Used 2015 Volvo XC60 SUV Review
New engines only increase the 2015 Volvo XC60's appeal. It's one of the better choices for a compact luxury crossover due to its generous space, appealing road manners, attractive cabin and emphasis on safety.
Family vehicles have a reputation for being boring, while Volvo family vehicles have the added historical burden of cinder-block styling, sleepy driving dynamics and an ultra-sensible nature generally appealing to those who wear grandpa shoes and elastic-waist jeans. But you can expect absolutely none of that from the 2015 Volvo XC60.
The XC60's been out for a few years now and we've always thought highly of its sleekly styled exterior, stylish cabin and engaging driving dynamics. Best of all, those characteristic attributes disguise what is still a sensible vehicle with plenty of family-friendly space and features, complemented by top-notch crash test scores.
For 2015, it gets even more appealing thanks to new engines that boast energetic acceleration and class-leading fuel economy. A new turbocharged four-cylinder is paired with an equally new eight-speed automatic transmission and a surprisingly refined automatic engine stop-start system. All of this results in an impressive 27 mpg combined.
Unfortunately, the four-cylinder engines are only available on front-wheel-drive models, whereas the old lineup of six-cylinder engines and six-speed automatic transmissions soldier on. Luckily, the worst offender of the bunch, the sluggish 3.2-liter six cylinder is being replaced midway through the year on "2015.5" XC60's. A 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine replaces it, and it is more energetic and slightly better for fuel economy.
All things considered, the 2015 Volvo XC60 is one of our top recommended compact luxury crossovers. Of primary appeal is its well-rounded nature, which allows it to share some of the best attributes of its key competitors: the spacious and family-friendly 2015 Acura RDX, the stylish and fuel-efficient Audi Q5 and the engaging 2015 BMW X3. Although it can get a tad pricey (especially compared to the Acura), the XC60 is a family vehicle that deserves an entirely different reputation.
trim levels & features
The 2015 Volvo XC60 is a compact crossover SUV that seats five people. Depending on when your XC60 was made, there are six trim levels that correspond to engine and drivetrain: T5 Drive-E, 3.2 AWD, T5 AWD, T6 Drive-E, T6 AWD and T6 AWD R-Design. The aforementioned T5 AWD is part of a midyear update to the XC60 lineup and only available as a "2015.5" model. XC60 models built after June 2014 will receive the 2015.5 designation, and as such, receive some updated standard and optional equipment. See the end of this section for details on the 2015.5 changes.
The 2015 XC60 T5 Drive-E and 3.2 AWD come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, front and rear foglights, LED running lights, roof rails, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, "T-Tec" fabric upholstery, a 40/20/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod audio interface. The 3.2 AWD differs in its engine, transmission and standard all-wheel drive. The 2015.5 T5 AWD which replaces the 3.2-liter option, gets the same standard equipment and a different engine.
The Premier package for the T5 Drive-E, T5 AWD and 3.2 AWD, as well as the base T6 Drive-E and T6 AWD, add keyless ignition and entry, a panoramic sunroof, rear privacy glass, leather upholstery, configurable digital gauges and an auto-dimming mirror. The T6 trims also get transmission paddle shifters. The T6 AWD R-Design is similarly equipped, but also has 20-inch wheels, unique exterior and interior design elements, and its own unique digital gauges.
The Premier Plus package is available on all trims and adds a rearview camera, power-folding mirrors, a power liftgate, power-folding rear headrests, a folding front passenger seat, a cargo cover and a pop-up trunk-mounted grocery holder.
The Platinum package adds auto-dimming exterior mirrors, interior accent lighting, a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system and a navigation system (available separately on the other sub-trims).
The Climate package adds an interior air quality system and heating for the front seats, rear seats, steering wheel, windshield and washer nozzles. The Sport package adds 20-inch wheels and sport front seats (deletes the folding front passenger seat). Individual options include adaptive bi-xenon headlights, a dual-screen rear entertainment system and rear child booster seats that also include power child door locks. The R-Design can be equipped with special leather/simulated suede upholstery.
The separately available Inscription package includes upgraded leather upholstery, extended leather interior trim, power front seat lumbar adjustment, special floor mats and sill plates, and special wood trim.
See the below Safety section for additional safety-related options.
For 2015.5 XC60s (models built after June 2014) there are a few notable changes. Optional on earlier 2015 models, Volvo's Sensus Connect system is now standard for all 2015.5 models, with some functionality updates and the addition of Volvo's On Call telematics system. Sensus Connect adds voice commands and in-car smartphone apps such as Pandora and Yelp, while On Call adds a WiFi hotspot and navigation as standard on T6 and R-Design models and is optional with the Premier package. On the earlier 2015 models, a less sophisticated navigation system can also be added that costs much less than the so-called "integrated navigation system."
In terms of optional equipment for 2015.5 models, the Premier Plus package has essentially been split into two packages: the Convenience and Proximity packages. The Convenience package gets the power-folding mirrors, power-folding headrests, a cargo cover and a 12-volt power outlet in the cargo area. The Proximity package adds keyless ignition and entry, a power-tailgate and a rearview camera. The power-folding passenger seat that was part of the 2015 Premier Plus package is available for all 2015.5 models as a stand-alone option. Other stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, sport seats and a Harman Kardon premium sound system.
