2012 Volvo XC60 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Volvo XC60 SUV

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Volvo XC60 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 325 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Volvo XC60

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The 2012 Volvo XC60 is a well-rounded compact luxury SUV that's one of the top choices for families.

  • Safety | Rating Details
  • Pros

    Excellent safety scores; ample interior space; comfortable ride; strong turbocharged engine; distinctive design inside and out; available integrated booster seats.

  • Cons

    Some unintuitive interior controls; pokey acceleration with base engine.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Volvo XC60 gets new sub-trim levels in lieu of previous option packages. The T6 R-Design also gets a power bump, while a newly optional Dynamic package adds to the T6 AWD an upgraded suspension and steering.

Full 2012 Volvo XC60 Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Volvo XC60 gets new sub-trim levels in lieu of previous option packages. The T6 R-Design also gets a power bump, while a newly optional Dynamic package adds to the T6 AWD an upgraded suspension and steering.


The compact luxury SUV segment is growing. Almost every premium automaker now offers one, and while each has its own character, the 2012 Volvo XC60 sets itself apart with its capability as a family car. With impeccable crash test scores, generous interior space and several unique features, the XC60 is ideally set up to keep your family comfortable and safe.

Frankly, that description makes the XC60 sound pretty similar to the safe and practical Volvo wagons that were once so popular. And in a way, the XC60 is indeed the modern Volvo wagon. Yet even if the XC60 accomplishes similar goals, it does so with handsome, unique styling that stands in sharp contrast to those boxy Volvos of yore. Whether you're looking at its nicely sculpted exterior or enjoying the distinctive shapes, surfaces and color combinations of its chic interior, the XC60 not only stands out from its predecessors but also from its contemporary competitors as well. It can even be pretty sporty thanks to the R-Design model and its extra power for 2012.

Notably, the XC60 is one of the few vehicles on the road in 2012 to get a perfect five stars in the government's tougher, new crash tests. It also offers a slew of safety features designed to prevent an accident in the first place. Especially nice for young families are the dual booster seats for children that pop up in the backseat. You'll no longer have to remove Junior's booster (and find some place to put it) when you go out for an evening with the neighbors. Your friends will also appreciate the greater amount of room the XC60 provides compared to its rivals.

As for those rivals, the well-rounded Audi Q5 comes closest to matching the XC60's family friendliness, while being a tad more luxurious as well. The Mercedes-Benz GLK350 isn't as roomy as the Volvo, but it boasts solid build quality, added refinement and a similar emphasis on safety. You could also consider SUVs from non-premium automakers that provide as much or more practicality than the XC60 for a lower price, such as the Ford Edge or Nissan Murano.

These are all good choices, but when it comes to finding family-friendly transport in a stylish, luxurious package, it's hard to beat the 2012 Volvo XC60.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Volvo XC60 is a compact luxury SUV that seats five people. It is available in 3.2, T6 and T6 R-Design trim levels. Each is available in standard, Premier Plus and Platinum sub-trims, while the 3.2 gets an additional Premier sub-trim.

Standard features on the XC60 3.2 include 17-inch wheels, roof rails, heated mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat with memory functions and adjustable lumbar, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, fabric upholstery, a leather-wrapped wheel and shifter, a split-folding 40/20/40 backseat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The 3.2 Premier and T6 add silver-painted roof rails, tinted rear windows, a panoramic sunroof, an eight-way power passenger seat and leather upholstery. The T6 differs with its more powerful engine and 18-inch wheels.

The Premier Plus sub-trims add parking sensors, a power liftgate, a cargo cover and power-folding rear head restraints. The Platinum trims gain a rearview camera, a navigation system, real-time traffic and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system.

Each R-Design model is pretty similar in feature content to its T6 counterpart save for extra power, a sport-tuned suspension, special styling features, twin chrome exhausts, special interior trim, a sport steering wheel and sport seats.

The Climate package adds headlight washers, heated windshield washer nozzles, automatic wipers, heated front and rear seats and an interior air quality sensor. The Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, a collision warning and active brake system, a distance alert system, a driver attention warning system and a lane-departure warning system. Stand-alone options available on all trims include keyless ignition/entry, a blind-spot warning system, integrated rear booster seats and a rear entertainment system with dual screens.

The T6 can be equipped with the Dynamic package, which adds an adaptive suspension, speed-sensitive steering and adaptive headlights (available separately on 3.2 and T6).

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Volvo XC60 3.2 comes with a 3.2-liter inline-6 that produces 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional. Volvo estimates that the 3.2 takes 9.1 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with front drive and 18/24/20 with all-wheel drive. Both are average for the segment.

The T6 gets a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 good for 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard. In Edmunds testing, a T6 hit 60 mph in 7 seconds, which is average for the class. EPA fuel economy estimates are 17/23/20.

The T6 R-Design gets a more powerful version of this engine good for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are also standard. In Edmunds testing, it hit 60 mph in a rapid 6.2 seconds -- only the BMW X3 xDrive35i is quicker. Volvo says fuel economy estimates will be identical to the regular T6.


