This year, the 2019 Volvo XC60 adds a front-wheel drive configuration to its base powertrain to appeal to sunny state buyers.
We haven’t yet driven that version, but we’re not sure it’d spoil our good feelings about the XC60’s engine lineup.
Starting from an average score, the Volvo XC60 earns points for its trio of competent powertrains and a composed ride that gets better with an optional air suspension. We land at a 7. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The XC60 boasts a trio of powertrains built from a shared foundation. The entry-level engine, dubbed T5 in Volvo speak, is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 250 horsepower and is the only engine available with front- or all-wheel drive.
The next step up for the XC60 is a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 316 hp, called T6. It’s available only with all-wheel drive and accelerates the XC60 up to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
At the top, a plug-in hybrid T8 mates the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 to a 10.4-kwh battery and 87-hp electric motor for a total system output of 400 hp. The XC60 is rated for an electric range of 17 miles, and Volvo estimates that charging the crossover on a common Level 2 home charger would take about 4 hours. Regenerative braking in the T8 versions is a rare lowlight; we’ve noticed a somewhat spongy brake pedal that feels less than natural.
All XC60s shift power through a standard 8-speed automatic that’s seamless and unobtrusive. Most of our experience in the XC60 has been behind the wheels of T6 AWD versions that find power early in the rev range and settle quietly to hum through miles. The same powertrains are found in the XC90, although we like the XC60 application better. Behind the wheel, the engines are less thrummy in the XC60, less taxed to move the prodigious weight attached to three rows. Toggling the drive selector modes through Economy, Comfort, and Dynamic changes throttle and transmission responses in predictable ways—Comfort is the happy medium between relaxed and nearly jittery.
The drive selector also changes the suspension setup in all but the base steel spring suspension, which is comprised of double wishbones in front, and integral-link and transverse leaf spring rear.
The optional air suspension raises or lowers the XC60 for better aerodynamics or better off-road clearance, depending on situation. Economy cuts boost to the air dampers and power steering to add heft to the wheel. Comfort adds creaminess to the dampers and steering that’s truth in advertising. Dynamic puts heft back into the wheel, cuts the stop/start for the engine, stiffens responses and helps the XC60 track down smoother roads.
For the rare occasions that the Volvo scrambles up a mountainside, the off-road mode slightly increases ground clearance, engages hill-descent control, slows throttle and steering responses to better stalk through off-road passages.
Plug-in hybrid T8 versions get battery conservation modes or charge modes to maintain or recharge batteries.
Review continues below