- Hill descent control automatically steadies vehicle speed on inclines and downhill gradients
- Engine start/stop functionality turns the off engine when vehicle is immobile (at a traffic light) to maximize fuel efficiency
- Rear parking camera
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Speech Activated Functions can control many features including the vehicle’s temperature, media, and connected devices
- Climate control
Beauty and brains—the Volvo XC60 is the whole package. From top-tier safety features available standard across all models, to sophisticated styling and sleek technological features, the XC60 is the crossover SUV that puts the “fun” in functionality. While it may start at a higher price point than over SUVs we tested, the Volvo XC60 has the features and quality to more than back it up. From the impressive IntelliSafe City Safe (which offers braking and steering assistance) to an entirely touchscreen dashboard system, this SUV feels modern while maintaining the reliable reputation of its Volvo name. Our editors put the T6 trim of the Volvo XC60 to the test, and we arranged for week-long loans for three families so they could let us know how well this crossover stands up to everyday family use. Parents loved how easily the XC60 sails down narrow city streets and how quickly it gets up to highway speeds when merging. Parents found it safe, comfortable and easy to drive and editors were loving the smooth and seamless ride. While the touchscreen display of the dash was intimidating to some testers right out the gate, our editors appreciated all the little details held within and the crystal-clear images of the vehicle’s cameras and display, making parking a no-sweat job.
Every parent wants a vehicle that’s going to keep their kids safe, and the Volvo XC60 comes chock-full of standard safety features. It’s not surprising given Volvo’s reputation of building safe vehicles. (This is the company that invented the three-point seatbelt still in use today). Outstanding safety tech is included in all trim levels of the XC60, with Volvo’s IntelliSafe City Safe feature standard. IntellliSafe City Safe, automatically brakes when it detects other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and animals in front of you. It also includes steering support, a feature that activates brakes when you steer quickly around an object, making turning more effective. Run-off Road Mitigation also helps to keep you on the road by steering and, in some cases, braking when you veer from your paved path. And for those who find themselves driving while tired (and let’s be honest, what parent isn’t tired?), the XC60’s Driver Alert Control will monitor your behaviour behind the wheel, using a camera on clearly marked roads and highways to determine whether or not the driver seems in control (no swerving within or out of your lane). If your vehicle detects a dreamy or distracted driver, an audible warning will sound and the XC60 will suggest you take a break.
While the XC60 comes standard with so many great safety features, there are other packages available that give you even more security while on the road. All models of the XC60 come available with optional packages. The Vision package offers features like retractable rear view mirrors (great for scratch-free parking), a blind-spot information system and a park assist pilot that takes over the steering when both parallel and perpendicular parking. The Convenience Package adds features like pilot assist—semi-autonomous drive system with adaptive cruise control, which allows you to pick a speed and the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, so you can relax on the road. One parent tester in particular was a fan of the graphical heads-up display feature (not a standard feature—can be purchased seperately), that allowed her to keep track of her speed, the speed limit and navigation information without having to take her eyes off the road. Rear park assist camera, which helps you to back into or out of close quarters by sounding an alarm when your vehicle detects an imminent object, comes standard on all models minus the Momentum T5. Our editors were also big fans of the 360-degree surround view camera when parking this SUV. This feature, available through the Vision Package (available for all trim levels) gives you an exterior bird’s eye view from above when the XC60 is in reverse making it super-easy to park. Another neat feature you’ll find on all trims is a rain sensor, which automatically regulates the speed of the windshield wipers when it’s raining (just make sure you turn it off before going through a car wash).
Our Today’s Parent Approved editors were impressed with the comfort and adjustability in the front seats. It was a Three Bears moment for them as they described the seats as “firm, but not too firm,” offering up great support while driving. The driver’s seat has a bevy of adjustments, including forwards and backwards, up and down, a tilt up or down, recline and lumbar support. The front seats of the Volvo XC60 also allow you to extend the seat forward for people with longer legs to get a bit more support (standard on every model). All our parent testers reported they had ample legroom behind the wheel and both the lumbar support and headrest were comfortable. Our parent testers also all appreciated how effective the dual climate control was for front passengers, they said they were able to set a comfortable temperature for themselves. The steering wheel on the Volvo XC60 can be moved up and down and is heated all the way around if choose to add on the Climate Package, a feature our editors always appreciate, especially when driving in those cold Canadian winter months.
As is typical with many compact crossovers, the Volvo XC60 sacrifices a bit of legroom in the rear seats for more cargo space. That being said, while you might not be able to pack three grown adults comfortably in the back row, two kids would have more than enough room to lounge out on a long road trip. To make things even more cozy, with the Climate Package, available on all trim levels, you can add heated rear seats (along with heated steering and heated wiper blades) to your ride. Parent testers reported passengers to be quite comfortable while sitting the back for extended periods of time, all agreeing their riders had good head support and ample leg room.
