2012 Volvo XC60

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2012 Volvo XC60 Review

By KBB.com Editors

KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The 2012 Volvo XC60 does battle in the highly competitive segment of smaller luxury SUVs against stalwarts such as the Lexus RX and BMW X3, as well as other competitors like the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Cadillac SRX. But the XC60 sets itself apart with the one thing that has long identified the Volvo brand: safety. In this case, every XC60 comes standard with the City Safety system, which can prevent accidents by automatically applying the brakes in certain situations where the driver is distracted or otherwise fails to stop. In addition to brains, the XC60 boasts beauty. Available in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) and with two main engine options, the XC60 boasts exterior curves that set it apart from the blocky shapes of Volvos past.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you prize safety as much as looks, versatility, power and standing out from the crowd, you'll feel right at home in an XC60. At 9.1 inches, the Volvo also boasts higher ground clearance than competitors, making it more suitable for light off-road excursions. And in R-Design form, the 2012 XC60 is the most powerful gas-powered SUV in its class.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you want an SUV with better fuel economy than the XC60's best case of 25 mpg on the highway, consider the Audi Q5 with a 4-cylinder that rated up to 27 mpg or the Volkswagen Touareg TDI, rated up to 28 mpg. If you need to carry more than five passengers, you'll want to step up to a larger, 3-row SUV.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Volvo XC60 has multiplied its trim forms for a total of 10, but they are based off three major ones: the base 3.2, the turbocharged T6 and the top-end-turbo R-Design. All-wheel-drive is standard for models with the turbo engine and optional on the 3.2. This year the R-Design gets a hefty power boost, rising to 325-horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque for class-leading status. New trim forms for the XC60 are designated Premier, Premier Plus and, at the top, Platinum. The R-Design XC60 with the 3.2-liter engine has been discontinued for 2012. T6 models are available with the Dynamic Package, which includes Volvo's FOUR-C Active Chassis control, speed-sensitive power steering and xenon headlights.

Driving the XC60
Driving Impressions

Not surprisingly, the 2012 Volvo XC60 offers distinct driving impressions depending on what's under the hood. The base, 240-horsepower 6-cylinder engine has enough oomph to get the Volvo SUV up...

... to speed adequately, clocking a 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds. Moving up to the turbocharged inline-6, however, provides a much more rewarding experience. With a 0-60 mph time of just 6.9 seconds, this version of the XC60 feels downright quick, effortlessly getting up to speed on freeways or passing slower vehicles. The downside of the turbo, though, is that its improved dynamics can come at the expense of harsher ride quality. With the standard 17-inch wheels and tires, the XC60 3.2 offers a smooth, comfy and quiet ride. The larger wheels found on the more powerful versions of the Volvo, however, make for a firmer ride and a noisier cabin. On highways, all XC60s feel stable and well-behaved.

City Safe
This system provides a technological safety net for distracted drivers. At speeds of 19 mph or below, the system senses stopped or slow-moving objects ahead - such as other cars in stop-and-go traffic - and automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not. Volvo says the system can avoid or at the least lessen the severity of accidents.

T6 R-Design
With increased horsepower and torque, the 2012 T6 R-Design XC60 is now the segment's crossover to beat. Fuel economy for this version isn't fabulous - 17 mpg city/23 highway - but it's not worse than the other turbo engine used in the mid-level T6, and can still run on regular unleaded.
2012 Volvo XC60 Details

2012 Volvo XC60 Details
2012 Volvo XC60 photo Interior

As befitting a Swedish automobile, the XC60's interior is sleek and relatively understated. There are many controls and buttons in the dash, but they are easy to identify and use, most notably the ventilation controls in the shape of a human. To direct air to your upper body, just hit the figure's "head." Contrasting colors adorn seats and door panels, and the bucket-style front seats are very comfortable. On the downside, the manual lumbar controls are awkwardly place and hard to turn. The complicated screens on the optional navigation system are inferior to touch menus found on even store-bought units.

2012 Volvo XC60 photo

Today's Volvos look nothing like the blocky models of the past, and nowhere is that more apparent than the XC60. Bucking the squared edges and boxy greenhouses of other SUVs, the Volvo has a wonderfully curved and shapely rear that is highlighted by bright taillights. Lovely in form, the 2012 Volvo XC60 is still functional. The vehicle's roof rails are low to reduce wind noise, and an optional crossbar system can be attached to carry bikes, kayaks, skis and more. R-Design models have larger, more stylish wheels that lessen the XC60's off-road abilities. If you regularly traverse snow or mud or mud, we recommend the base 3.2 or T6 trim.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base 2012 Volvo XC60 comes with a 3.2-liter 6-cylinder engine, 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, skid plates on the front and rear, the City Safety system, a 5-year/50,000 mile warranty, complimentary factory scheduled maintenance for five years, and five years of roadside assistance. Also standard are steering wheel-mounted audio controls, power windows, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface with audio streaming, a 160-watt, 8-speaker sound system with CD/DVD player and HD Radio, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

Optional Equipment

Additions to the XC60 include in-dash navigation, dual-screen rear entertainment system, 12-speaker premium sound system, heated rear seats, panoramic roof with power sunshade, and a walnut steering wheel. On the safety front, more options abound, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and a pedestrian detection system with full auto braking capability.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Volvo XC60 3.2 is powered by a modest 3.2-liter in-line 6-cylinder. T6 models employ a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line 6-cylinder engine that puts out 300 horsepower. R-Design models give a further boost to the turbo engine, improving output to 325 horsepower. All XC60 models can run on regular unleaded gasoline and are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity for all models is limited to 3,300 pounds.

3.2-liter inline-6
240 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (R-Design edition)
325 horsepower @ 5,400-6,500 rpm
354 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg

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