Every 2012 XC60 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and whiplash-preventing front seats. Also standard is City Safety, which can mitigate or avoid a low-speed frontal impact by applying the vehicle's brakes without driver intervention. Optional features include integrated child booster seats, blind-spot warning, collision warning and active braking, distance alert, driver attention warning, lane departure and a heartbeat monitor that can detect intruders inside the vehicle.

In Edmunds brake testing, an XC60 T6 came to a stop from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is a bit better than average. In government crash tests, the XC60 received a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, with five stars for both overall frontal impact and side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave the XC60 its highest score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Volvo has been making an effort in recent years to give its vehicles some interior flair, and the five-passenger XC60 is the brand's best result yet. The thin-panel center stack -- which comes with metallic trim as standard and real oak trim as an option -- combines with the optional two-tone upholstery to make the XC60's cabin look both modern and inviting.

The straightforward dual-temperature adjustment dials and "mode man" pictogram make climate-control adjustments simple and intuitive. The audio system is fairly easy to use, too, though the array of small audio buttons is starting to look dated. The available DVD-based navigation system's interface works fine in practice (especially when operating the included iPod interface), but Volvo's navigation software still feels a few years behind.

The rear seat is particularly roomy as small crossovers go, with a high seat cushion, above-average headroom and decent legroom for adults. The available integrated dual child booster seats are a great feature. To accommodate cargo, the versatile 40/20/40-split rear seat can be folded in a number of different ways and maximum cargo space is a useful 67 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Volvo XC60's impressive blend of performance and comfort should satisfy the majority of shoppers looking for a small luxury crossover. The T6's turbocharged engine lacks the aural excitement one might expect, but its smooth and energetic power delivery make it the preferred XC60 engine. In R-Design tune, the T6 is quicker than almost every other compact luxury crossover. Models with the base 3.2-liter engine are noticeably slower.

On the highway, the XC60 is quiet and stable. It also has one of the most comfortable rides in its class. Although this makes it feel a little soft when going around corners, the XC60 nevertheless remains poised even when rushed. No, we wouldn't call it fun, but we wouldn't call it uninvolved, either.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Skip the tech package

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A)

I love this car! It is fast (even with 87 octane gas), my back has never felt better (the seats are firmer than non R-Design seats), the premium sound is great, and with the Red R-Design we get compliments on the looks at least once a week. The tech package is amazing when it is not broken. We have had it in the shop 4x with a complete replacement & sensors that stop working. Also, if you travel in snowy climates the parking distance, blind spot, collision & adaptive cruise can stop working due to ice build-up on your grill, bumper, and side window cameras. We get combined City (30%) /Hwy (70%) Mileage of 21.7 over the past 6 months.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I'd love it if my

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A)

I was opting for something different from the series of wagons I'd been in over the past 12 years. Saab, the maker of my past two wagons, was out of business, so I looked to the other Swede. The looks of the XC60 got me curious and all I had to do was put my foot to the floor on the test drive, and I was hooked on the performance of this car. It's solid feeling, gorgeous inside and out and the warranty was impressive. Plus I got $1000 off for staying with a Swede. But my back and leg are killing me every time I drive it and for a few hours after. Methinks it's going to be a very expensive trade-in for either a Volvo or Audi wagon.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

Myriad electronic problems

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Vehicle: 2012 Volvo XC60 T6 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A)

we've had numerous intermittent problems with electronic systems in our 2012 XC60 T. It s now with the dealer for the third time, with no fix in sight. Here' a partial list: BLIS system gives false readings most of the time. Problem duplicated by dealers. Nav system reruns message "system not available" . Blue tooth stopped working entirely gate opener either doesn't work or works only within a few feet of the receiver. Key opener either doesn't work at all or requires repeated pushing from about 8 feet. With car runnung, rear seat passenger gets out, and car flashes "key not found". if you put the key in the slot, the engine stops running, which is dangerous. Back up video stays...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Attractive and fun to drive

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Vehicle: 2012 Volvo XC60 3.2 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 6A)

Going from a hybrid sedan to a crossover was an interesting change but I've grown to enjoy my XC60. The vehicle feels very solid, safe, and with a stance like a tiger, grips the road with amazing tenacity!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

You can't go wrong with

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Vehicle: 2012 Volvo XC60 T6 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A)

The Volvo XC60 T6 in my opinion is the best small luxury class SUV. I know most car reviewers put the Audi Q5 over the XC60 but having owned a 2011 Q5 I can tell you they are wrong. The XC60 has plenty of cargo space, the seats are the most comfortable I have been in. Performance for the T6 model is top notch. I have been averaging 25 miles a gallon to and from work (combined) and 28 on the highway (and I am not holding back).

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

An excellent vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Volvo XC60 T6 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A)

This vehicle was delivered just over two months ago. I am very satisfied with it to date. Before purchasing it I considered the Acura RDX, Audi Q 5, BMW X3, and Mercedes GLK. I decided on the XC60 as having the best combination of style, features and performance. As I live in an area where winters can be severe AWD was a given. That being the case, when similarly equipped, the price difference and fuel consumption between the 3.2 and the T6 are not that great. Given other comments I've seen this was a wise choice. I would not hesitate to recommend to XC 60 for anyone in the market for this class of vehicle.

Talk About The 2012 XC60

Read more about the 2012 Volvo XC60

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
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