Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2012 Volvo XC60 If...
If you prize safety as much as looks, versatility, power and standing out from the crowd, you’ll feel right at home in an XC60. At 9.1 inches, the Volvo also boasts higher ground clearance than competitors, making it more suitable for light off-road excursions. And in R-Design form, the 2012 XC60 is the most powerful gas-powered SUV in its class.
You May Not Like The 2012 Volvo XC60 If...
If you want an SUV with better fuel economy than the XC60’s best case of 25 mpg on the highway, consider the Audi Q5 with a 4-cylinder that rated up to 27 mpg or the Volkswagen Touareg TDI, rated up to 28 mpg. If you need to carry more than five passengers, you’ll want to step up to a larger, 3-row SUV.
The 2012 Volvo XC60 has multiplied its trim forms for a total of 10, but they are based off three major ones: the base 3.2, the turbocharged T6 and the top-end-turbo R-Design. All-wheel-drive is standard for models with the turbo engine and optional on the 3.2. This year the R-Design gets a hefty power boost, rising to 325-horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque for class-leading status. New trim forms for the XC60 are designated Premier, Premier Plus and, at the top, Platinum. The R-Design XC60 with the 3.2-liter engine has been discontinued for 2012. T6 models are available with the Dynamic Package, which includes Volvo’s FOUR-C Active Chassis control, speed-sensitive power steering and xenon headlights.
As befitting a Swedish automobile, the XC60’s interior is sleek and relatively understated. There are many controls and buttons in the dash, but they are easy to identify and use, most notably the ventilation controls in the shape of a human. To direct air to your upper body, just hit the figure’s "head." Contrasting colors adorn seats and door panels, and the bucket-style front seats are very comfortable. On the downside, the manual lumbar controls are awkwardly place and hard to turn. The complicated screens on the optional navigation system are inferior to touch menus found on even store-bought units.
Today’s Volvos look nothing like the blocky models of the past, and nowhere is that more apparent than the XC60. Bucking the squared edges and boxy greenhouses of other SUVs, the Volvo has a wonderfully curved and shapely rear that is highlighted by bright taillights. Lovely in form, the 2012 Volvo XC60 is still functional. The vehicle’s roof rails are low to reduce wind noise, and an optional crossbar system can be attached to carry bikes, kayaks, skis and more. R-Design models have larger, more stylish wheels that lessen the XC60’s off-road abilities. If you regularly traverse snow or mud or mud, we recommend the base 3.2 or T6 trim.
Not surprisingly, the 2012 Volvo XC60 offers distinct driving impressions depending on what’s under the hood. The base, 240-horsepower 6-cylinder engine has enough oomph to get the Volvo SUV up to speed adequately, clocking a 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds. Moving up to the turbocharged inline-6, however, provides a much more rewarding experience. With a 0-60 mph time of just 6.9 seconds, this version of the XC60 feels downright quick, effortlessly getting up to speed on freeways or passing slower vehicles. The downside of the turbo, though, is that its improved dynamics can come at the expense of harsher ride quality. With the standard 17-inch wheels and tires, the XC60 3.2 offers a smooth, comfy and quiet ride. The larger wheels found on the more powerful versions of the Volvo, however, make for a firmer ride and a noisier cabin. On highways, all XC60s feel stable and well-behaved.
The 2012 Volvo XC60 3.2 has a Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $34,000, including destination charge. An XC60 T6 starts at $40,325, while a top-of-the-line T6 R-Design comes in at $44,575. When fully-optioned, an R-Design model can approach $57,000. With a price range this wide, the Volvo XC60 can compete at the low-end with crossovers like the Acura RDX at just under $34,000 and the Infiniti EX35, which starts closer to $37,000. At the high-end, an XC60 T6 R-Design with all the options is close in price to an equally loaded Mercedes-Benz GLK350 ($58,000) and Audi Q5 3.2 ($59,000), and higher than a fully loaded Lexus RX 350 ($53,000). To make your best deal, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price which reflects what others in your area have paid for their XC60. As for resale, we expect the 2012 Volvo XC60 to retain slightly-better-than-average values over a 5-year period, outperforming the Land Rover LR2 and Mercedes-Benz GLK350, but falling below the Audi Q5, Acura RDX and Lexus RX 350.
A base 2012 Volvo XC60 comes with a 3.2-liter 6-cylinder engine, 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, skid plates on the front and rear, the City Safety system, a 5-year/50,000 mile warranty, complimentary factory scheduled maintenance for five years, and five years of roadside assistance. Also standard are steering wheel-mounted audio controls, power windows, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface with audio streaming, a 160-watt, 8-speaker sound system with CD/DVD player and HD Radio, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
Additions to the XC60 include in-dash navigation, dual-screen rear entertainment system, 12-speaker premium sound system, heated rear seats, panoramic roof with power sunshade, and a walnut steering wheel. On the safety front, more options abound, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and a pedestrian detection system with full auto braking capability.
City SafeThis system provides a technological safety net for distracted drivers. At speeds of 19 mph or below, the system senses stopped or slow-moving objects ahead – such as other cars in stop-and-go traffic – and automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not. Volvo says the system can avoid or at the least lessen the severity of accidents.T6 R-DesignWith increased horsepower and torque, the 2012 T6 R-Design XC60 is now the segment’s crossover to beat. Fuel economy for this version isn’t fabulous – 17 mpg city/23 highway – but it’s not worse than the other turbo engine used in the mid-level T6, and can still run on regular unleaded.2012 Volvo XC60 Details
Under the Hood
The 2012 Volvo XC60 3.2 is powered by a modest 3.2-liter in-line 6-cylinder. T6 models employ a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line 6-cylinder engine that puts out 300 horsepower. R-Design models give a further boost to the turbo engine, improving output to 325 horsepower. All XC60 models can run on regular unleaded gasoline and are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity for all models is limited to 3,300 pounds.3.2-liter inline-6240 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm236 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm325 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (R-Design edition)325 horsepower @ 5,400-6,500 rpm354 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-3,600 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
The 2012 Volvo XC60 does battle in the highly competitive segment of smaller luxury SUVs against stalwarts such as the Lexus RX and BMW X3, as well as other competitors like the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Cadillac SRX. But the XC60 sets itself apart with the one thing that has long identified the Volvo brand: safety. In this case, every XC60 comes standard with the City Safety system, which can prevent accidents by automatically applying the brakes in certain situations where the driver is distracted or otherwise fails to stop. In addition to brains, the XC60 boasts beauty. Available in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) and with two main engine options, the XC60 boasts exterior curves that set it apart from the blocky shapes of Volvos past.