by Michael Waterman
I'm a proud Volvo fan and former owner. I happily drove a Volvo XC70 or Cross Country wagon for a number of years. It was exceptional as a family hauler and boasted incredibly comfortable seats and adequate space for my friends and family. The only knock on the car was its reliability–something Volvo has worked hard to improve.
I see and feel lots of improvement in the 2013 Volvo XC60, a mid-size luxury crossover that seats five and starts at $34,200 for the 3.2 model and rises to a base price of $44,650 for the T6 R-Design. If you're in the market for a luxurious family vehicle that is comfortable, powerful, safe and boasts all-wheel drive, here are five reasons to drive the 2013 Volvo XC60.
Since its introduction in 2008, the Volvo XC60 has rapidly become Volvo's most popular vehicle, selling nearly 13,000 units in 2011 and the car is well on its way to eclipse that total in 2012.
Why does the XC60 outsell other Volvo models? I'll spell out the answers below but in a nutshell, it's safe, it's comfortable, it has plenty of room for a family and, optioned appropriately, it's a spry and speedy thing. If you believe there is strength in numbers, choose the XC60. It's the safe and popular bet.
Would you expect anything less than exceptional safety scores in the Volvo XC60? Of course not; it's a Volvo after all. The 2013 XC60 received 5-star ratings from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in front and side crash tests, plus a 4-star rating in rollover tests.
Not surprisingly, the XC60 is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick. That means this crossover notched the top scores of Good in front, side and rear crash tests. If you value safety as much as you value your family, the XC60 is a great choice to shuttle them from soccer practice to home to school and wherever else you may roam.
In terms of fit and finish, the car looks good and boasts loads of available luxury features including two-tone leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, brushed aluminum highlights, the large panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade, keyless entry and a great sounding stereo system with available navigation.
The seats are exceptionally comfortable. In fact, I've long contended that Volvo should place their seats on casters and install them in offices worldwide. They might give Aeron chairs a roll for their money. The XC60 also has an optional integrated 7-inch color LCD monitor and a capable navigation system that is easy to use and program–once you get used to it. Put it all together and the feeling is one of luxury and style you will enjoy.
The base engine on the XC60 isn't all that exciting–a 3.2-liter six-cylinder that generates 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. But step up to the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine in the T6 (my test car) and you're enjoying 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. That's plenty of giddy-up. In fact, it's enough power that I regularly experienced wheel spin when starting from a dead stop.
Fuel efficiency is average for the class. The EPA predicts the XC60 T6 will return 17 mpg in city driving and 23 mpg on the highway. The 3.2 model improves that score to 19 city and 25 highway. During my week of driving, I covered just over 200 miles and averaged 22 mpg. Frankly, there are three-row crossovers that can match that score such as the Ford Explorer. So fuel efficiency isn't the reason to buy the XC60.
What matters on the XC60 are the powerful engine, the traction control and all-wheel-drive to keep you safe, and the six-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode. It all makes for one enjoyable family vehicle to drive.
What's the best endorsement for a vehicle? I suspect it's a car where high percentages of owners would purchase the same new car again. Consumer Reports reveals that 77 percent of XC60 owners would buy this crossover next time they're in the market for a new car. The only luxury crossover with a higher score is the Audi Q5 that boasts that 78 percent of buyers would repurchase the Q5. That's impressive for the Volvo and Audi alike.
Equally impressive, Consumer Reports places the XC60 on their Recommended list, thanks largely to the top safety scores, polished fit and finish and overall comfort and performance.
Volvo has long been known for boxy and safe wagons. Faced with the choice of buying the current Volvo XC70 or the XC60, I'd probably flip a coin. Both vehicles have their merits and the starting price is nearly the same with the base XC60 costing just $750 more than a new base XC70. My test model T6 AWD was a bit more expensive, starting at $40,450 and topping $48,000 after some tasteful and desirable upgrades.
If push comes to shove, I would ultimately choose the slightly larger, slightly better XC60 over the XC70. Think of it as the new version of the classic Volvo wagon with better reliability ratings and perfect safety scores.
2013 Volvo XC60 Photos Copyright 2012 Waterdog Media, Inc.
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