in 2012 Luxury Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $24,009 - $30,461
Original MSRP: $33,300 - $48,150
MPG: 19 City / 25 Hwy
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2012 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 2012 Volvo XC60 is powerful for most situations, but the optional turbocharged engine has the best performance. Regardless of trim, they say, there’s no escaping the XC60’s body roll, understeer and bumpy ride.

  • "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 base Volvo XC60 has a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower that should satisfy drivers who aren’t worried about driving the most powerful compact SUV on the market. The T6 and R-Design trims have a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine, but the T6 R-Design is the most powerful. It makes 325 horsepower, while the T6 makes 300. The 3.0-liter engine isn’t as powerful as other cars in the class and tends to struggle uphill, but reviewers enjoy driving it and prefer the extra boost over the base engine.

That additional horsepower, however, takes its toll on fuel economy. The base model averages 19/25 mpg city/highway according to the EPA, and base all-wheel drive models get 18/24 mpg. Turbocharged models, which have standard all-wheel drive, average 17/23 mpg.

  • "The crossover quickly gets up to speed, and throttle response is quick - the XC60 is fast, yet power delivery was smoother than expected from this turbo engine. The transmission is wonderfully smooth, whether in Drive or Manual mode." -- Motor Trend
  • "I was seduced, snookered, suckered by the smoothness of the new XC60's turbocharged 3-liter in-line six-cylinder engine - 300 horsepower, 325 foot-pounds of torque. That's 19 more horsepower and 30 foot-pounds more torque than was available in the 2010 version of that engine." -- The Washington Post
  • "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
  • "The transmission shifts smoothly but occasionally hunts for the right gear when driving on hilly terrain. No XC60 3.2 models have been made available for testing." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Though the Volvo XC60 is large for a compact SUV, test drivers say you may encounter body roll and understeer, but nearly all of them say the XC60 has a bumpy ride.

  • "XC60 is generally comfortable and controlled, with no hint of float or wallow. Some testers find that larger bumps register sharply through the cabin. … Some body lean is apparent in fast cornering, but it hustles around curves with car-like assurance." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Should that red paint and sporty interior begin to make you think you're driving a corner-carver, be prepared to meet some substantial understeer when you start sawing on the wheel. There's just no fighting physics." -- Autoblog
  • "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

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