The XC60 has 1,792 litres of cargo space with the rear seats up, putting it in the mid-range of all the compact crossover SUVs we tested. A full-size stroller with a rather bulky fold (the UppaBaby Vista) fits no problem, with enough room left over for a few bags of groceries. An umbrella stroller and a jogging stroller would fit in the rear cargo area. Editors were also easily able to load up a jogging stroller with room left for an umbrella stroller, but, according to our measurements, the depth and length of the cargo space may not be able to accommodate some larger double strollers (like the Valco Ultra Snap Duo). The floor of the cargo area is at a comfortable height and it’s flush with the bumper—meaning you can slide heavy items right out, without listing them over a lip, saving your back and arm muscles.
When you need extra cargo space, the second row of seats in the Volvo XC60 folds down simply, with just the pull of a handle. The seats are quite light, making them easy to put back up. The XC60 is outfitted with a motion activated sensor under the rear bumper standard on every model other than the Momentum T5. When you wave your foot in this area the rear tailgate opens, a feature the one tester who tried it found very easy to use (our editors found this feature works best when the key is very close to the vehicle—like in your coat pocket). The tailgate can also be opened using a button on your key fob, handy for when the kids make it to vehicle with their bags and bundles before you do.
Our editors and parent testers spent their time behind the wheel of the Volvo XC60 T6 trim level, which comes with a more powerful engine than the base XC60. That just means you’ll be able to accelerate more quickly when merging or passing others on the highway. However, with a more powerful engine comes more fuel consumption. The fuel economy of the XC60 is 11.4 L per 100 km in the city and 8.7 L per 100 km on the highway, which is high compared to other SUVs we tested in this class. The XC60 is an always-on all-wheel-drive vehicle, so it’s going to use more gas than front-wheel drive crossovers. That being said, while all-wheel-drive SUVs may consume more fuel than their front-wheel drive counterparts, their fuel economy is still impressive considering what vehicles used to consume across the last decade. The Volvo XC60 is in no way a fuel guzzler.
How long a tank of gas lasted while driving in the city or on the highway divided parent tester’s opinions on fuel efficiency, however most agreed its overall fuel consumption was reasonable. Volvo says the XC60 can take regular fuel but premium fuel is recommended for optimal performance. Since using premium fuel will add to the overall cost of your vehicle, it’s nice to have this flexibility when chauffeuring your family to-and-fro.
The XC60’s turbocharged engine give you lots of power. This type of engine gives you more power from a smaller engine from the moment you push the gas pedal until you let up to coast. And it’s a big part of why our editors said it can handle city and highway driving with ease and all parents strongly agreed the vehicle was easy to drive, with one tester noting the vehicle’s “fun pep” while on the road.
Parking is simple in the XC60. Our editors liked the bird’s eye view camera that gives you a sense of the whole space around the vehicle and an added bonus is two lines on the screen that show you which way your wheels are pointing when backing up.
Both side mirrors have a blind spot warning feature (a light in the corner of the side mirror will light up when another vehicle enters your blind spot)—though it’s worth noting that the XC60 has a really small blind spot. During testing, editors measured this by having one person in the driver’s seat and a second person stand behind the vehicle with their hand held out. The person behind the Volvo XC60 moved out from the side of the vehicle until the driver could see the hand in the rear-view mirror. When on the road, our editors found that there was barely a blink before another vehicle left the mirror and entered into view of the window.
Stepping into the Volvo XC60 for the first time, our editors were very impressed with the beauty of the interior. Details like the real driftwood decor on the dash and along the sides of the interior and the sleek leather seats add touches of luxury to the overall comfort of the XC60. Leather seats are standard across all trim levels of the XC60, however the type of leather changes as you move up the line. The Momentum model comes standard with leather seats, which can be upgraded to sport leather. Both the R-Design and Inscription trims come outfitted with their own R-Design leather and Inscription leather respectively. A panoramic sunroof comes standard across all trim levels of the XC60, and our editors were fans of the extra light and levity it brings to the driving experience.
Our parent testers were unanimous in finding the interior of the vehicle stylish and felt the material of the seats and siding were made of high-quality material. All testers agreed the stitching in this vehicle’s detailing was tight and secure all no one found the material to scratch easily. Despite being carpeted, parents found the floor mats effective at hiding messes in the cabin. However, if you find your little one likes to snack in the back seat, Volvo offers a protection package that can be added to any model for an extra $295, providing plastic floor mats for both driver and passenger compartment for easy spray down cleaning.
INSTALLING A CAR SEAT
Installing a car seat can often be an exercise in frustration. Luckily, the two sets of ISOFIX anchors in the second row make installing your car seat a little easier. With its shorter height and limited space between the front and rear seats, the interior of the XC60 can feel a bit small when trying to manoeuvre yourself around a bulky car seat. When installing a large convertible car seat in the XC60, our editors determined this works best as a one-person task, as two adults moving around in the cabin can get a bit crowded.
Our editors and one parent tester reported that they had to move the front passenger seat all the way forward (rendering it unusable) in order to accommodate a convertible car seat in the rear facing position at the correct infant recline angle. That being said, one tester was not disappointed by the XC60 when installing her two rather large convertible car seats in the back row (although she did note there was less room to buckle them in). Putting your child in and getting them out of the car seat once it’s installed wasn’t difficult—no heads or elbows were bumped in the process. If you’re going to install a rear-facing car seat in the XC60, you’ll want to consider installing it in the middle seat where you won’t need to move seats forward. With a car seat installed in the middle seat, you’ll slightly compromise the comfort of the outboard seats while retailing their functionality.
