The all-new 2018 Volvo XC60 ticks every all-wheel-drive crossover box while applying a uniquely Swedish touch of luxury and design. It’s so good that you just might want to upgrade your Subaru—if you've got some spare cash.
What Is It?
The XC60 starts at $41,500 and can be optioned all the way up to more than $70,000. That makes it a direct rival for cars like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The base engine in this midsize luxury crossover is a 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, confusingly dubbed the T5. An additional $3,400 buys you the 316-horsepower turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four. Go up $11,400 and you’ll get the T8 hybrid, which adds an electric motor to the twin-charged engine for a total of 400 horsepower. That range-topping hybrid includes a $5,002 federal tax incentive, and it’s worth noting that the combination of forced induction with electric power works uniquely well in the power-sapping thin air of high altitudes. This thing remains a rocket ship even over high mountain passes and makes this Volvo as fast as a Porsche Macan S.
Who’s It For?
Unlike the competition, the XC60 puts comfort ahead of razor-sharp handling. It’s also the safest car in its class. It comes standard with a comprehensive safety package, including an active collision avoidance system for pedestrians and cyclists, and its front-facing cameras can even read road signs. If you speed past a school zone sign, for instance, the XC60 will warn you to slow down.
That all speaks to the reason why Volvo is unabashedly targeting this vehicle at families concerned about safety and comfort—the most important person in the XC60 isn’t the driver, it’s the passengers.
A single piece of driftwood spans the XC60’s dashboard. It’s a unique, striking, bold touch—one that defines the XC60’s clean, uncluttered, and warm interior. The rest of the interior is almost button-free, with most functions occurring through the nine-inch touchscreen display. Sync your phone through Apple Car Play or Android Auto and you’ll have half the screen real estate remaining for vehicle functions like heating and cooling or media system controls.
There is one confusing button: Though the shift lever has the usual D, N, and R, it moves the P to a separate button, which is awkward and has no discernible advantage.
Outside, Volvo’s had a harder time breaking the crossover mold. This car still looks like a wagon on stilts. As is category practice, the LED lighting is the most striking external feature.
Driven a Subaru? Add some refinement and you have the XC60. It lacks the hard edges of a BMW, Audi, Porsche, or Mercedes, but it’s more responsive and fun than anything made by Acura or Lexus.
More to the point: How does it do in inclement weather or on a rough dirt road? Well, once you’ve fitted winter tires, the XC60’s Haldex AWD system is up there with the best and constantly evaluates traction to optimize to which wheel torque is delivered. Off-road ability will be up there with a Subaru—better than other crossovers, not as good as a true 4×4—for the same reason.
Spec the optional air suspension, though, and you’ll be able to add an additional 40 millimeters of ground clearance on demand. That’s great if you encounter an unexpected obstacle like a washout on a dirt road. The air suspension will pay daily dividends, too, by improving ride quality on-road.
- Class-leading safety.
- Long list of standard luxury features.
- T8 hybrid drivetrain excels at altitude.
- Way more comfortable than the German competition.
- Best car interior under $75,000.
- Options add up quickly—you can tally up to $30,000 extra if you want all the toys.
- Weird park button adds frustration to an otherwise superlative user interface.
- Not the most exciting car you’ll ever drive.
Should You Buy One?
If you’re looking for advanced technology paired with a capable all-wheel-drive system that will get you anywhere you need to go, all wrapped up in the safest vehicle in its class, then you’ll love the XC60. I’d have no problem recommending one to someone I care about or putting my family in its passenger seats. The XC60 would make a great upgrade if you’re ready to move up to something nicer—and, granted, more expensive—than your Subaru Outback.
