If you're looking for a family-friendly SUV, the 2017 Volvo XC60 is a great place to start. The interior is as accommodating for adults as it is children, and all passengers benefit from the assurance that comes with top crash test scores and Volvo's obsession with safety innovations.
The XC60 further differentiates itself from other SUVs with its uniquely Scandinavian design and efficient yet potent four-cylinder engines. There's even a sporty R-Design model for drivers that want a more engaging experience.
Then again, there is no shortage of SUVs lining up to challenge the Volvo, and with many introduced or redesigned in recent years, some rivals have an technological and aesthetic edge. The long list of top competitors include the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX 200t, Buick Envision, and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. Even in the face of such strong rivals, the 2017 Volvo XC60 is worth considering as it remains a great all-around performer.
Standard safety features for all Volvo XC60 models include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, whiplash protection for the front seats, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and Volvo On Call emergency telematics. Also standard is Volvo's City Safety system, which is a low-speed frontal collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking.
A pair of integrated dual-stage child booster seats are optional and pop up from the rear outboard seats to accommodate children with a height/weight range from 37 inches and 33 pounds to 55 inches and 80 pounds. Other standard and/or available features include a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, an upgraded frontal collision warning system with fully automatic braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection, a driver-inattention warning system and lane departure warning.
In Edmunds brake testing, an XC60 T6 with 20-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, a respectable distance for this class of vehicle. Surprisingly, all-season tires extended that distance by only a foot.
In government crash tests, the XC60 was awarded five out of five stars for overall, frontal and side crash protection, as well as four stars for rollover protection. Likewise, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the XC60 its highest score of Good for small- and moderate-overlap front crash protection, along with side protection, roof strength, and head restraints and seats. It also received a rating of Superior for its front-crash prevention technology.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Volvo XC60 is a five-passenger compact SUV that is offered in three main trim levels (Dynamic, Inscription and R-Design) that are further differentiated by two engine choices (T5 and T6).
Standard features for the T5 Dynamic trim include 18-inch wheels, LED running lights, heated mirrors, roof rails, dual panoramic sunroofs, automatic wipers, remote ignition, cruise control, low-speed frontal collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.
Interior features include dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, eight-way power adjustable front sport seats with driver memory functions, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, aluminum interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, a 7-inch infotainment display, Volvo's Sensus Connect system with navigation and mobile apps, an eight-speaker stereo with USB/auxiliary audio input, HD and satellite radio.
The T6 Dynamic trim adds 19-inch wheels,a power liftgate, keyless entry/ignition and digital gauges. The Inscription trim includes all of the T5 Dynamic features along with 20-inch wheels, power-folding and auto-dimming exterior mirrors, front comfort seats, interior ambient lighting and wood interior trim. Most of these features are available on the T5 Dynamic as part of the Preferred Option package that also adds front parking sensors, a universal garage door opener, power-folding rear headrests and a 12-volt power outlet in the cargo area.
R-Design models are similarly outfitted as the T6 Inscription and add unique exterior and interior styling treatments, adaptive xenon headlights, a sport-tuned suspension, power-folding mirrors, automatic high beams, headlight washers, steering-wheel shift paddles, sport pedals, adaptive cruise control, frontal collision warnings with full auto braking and pedestrian detection, a lane departure warning system, a universal garage door opener, power-folding rear headrests and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. Rear parking sensors are not available, though.
Most of the premium features are available as options on supporting trims. Bundled options include the Climate package (heated front and rear seats, heated windshield and washers, and a heated steering wheel) and the Advanced package (the R-Design's advanced safety systems, a drowsy driver alert system, a road sign reader and the premium audio). Standalone options include the heated front seats, adaptive xenon headlights, 20-inch wheels and dual two-stage integrated child booster seats.
The 2017 Volvo XC60 T5 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque (with a momentary overboost to 280 lb-ft). An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels, and all-wheel drive is available at additional cost. Properly equipped, the T5 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The T6 and R-Design models receive a supercharger on top of the turbocharger for a power increase to 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, and towing capacity maxes out at 4,400 pounds.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway) for the front-wheel-drive T5. Opting for all-wheel drive drops that figure to 23 mpg combined. The T6 is rated at 22 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway).
In Edmunds testing, an XC60 T6 and R-Design accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 and 6.2 seconds, respectively. Volvo estimates the T5 will reach 60 mph in 6.8 seconds.
Despite what you might think about an SUV powered by a small four-cylinder engine, the XC60 T5 should be more than adequate for most drivers. If you're regularly loading it to capacity with people and cargo, we recommend the more powerful T6. Fuel economy suffers slightly, but probably not enough to be a deal-breaker. Regardless of engine choice, the eight-speed transmission delivers smooth shifts and the available all-wheel drive makes it a capable handler in cold weather climates.
Around town, the XC60 easily soaks up road imperfections and provides a comfortable ride quality. Think twice about the available 20-inch wheels, though, as you could find the resulting ride to be a touch too firm. As for handling, the XC60 is competent, but it's not the segment's sportiest entry. Largely because newer and sportier models have come along in recent years, the XC60 can seem out of its element on tight, twisting roads, and its steering is overly light.
Volvo's reputation for tastefully simple interiors is on full display in the 2017 XC60. The inviting cabin features a distinctive "waterfall" center stack that gracefully joins the dash and center console. Operating the climate control is intuitive, but other systems might take some getting used to. In particular, the infotainment system is controlled via a multifunction knob on the center stack rather than a traditional touchscreen or dial mount where your hand naturally rests. Menus for navigation and music browsing can also be confusing.
Seat comfort, on the other hand, is excellent. Front seats are well shaped and appropriately cushioned for long road trips, and the range of adjustments ensure a comfortable position for a variety of body types. Rear seats are similarly accommodating, delivering adult-sized head- and legroom. Volvo is still one of the only manufacturers to offer integrated child booster seats that fold out of the rear bench.
The quality of the interior materials is decent for the class, though some newer SUVs have surpassed the XC60 in terms of overall look and feel. The XC60's age also shows in the overabundance of buttons on the center stack and small infotainment screen. Cargo space is better than average, though, providing 30.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats and up to 67 cubic feet with those seats folded.
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.