by Tony West and Sommer Thornton
Volvo remixed its luxury SUV to make the ultra efficient tech-advanced XC60. The 2015 Volvo XC60 has multiple sport and technology packages available including the R design and 5 engine options. Volvo added efficiency with Start/Stop Technology and simplistic luxury to the interior and exterior for an all around contemporary sophisticated SUV. We reviewed the XC60 T6 Drive-E Platinum Edition, the cool SUV perfect for a lake trip or a beach getaway this summer.[divider]
Sophisticated Upgrades to Exterior
The 2015 Volvo XC60 exterior design echoes the 2013 model in many ways. The 2015 version has a lower wider stance with a slightly bigger chrome grille. Eighteen -inch alloy wheels are standard and 19 inch wheels are available. Twenty-inch wheels are standard on the Platinum edition. The sporty R design adds a tech matte black grille and high-tech R tailpipes. The platinum edition features active dual xenon headlights with washers and LED daytime running lights. Fans are very impressed with the design of the 2015 XC60, from its stouter stance to its stylish interior design.
The 2015 XC60 utilizes a high strength steel safety cage that makes the ride pretty uncomfortable but safety optimal. Resilience is probably the highest in the XC60 than any other SUV. The R sport model has an even stiffer chassis with firmer shock absorbers.
The Volvo XC60 has a collection of sailing inspired Ocean Race Edition whips available with a unique emblem on the tread plates and front fenders. The Ocean Race Edition is available in Ocean Blue, Bright Silver, Black Sapphire, and Crystal White with a black or blonde leather interior and orange stitching. The special edition Ocean Race edition also has 18 inch Portunus wheels. [divider]
Efficient Performance Yields Drawbacks
The Volvo XC60 aims to be the most efficient SUV in its class. Lots of new efficient technology, along with versatile engine options help the 2015 XC60 achieve ULEV status and a combined EPA of 25 mpg (22 mpg city/ 30 mph highway.) As impressive as its fuel economy is, it has some disadvantages. Start/Stop technology is a popular new engine component that allows the car to shut off the engine and reduce major electrical functions when the vehicle is idle. Start/Stop in the Volvo XC60 is very aggressive, in that the engine shuts down immediately after the driver takes his foot off the accelerator.
While Start/Stop tech saves a lot of fuel, it can create some dangerous scenarios; like when I’m pulling up in an intersection and have to brake before I make a left turn, or when I’m parking and reverse, or even when I’m in heavy stop and go traffic. Start/Stop in other whips poses less danger because the engine shuts off only after more than 15 seconds of idle time– not after a millisecond like in the XC60. The aggressive Start/Stop function in the 2015 XC60 shuts off the engine, reduces the heating-A/C and reduces audio volume even before the car comes to a complete stop. If on a hill, the car may roll back, even on the brakes. The Start/Stop function is easily disabled with a button in the center stack.
Ironically, the 2015 XC60 is super efficient even with the Start/Stop function disabled because of its engine options and its “eco” function that adjusts transmission shift time, engine management, and transmission.
The 2015 Volvo XC60 we tested has the super turbo 2.0 liter T6 Drive-E engine with direct injection, 306 horsepower, and 295 lb-ft of torque. The sporty platinum edition has an 8 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Start/Stop technology. A 6 speed Geartronic automatic transmission is standard. Also available is a 3.0 liter T6 AWD engine and a Drive-E T5 Engine with 245 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque, and an 8 speed automatic transmission; it also has an AWD companion. An AWD 5 cylinder D5 turbo diesel is also available with 215 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque with a manual transmission. Lastly a D4 Drive-E turbo diesel is optional with 181 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque as is a D3 5 cylinder engine with 136 horsepower.
The ride in the XC60, with all its efficiency tech and touring chassis with advanced stability control and roll stability controls is rigid and uncomfortable. Volvo has a history of rigid steel chassis and 2015 saw no deviation from this. Safety seems to have forfeited driver and passenger comfort because it felt like I was bouncing around in a steel cage. Riding on bumpy streets, cornering, and braking should be cushioned in the cabin. The active chassis system regulates shock absorbers and adds a “comfort” mode and the more responsive “sport” mode that adjusts steering, brakeforce, and transmission.
