volvo XC60 T6 cabin
The cabin also got a facelift in 2014. Included in this upgrade are a new instrument cluster and a few other interior upgrades including a 7” sensus HMI screen. (Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre)

Comparing the 2015 Volvo XC60
The 2015 Volvo XC60 plays on middle ground, between the compacts and the midsize crossovers. This lines it up (price-wise as well) with the likes of the very popular Lexus RX, the Lincoln MKX, and the Audi Q5.

Class and refinement are all found in these vehicles, however, the Volvo’s T6 powertrain delivers on performance and should do the same for fuel economy. Then, there are the seats…

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