The Premier package sticks around for 2015.5 T5 Drive-E and T5 AWD models, while T6 models come in either standard trim or with the Platinum package. In addition to the Premier package, the Ocean Race package is also available on 2015.5 T6 Drive-E and T6 AWD drive base models. It adds unique 18-inch wheels, unique exterior blue paint, upgraded leather upholstery and contrasting interior stitching.
Platinum-equipped 2015.5 models get the Premier's standard equipment plus bi-xenon headlights and the Harman Kardon sound system.
performance & mpg
The 2015 Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard, along with an automatic stop-start system that shuts down the engine to save fuel when the XC60 has come to a stop. Volvo estimates the T5 Drive-E will go from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is excellent at 27 mpg combined (24 city/31 highway).
The 2015 Volvo XC60 3.2 AWD comes with a 3.2-liter inline-6 that produces 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. Volvo estimates a very leisurely 0-60 time of 9.1 seconds, which would make that XC60 the slowest vehicle in the segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway).
The 3.2 AWD, however, will be phased out during the year. Taking its place is the T5 AWD, which comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 250 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. This engine is also paired to all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission that Volvo estimates will propel the T5 AWD from zero to 60 in a much more respectable 6.6 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg combined (18/25).
The 2015 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E comes with a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Like the T5, it has front-wheel drive and the eight-speed automatic with engine stop-start. In Edmunds testing, an XC60 T6 Drive-E went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, which is certainly quick, but ultimately a bit slow when compared to other compact crossovers with an upgrade engine. Fuel economy is an impressive 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway), and it returned 26.5 mpg on the 120-mile Edmunds evaluation loop -- about the same as the less powerful Audi Q5 2.0T.
The 2015 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD models get a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine. The regular T6 AWD version produces 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the R-Design version is good for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Both have all-wheel drive and six-speed automatic transmissions. In Edmunds testing, a T6 R-Design went from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, and we expect the regular T6 to only be a tenth or two slower. Either way, this is again a bit slow in comparison to other compact crossovers with an engine upgrade. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 20 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway) for both versions.
Every 2015 Volvo XC60 comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock brakes, whiplash-protection front seats, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is Volvo's City Safety system, which is an automatic braking system that engages at speeds of up to 30 mph when the car detects that a collision is imminent.
There is additional, optional safety equipment. The Dual Two-Stage Integrated Booster Seats pop up from the backseat's outboard positions and accommodate children with a height/weight range from 37 inches and 33 pounds to 55 inches and 80 pounds. These booster seats come with power child door locks. The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) package adds a blind-spot warning system, cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors. The Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system with fully automatic braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection with fully automatic braking, automatic high beams, a driver-inattention warning system and lane-departure warning.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 2015 XC60 T6 Drive-E with the Sport package's 20-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, a respectable distance for this class of vehicle.
The XC60 received a top five-star rating in government crash tests for overall, frontal and side crash protection. It also received the best possible rating of "Good" in all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's crash tests, which is a rare achievement. Finally, the 2015 XC60 received the rating of "Superior" for its frontal crash prevention technology.
The Volvo XC60 engages drivers with responsive steering, and handling that feels tight and controlled even when going around turns. It's not the sportiest entry in the segment, but it's certainly athletic and offers more driving entertainment than you might expect from a Volvo. At the same time, the XC60 easily soaks up road imperfections and provides a comfortable ride quality. We would think twice about the available 20-inch wheels, though, as you may find the resulting ride to be a touch too firm.
The rest of the XC60 driving experience differs greatly depending on the engine and trim you get. The 3.2 AWD is essentially the slowest vehicle in the small luxury crossover segment and delivers unimpressive fuel economy; we'd recommend avoiding it, based on these two demerits. The other choices in the lineup are far more appealing, especially the new four-cylinder engines. The T5 Drive-E delivers energetic acceleration and class-leading efficiency, while the T6 Drive-E turns the energy level up even further with its novel turbo- and supercharged power plant. The T6 AWD's turbocharged-6 is just as enthusiastic in getting the XC60 moving -- if not as quickly as some rival upgrade engines -- but it does return significantly lower fuel economy than the front-wheel-drive engines.
As with other Volvos, the XC60's cabin is defined by modern yet inviting design indicative of its Swedish homeland. The shape of the "floating" center stack and available real wood trim are particularly distinctive, and there's certainly no mistaking the XC60 for anything else in the segment. Another Volvo hallmark is the sublimely comfortable and supportive front seats.
The straightforward dual-temperature adjustment dials and "mode man" pictogram make climate control adjustments simple and intuitive. The audio system's phone-style number pad and surrounding buttons may look a bit antiquated in the luxury class these days, but they're simple and make controlling basic stereo functions easy. For more complicated tasks like selecting a media player playlist, programming the navigation system or controlling more complicated vehicle functions, the XC60 relies on the standard Sensus system. It, too, is fairly easy to use and similar to competitor systems, though the multipurpose knob's location on the dash (rather than the center console) is not ideal.
The rear seat is particularly roomy as smaller crossovers go, with a high seat cushion, above-average headroom and decent legroom for adults. Unfortunately, the seatbacks do not recline, but parents and kids alike will appreciate the available integrated child booster seats that pop up from the seat bottom. To accommodate cargo, the versatile 40/20/40-split rear seat can be folded in a number of different ways. Maximum cargo space is 67 cubic feet, which is a good number for this class.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.