Accelerating hard in the XC60 was sometimes scary because its power rockets the rear wheels an spins out even on dry flat surfaces. The XC60 is a powerful SUV with tons of dynamic technology like torque vectoring control, standard corner traction control, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, electronic brakeforce distribution, and power assisted rack & pinion steering. The XC60 has standard MacPherson front strut suspension and rear multilink suspension. Some of the dynamic technology may be working too hard against safety features, which is why the ride in the XC60 was rarely relaxing.[divider]
Numerous Safety Features Outperform Peers
The best features the XC60 has is with its safety technology, otherwise known as Intellisafe. The 2015 XC60 T6 Drive-E platinum edition has standard City Safety – low speed collision avoidance system. At speeds less than 50 km/ hr, City Safety can enact the auto brake if the driver fails to react to an impending collision. The XC60 also has an updated Blind Spot Information System. Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with auto brake detects approaching pedestrians and cyclists and can auto apply the brakes in a perceived collision. Technology like Active High Beams, Cornering Light, and Active Bending Light help the driver see the road more effectively by auto adjusting lighting.
Adaptive Cruise Control with Que Assist is included with the technology package, along with Distance Alert, Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Road Sign Information that projects road warnings on the driver’s dash. The Blind Spot Information package includes the Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Merge Aid, and Front and Rear Park Assist.
Other safety and dynamic features include the Lane Change Merge Aid, Active Yaw Control that maintains stability by braking one or more wheels, Spin Control, engine drag control, trailer stability assist, and Hill Start/ Descent Assist. All of these safety features with a rigid steel cage and efficient engine / transmission options make the 2015 XC60 one of the most effective SUVs on the road.
Stylish Functional Interior
Volvo’s 2015 XC60 interior could be its best attribute with its leather trim, chrome accents, and functional sophisticated technology. The interior of the Platinum T6 Drive-E model features two-tone leather seats with contract stitching and 8-way power front seats. Even though there’s limited legroom, the XC60 has adequate space in the front. The trunk is average sized with limited vertical space. The dash design is simplistic but tech advanced with an adaptive digital TFT display. Important information like time, temperature, speed, rpm’s, fuel gauge, average mpg’s, oil life, tire pressure, range, ecometer, and steering pattern can be customized to either an Eco, Elegance, or Performance theme. I wanted there to be a detailed ecometer that would show the advantages of Start/ Stop technology and other efficiency technology like in the Ford Fusion.
Other cool features include the heated rearview mirrors, panoramic sunroof, heated leather and silk metal steering wheel, power sunshade, folding electronic head restraints, rain sensing wipers, 40/20/40 fold flat seats, power tailgate, and the power retractable side mirrors (even though they sometimes folded for no reason.)
The dash is concaved in a way that allows for maximum legroom. The futuristic center stack has less buttons but more functionality proving that simplicity can = a new level of sophistication. Aside from telephone dials, there are buttons for “radio”, “media”, “navigation”, “A/C”, “camera” “eco”, “defrost”, “park assist”, “start/stop” and “collision assist.” Audio, climate control, heated seats, and the menu utilizes 4 chrome trimmed knobs. The center stack looks cleaner and is easier to utilize without being distracted. Very cool is a caricature that replaces a traditional climate mode button.
The 2015 XC60 has premium infotainment with a 7 inch color LCD monitor for navigation, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, and HD radio. An 8-speaker premium sound system is standard. Navigation features real-time traffic.
Sensus connect includes cloud based services like parking, streaming music, restaurant searches, and connective service booking. A 12 speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system comes standard with Sensus Connect in the Platinum model.
The 2015 Volvo XC60 has a MSRP of $40,050, comparable to the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and the Cadillac SRX. The XC60’s interior and exterior style alone gives them a run for the money. Performance is good, and efficiency is great. Fine tuning the Start/Stop technology and making the ride more comfortable will make the XC60 a winner.