in 2011 Luxury Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $21,019 - $26,881
Original MSRP: $32,900 - $42,150
MPG: 18 City / 25 Hwy
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2011 Volvo XC60 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers say the Volvo XC60 is nimble -- which is impressive considering its chubby curb weight. However, the base engine suffers a bit under all that weight. If you need a lot of power for highway merging and other maneuvers, reviewers recommend you get the turbocharged model.

  • "The XC60 crossover is not as sporty or athletic as some of its competitors, but it is supremely comfortable to drive, with predictable handling and very good ride quality." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The XC60 isn't quite as athletic as the RDX and the X3, but grip, augmented by its standard Haldex 4 all-wheel drive, seems abundant. This Volvo promises to be a pleasant ride to live with." -- Car and Driver
  • "Away from the safe haven of a closed circuit and out on the open road, the XC60 was a little gem. The turbo six pulls strongly, and the handling was safe and predictable." -- AutoWeek
  • “Similar to the Mercedes-Benz GLK350 we tested, the XC60 provides an almost boring driving experience. Just push the gas and it goes. But for this type of family wagon, that's not a bad thing." -- CNET
  • "Performance-wise, the XC60 makes a good case for itself, as it's among the very quickest studies in its class, though nobody will call the turbocharged six-cylinder's soundtrack 'sonorous.' Better still, it corners with surprising alacrity - a performance attribute that Volvo isn't readily known for." -- Autoblog
  • "XC60 is generally comfortable and controlled, with no hint of float or wallow. Some testers find that larger bumps register sharply through the cabin." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The XC60 comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower. There's also a regular 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine that achieves fewer horsepower (240) but better fuel economy. Both are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Reviewers find the turbocharged engine quite powerful – which is surprising considering the XC60’s hefty weight. However, that weight takes a toll on the 3.2-liter engine, which could use more power in passing maneuvers. But while the power in the XC60 is a high point, fuel economy is a low point.

According to the EPA, the turbocharged XC60 achieves 17/22 mpg city/highway, while the non-turbocharged model is rated at 18/24 mpg. While the latter rating is near the top of the class, the turbocharged model’s rating is near the bottom.

  • "The [turbocharged] engine makes the XC60 one quick crossover when accelerating hard from a standstill, and it also feels strong at freeway speeds." -- Cars.com
  • "Although it holds its own, the XC60 would be quicker but for its extra heft, which can be blamed for the disappointing 15-mpg city and 22-mpg highway fuel-economy estimates." -- Car and Driver
  • "The XC60 comes with a turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine that made my heart beat faster every time I started the car. This mom-mobile can haul some serious booty and take on all the curves and traffic chaos without jostling finicky passengers." -- Mother Proof
  • "The T6's turbocharged engine lacks the aural excitement one might expect of an inline-6, but its smooth and energetic power delivery make it the preferred XC60 engine. Models with the base 3.2-liter engine are noticeably slower." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Though the Volvo XC60 is a large vehicle, for a compact SUV, most reviewers are impressed with its nimble handling. All-wheel drive is standard on the T6 model and a $2,000 option on the base model.

  • "Where the XC60 really surprised us was on a long and twisty backcountry highway. Although at crossover height, the car took corners like a champ, showing no tendencies to wallow or roll. However, it's hardly a sports car, though it responded well as we pushed it through these maneuvers, the all-wheel-drive assisting by pushing the power to the wheels that needed it most." -- CNET
  • "The XC60 is not a small vehicle, but on the narrow, twisty roads of Spain, the XC60 exhibited a nicely balanced ride that belied its hefty mass. The chassis is set up to minimize body roll, the steering is precise, and the braking performance is quite good." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "On the highway, the XC60 is quiet and stable. When driven aggressively around corners, there's a general sense that this softly sprung chassis doesn't want to be pushed, even though it can be. The payoff, not surprisingly, is a comfortable ride." -- Edmunds
  • "Some body lean is apparent in fast cornering, but it hustles around curves with car-like assurance. XC60 has an option that allows drivers to adjust steering feedback over three settings via the on-board computer. Most should find the normal setting fine for everyday use." -- Consumer Guide

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