A large touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard serves as the hub for your entertainment, as well as housing your navigation and climate controls. Each trim level of the XC60 includes access to Sirius XM radio, as well as Apple Carplay and Android Auto—just connect your device to the vehicle via USB to enjoy access to your messaging, music and more. When plugged into the USB port, the XC60 will also charge your phone—handy for long road trips. Editors and parent testers agreed that the Bowers & Wilkins Premiere Sound System (an additional feature that can be added to any trim level for an extra cost) was great, filling the entire cabin with clear and deep sound. Volvo also offers various sound settings depending on your EQ preference—our editors’ favourite was the Gothenburg Concert Hall setting, which supplied a rich and powerful audio experience throughout the entire vehicle.
This SUV, like many others, also allows you to connect your phone via Bluetooth to access media or internet (as well as messaging and calling), however editors and parent testers alike had some difficulty trying to pair their device to the vehicle, with one tester finding it very difficult to make calls or send text messages through her Bluetooth-connected device using voice commands. That said, some parent testers had no compatibility issues.
While the screen is laid out similarly to a smartphone (with the ability to swipe between pages), both parent testers and editors found that there was a definite learning curve. Volvo offers a brief tutorial to drivers at the dealership when they pick up their vehicle, and it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. Volvo includes a suite of free in-car apps that can help you find and pay for parking, share your location with others and find a coffee shop or gas station, and maps give you real-time traffic information and will suggest alternate routes if there is traffic congestion.
With the exception of the volume, every aspect of the entertainment system is controlled through the touchscreen. Our parent testers noted that this required some work and requires the driver to take their eyes off the road from time to time. However, Volvo does have audible control so you can speak commands, and our editors found it to work well when the driver spoke loud and clear. The voice control feature responds to specific commands, but these are given to you each time you press the button (so you don’t have to worry about memorizing a list of prompts). All you do have to press the voice control button every time you wish to change something on the display, however, this is not a major inconvenience as the voice command button is easily accessible on your steering wheel.
Price is going to be a factor when you’re buying a vehicle and the Volvo XC60 starts at $46,350—which is at the higher end of the compact-crossover SUVs we tested. However, the Volvo XC60 is classified as a luxury vehicle, and the amount of safety, style and functional features that come standard across all trim levels is impressive. As mentioned earlier, the XC60 comes standard with a long list of safety features that aren’t always offered at base model prices. The XC60 R-Design (the mid trim level) we tested has as starting price of $56,000, with optional packages and equipment (mentioned above) that can be added for an extra cost. The top trim, Inscription, starts at $57,600. Considering all the safety, technology and family-friendly features included in these base prices, you get a lot in a vehicle.
It’s not every day you find something so fun and functional in one stylish package. Not only were parents major fans of the Volvo XC60’s slew of safety features, but they were also taken with its overall quality and how fun it was to take on the road. None of them would hesitate recommending it to family or friends. Our editors were also impressed with the level of technology found in this vehicle, and enjoyed their time listening to music through the stunning sound system and maneouvering the streets with the incredibly detailed navigation system. The majority of our parent testers gave the Volvo XC60 very good ratings for ease of use and quality, though their views were a bit mixed when it came to value for money. That said, the XC60 offers many great features, such as IntelliSafe City Safe and panoramic sunroof, standard across all trims—giving you bang for your buck. Parents also felt the comfort and appearance, not to mention how fun the vehicle was to drive, added to its overall value. Urban families, with a taste for new technologies and longing for a full set of safety features at their disposal, can rest easy in the Volvo XC60. From steering and braking assist, to leather seats and touchscreen tech, the XC60 has something to offer both the parent and kid in all of us.
- Up to five passengers
- Two rows of seating
- ISOFIX anchors for 2 car seats
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES
- Driver side knee airbag, front-side airbags and inflatable curtain airbags that prevent head impact for driver and passengers
- Cruise control
- Run-off mitigation steers you back onto road should you veer off the road
- Front seat whiplash protection shifts energy-absorbing seats into a position that reduces whiplash
- Tempered glass windows on side and rear doors prevent injury when they shatter in the event of a collision because tempered glass shatters into dull round pieces, not shards.
- T5: City 10.7 L/100 km
- T5: Highway 8.5 L/100 km
- T6: City 11.4 L/100 km
- T6: Highway 8.7 L/100 km
ENGINE, HORSEPOWER, TOWING
- T5: 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine
- T5: 250 horsepower at 5,500 rpm
- T5: 258 lb.-ft. torque at 1,500 rpm
- T5: 1,580-kg (3,483-lb.) towing capacity
- T6: 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged engine
- T6: 316 horsepower at 5,700 rpm
- T6: 295 lb.-ft. torque at 2,200 rpm
- T6: 1,580-kg (3,483-lb.) towing capacity