I’ve always liked the Volvo XC60. The first time I drove it was a little over five years ago, and since then my “like” for the vehicle has only grown, despite it staying very much the same. Sometimes, things are better left the way they are, and the Volvo XC60 is a perfect example of that.
If you’ll all remember (because I know how diligently you all follow my reviews), I drove the previous generation model XC60 last summer where I took it on a family road trip that had me doing well over 2,000km behind the wheel, and also included a trip to the dealer to fix a faulty electronic trunk that jammed and wouldn’t close. Despite that hiccup, the XC60 still fell in my good graces.
Each time I drive the XC60 I feel a bit like I’m catching up with an old friend. I like the familiarity of it all, the comfort I feel in knowing precisely how the Volvo is going to behave on the road and what technological bits and pieces it has to offer me. We get along great, the XC60 and I, and I’m already looking forward to our next rendezvous, whenever that may be.
Volvos have always been (and probably always will be) associated with safety, and with good reason. When the XC60 first launched in 2009 as a 2010 model, it was the first Volvo to feature City Safety.
I remember experiencing the system for the first time; it prevented me from rear-ending a school bus that hadn’t yet left a stop sign when I thought it had. I was sold on the technology from that moment. Of course, it has its downsides as well; namely, obnoxious beeps and boops when you are paying attention, but it can all be deactivated and/or reactivated at any time.
How does the new 2015 Volvo XC60 measure up in terms of safety equipment? Well, it’s still got the City Safety system (front collision prevention system), along with optional preventive safety systems such as Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Cross Traffic Alert, Driver Alert Control, Lane Departure Warning, Distance Alert, Active High Beams, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
The Volvo XC60 could almost drive itself with all its active and passive safety features, but we’re not quite at that autonomous stage yet -- frankly, I like to drive myself anyways, and especially when I’m behind the wheel of the XC60.
The most powerful XC60
I was lucky enough to pilot the most powerful XC60 in the lineup. Equipped with a 3.0L inline-6 turbocharged mill, this Volvo offers up quite a punch on the road. While it’s not as wild and balls-out as the S60 Polestar I’d driven just before, it had just enough oomph to keep me smiling throughout the week.
While the new 8-speed Drive-E automatic transmission is available in the XC60 lineup, it is not offered on the T6 AWD Platinum version I drove. Instead, the 300 ponies and 325 lb-ft of torque are controlled via a 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. Power is sent to all four wheels, a blissful and welcome feature in our frigid snow-filled winters.
Of the abovementioned safety features, the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) can be turned off, activating “sport mode” according to the Volvo “My XC60” on board computer settings, which will give you a bit more control in icier conditions. Normally, I’d deactivate all stability and traction control systems immediately to prevent dead throttles and power cuts to wheels, however, in the 2015 Volvo XC60 I wasn’t so inclined. While turning the ESC off did mean wider, longer drifts in parking lots, I managed to have just as much fun with the systems on and didn’t feel as if I were being held back or stunted in any way. It was not at all intrusive to my driving; kudos for that, Volvo.
Otherwise, driving the 2015 Volvo XC60 is strangely uneventful, but not in a boring way. The vehicle is predictable in its on road habits; familiar. Very little thought is needed to maneuver this vehicle through traffic, on city streets, on the highway or in tight parking spots.
Till we meet again
From the sharp, elegant and sophisticated exterior looks to the matter-of-fact and functional interior design, the 2015 Volvo XC60 is a pleasure to hang out with. We get along, the XC60 and I, and I’m quite sure the friendship will continue in the years to come.
Do I think it’s the very best CUV on the market for the price (just under $50k for my particular tester to be exact)? It might not take the No.1 spot, but it’s sure up there in the top three.