2019 Volvo XC60

By September 11, 2019

The mid-size Volvo XC60 was a new vehicle last year, and it returns for 2019 with few changes. Typically Volvo, it’s quiet, calm, serene, cozy and high in quality. Its cabin is sharp and its face good-looking, with signature angular headlamps like bright keen eyes. 

For 2019 it introduces an entry-level model with front-wheel drive. It uses the same 2.0-liter turbo-4 making 250 horsepower, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available.

There are two more powerplants: a  supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter making 316 horsepower with all-wheel drive, and a plug-in hybrid that takes that engine and mates it to a 10.4-kwh battery and 87-hp electric motor for a total of 400 horsepower. It has an all-electric range of 17 miles.

The EPA rates the new front-drive XC60 T5 at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 24 combined (on premium fuel), and the T5 AWD at 20/27/23 mpg. The 316-hp T6 AWD gets 19/27/22 mpg. The T8 plug-in hybrid is EPA-rated at 26 mpg combined.

Every XC60 comes standard with forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and road sign recognition. Optional safety equipment includes a surround-view camera system, parking sensors, and blind-spot monitors.

The XC60 hasn’t been fully crash-tested, however the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick, with top scores on every test it’s done so far. The optional Pilot Assist driver-assistance system keeps the car in the center of its lane, including around bends; and in stop-and-go traffic it takes over the gas pedal and brake, as well. 

Model Lineup

The XC60 is available in Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription models.

The front-wheel-drive T5 Momentum, at $42,000, comes standard with leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, a power liftgate, premium audio, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It also gets the active safety package with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and road sign recognition. 

The R-Design is meant to be sporty, with firmer suspension tuning. 

The Inscription for about $48,000 replaces the gauges with a digital driver information display, and has 19-inch wheels, four-zone climate control, navigation, and driftwood trim.

The T6 is available in any model for about $3,400, while the T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain adds an additional $8,000. 

Exterior

The Volvo XC60 doesn’t have the tall and steep lines of the bigger XC90 wagon; it’s smoother, with a high grille and tall taillights. The sharp grille is framed by thin hammer-shaped headlamps, called “Thor’s Hammers” by cheeky engineers. 

Interior

Soothing shapes abound in the minimalist interior. The simple (optional) driftwood strip on the dash oozes calm. The instrument panel isn’t cluttered with buttons and knobs. A portrait-style 9.0-inch touchscreen is planted in the dash, maybe not so minimalist after all. Nappa leather and crystal gearshift knobs sound lavish, and look that way too. 

Volvo’s infotainment system is one of our favorites, with vertical orientation, easy-to-follow menus, and embedded Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. 

The XC60 is five inches shorter than the XC90. It is 186.4 inches long, with a wheelbase of 112.8 inches. Seating abounds for up to five adults. Volvo makes great seats, too: The front seats are comfortable, not bulky and look good in leather. The rear seats can be heated. There’s good rear legroom. Two rear passengers are comfortable, though three will need to be friendly, not grumpy. 

With the seats up, the XC60 carries 29.7 cubic feet of cargo; with them down, it’s 50.6 cubic feet.

Outward vision is generally good, although the rear pillars are thick. 

Driving Impressions

Most of our seat time has been in the T6 AWD, which accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. It finds power at lower revs and hums through the miles, while the 8-speed automatic is seamless and unobtrusive. 

The base 2.0-liter turbo with 250 horsepower is also used in the XC90, so in the much lighter XC60 (no third-row seat), the engine doesn’t work so hard. You can feel and hear the difference, as the engine seems to sigh in relief.   

We didn’t get much seat time in the plug-in hybrid, just enough to find the regenerative braking system made the brake pedal feel spongy. Volvo says the T8’s battery can be charged in four hours with a Level 2 home charger. 

There is a drive selector with Economy, Comfort, and Dynamic modes that change throttle, transmission and suspension responses to provide what the selector promises. 

The ride is composed, on a suspension with double wishbones in front, and integral-link transverse leaf spring setup in the rear. An optional air suspension lowers the car for better aero, or raises it for better off-roading. The off-road mode also engages hill-descent control, and slows the throttle and steering for very rugged areas. 

T8 models get battery conservation and battery charge modes. 

Final Word

In the Volvo XC60 family, the T6 drivetrain shines. With its 316-hp engine and happy ride and handling. It’s precise, controlled, and has a composed ride to go with the SUV’s classy cabin and distinctive styling.