By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 8.4
The 2017 Volvo XC60 is a compact-luxury SUV from the Swedish automaker that competes with European rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5 and BMW X3, not to mention the Lexus RX, Acura RDX and Cadillac XT5. It's a crowded and competitive field for sure, and the fact the XC60 is among the oldest in its class makes standing out even harder. Still, the 2017 XC60 merits attention. Its once-cutting-edge safety systems like the ability to automatically brake if it senses a collision or detects pedestrians in its path are still notable. This Volvo crossover SUV also boasts stylish design, a wealth of standard features, potent yet efficient engines and classy interiors, all at a price that starts under $42,000.
If you want a smaller luxury SUV that's safe, stylish, loaded with creature comforts and touts the stiffer driving dynamics associated with European cars, put the XC60 on your list. At up to 30 mpg, this Volvo has respectable fuel economy, too.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2017 XC60 lineup is far more streamlined, moving from a dozen trims to four main variants and a choice of two major lines: the sporty-looking Dynamic or more traditional Inscription. The old 5- and 6-cylinder engines are gone, leaving the choice of a turbocharged 4-cylinder or a supercharged and turbocharged 4-cylinder.
Volvo’s XC60 has always felt quick, and that attribute remains even though it exclusively uses 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines for 2017. These aren't ordinary 4-bangers: The one in T5 models is...
... turbocharged to make a more than adequate 240 horsepower, while the other in T6 variants is both supercharged and turbocharged to pump out 302 horsepower. That latter makes the XC60 downright fast. The XC60 remains on the firmer end of the spectrum, risking some harshness on rougher roads. Steering feel is good but a touch slow to react. The XC60 doesn't offer the advanced, semi-autonomous driving features of competitors like the Mercedes GLC or even its all-new big brother the XC90, but it does offer adaptive cruise control and comes standard with Volvo's City Safety collision-avoidance system that can automatically apply the brakes. Engine restarts from the automatic start/stop system can feel abrupt, but the system can be deactivated.
Yes, the name sounds odd, and it has nothing to do with electric propulsion, but Volvo's new engines are energetic and efficient. Through the use of turbocharging or -- in the case of the XC60 T6 -- turbocharging and supercharging, these engines wring out lots of power despite their small size.
ACTIVE SAFETY FEATURES
City Safety is Volvo’s system that can automatically apply the brakes at speeds up to 31 mph if it senses a forward collision and the driver fails to brake. Optional is another system that can detect pedestrians and bicyclists and will brake the vehicle at even higher speeds to avoid an accident.
The Volvo XC60's 2-row, 5-passenger interior benefits from Swedish elegance. The dash includes an available TFT adaptable digital instrument cluster, allowing the driver to select different settings and colors, while all models feature a 7-inch screen that relays navigation and information from Volvo's Sensus system. The sportier-minded Dynamic editions have bits of aluminum sprinkled in the cabin, while the more traditional Inscription models have wood decor. Both use genuine leather upholstery. A trait we've long appreciated in Volvos is the comfortable and supportive driver's seat, and the XC60 is no different. Dynamic models have sport front seats, while the Inscription’s are geared more for comfort.
Volvo design has been sleek and stylish so long that we've nearly forgotten those old boxy shapes. The 2017 Volvo XC60 embodies that aesthetic, featuring a graceful profile and proportions. It all hides a functional vehicle, with low roof rails to reduce wind noise, and an optional crossbar system to carry bikes, kayaks, skis and more. Dynamic trims have black accents and darkened wheels. Top-line T6 R-Design models eschew off-road ability for on-pavement performance, with stylish 20-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. Stick with non-R-Design models if you regularly churn through snow or mud. All models feature a panoramic roof.
With Volvo's shuffling of the 2017 XC60 lineup, this premium-compact SUV is even better equipped out the gate. Whether you opt for a base XC60 T5 in Dynamic or Inscription form, it will come with leather seating, panoramic moonroof, power-adjustable front seats, 40/20/40-folding rear seats, and an infotainment system that bundles navigation system, HD Radio, CD player and Bluetooth phone connectivity. The Volvo XC60's many standard safety features include blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and the City Safety low-speed collision-avoidance system.
In addition to the stronger engine, T6 models feature all-wheel drive (AWD) as standard (it's optional on T5 models), larger wheels and power tailgate (also optional on T5 models). In addition to its sport-tuned chassis, the top-line XC60 R-Design variant has many of the other options available on lower models, including adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, xenon headlights and harman/kardon audio system. Other goodies for 2017 include heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, integrated rear booster seats, rear-seat DVD entertainment system with two screens, power-folding rear headrests and power-retractable side mirrors.
Where in the past the Volvo XC60 has offered 4-, 5- and 6-cylinder engines, the latest version has a choice of just two 2.0-liter 4-cylinder powerplants. T5 models use a turbocharged version, while T6 and R-Design models have an engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged. Both are connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. T5 models are front-wheel drive (FWD) as standard or can be optioned with all-wheel drive (AWD), while all versions of the T6 are now AWD, which mitigates the torque-steer issues we noted in past models that were front-drive. The Volvo XC60 is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds in T5 form and up to 4,400 pounds for T6 models with the more powerful engine.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (XC60 T5)
240 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD), 20/29 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline-4 ( (XC60 T5 & R-Design)
302 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Volvo XC60 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $42,000 for a base T5 Dynamic or Inscription model. That is a few thousand more than last year, but this newer version has more features. The more powerful T6 model starts over $47,000, while the top-line XC60 R-Design begins just under $52,000. Option packages can tack on thousands more. At these prices, the XC60 now nearly mirrors rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Lexus RX. The Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50 continue to tempt with prices starting in the mid-$30K range, as does the new Buick Envision. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Volvo SUV. The XC60's resale value is expected to hold up fairly well, but still trail leaders like the Lexus RX and Audi Q5.