Compare 2020 Subaru Outback vs 2019 Volvo V60
|Style||MPG City||MPG Hwy||Invoice||MSRP|
|Outback Limited CVT||26||33||$31,314||$33,445|
|Outback Limited XT CVT||23||30||$35,221||$37,745|
|Outback Onyx Edition XT CVT||23||30||$32,664||$34,895|
|Outback Premium CVT||26||33||$27,180||$28,895|
|Outback Touring CVT||26||33||$34,896||$37,345|
|Outback Touring XT CVT||23||30||$37,011||$39,695|
T5 FWD Momentum
|Style||MPG City||MPG Hwy||Invoice||MSRP|
|V60 T5 FWD Momentum||24||36||$36,566||$38,900|
|V60 T5 FWD R-Design||24||36||$41,266||$43,900|
|V60 T6 AWD Inscription||21||31||$46,436||$49,400|
|V60 T6 AWD Momentum||21||31||$40,796||$43,400|
|V60 T6 AWD R-Design||21||31||$45,496||$48,400|
$444 / month
$648 / month
Read Our Full Review
Read Our Full Review
- Outstanding capability
- Generous 11.6-inch touchscreen
- Spacious interior
- More spacious than the XC60
- Subtly sexy
- Divine interior
- Styling isn’t a huge leap
- Base engine isn’t overwhelming
- Small-item storage lacking
- Engines are a little loud
- Special order-only
- Costly with options
- Confluence page properties macro
- Sunbeam outdoor furniture
- Merit badge requirements
- Fenix 5 battery replacement
- Luna name meaning
2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country Review: Better Than the Audi and Subaru?
Should you consider the V60 Cross Country before signing for an Audi A4 Allroad or Subaru Outback?
This would never happen in a Subaru Outback. As handmade gnocchi was delivered to our 2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country, the Italian restaurateur congratulated us on driving such an attractive car. And the wagon really is gorgeous. So many design details converge in the V60 to create a style that's distinctly premium but not showy, sleek but not boring. Now a few years removed from the S60/V60 earning a spot as a MotorTrend Car of the Year finalist, we're taking another look at the Cross Country version. Volvo has been building wagons for decades, but is the 2021 V60 Cross Country any good?
What Makes the V60 a Cross Country Model?
Just as the Subaru Outback is a lifted wagon with aesthetic updates to make it look more rugged, Volvo's Cross Country subbrand applies a similar treatment to V60 and V90 wagons. Standard V60s are up to 2.5 inches lower and come with FWD only, whereas the V60 Cross Country costs $4,500 more and includes standard AWD, updated suspension tuning, a unique front grille, and different wheel arch trim. There's also a long silver trim piece running the length of the front and rear doors. Volvo tells us that 70-80 percent of all V60 buyers make the jump to Cross Country.
If you've got a previous-gen V60 Cross Country, know that the new one is 5.7 inches longer, 1.6 inches lower, and 1.0 inch wider. The result is far more premium proportions that make the current V60 Cross Country a better match for the Audi A4 Allroad. Both the Audi and Volvo lifted wagons start around $46,000, and the Subaru—with its mainstream badge and different brand image—tops out around $41,000.
How Does the Volvo Drive Compared to the Audi and Subaru?
As with standard V60s, the Cross Country model is powered by a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo I-4 that's good for 258 lb-ft of torque and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. We most recently described this T5 powertrain as "acceptable," and that impression remains true for the 2021 test car. When we tested a 2020 model, that lifted wagon reached 60 mph in 8.0 seconds, an adequate performance. It's worth noting, however, that the Volvo's two closest competitors are both significantly quicker. An Audi A4 Allroad reaches 60 mph in only 5.5 seconds, a surprisingly quick sprint that's largely made possible by the way its dual-clutch automatic pairs with the AWD system. The Volvo is also slower than turbocharged Subaru Outback XTs like our one-year Onyx test car, which reaches 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.
You're not here for 600-hp wagon performance, though; otherwise, you would have bought one of these. So the Volvo's relative slowness isn't actually a big deal. Neither is its suspension tuning, which, like the 250-hp T5 engine, could be described as adequate. Like almost every other new car sold today, the Volvo doesn't ride nearly as well as the Subaru. Like the Audi, it exhibits a little too much rebound over bumps and freeway expansion joints. Our loaded 2021 V60 Cross Country test car rode on 19-inch wheels ($800 extra); it's possible the ride would improve on the standard 18s.
None of these three wagons will deliver canyon-carving joy like a good luxury sport sedan, but the Subaru offers more steering feel than the Volvo. And to be honest, all three have minor transmission tuning issues. The Volvo's eight-speed auto delivers shifts that are sometimes too rough for normal, everyday driving, leading to slightly more head toss than should occur. The Audi's dual-clutch transmission responds with lightning-quick reflexes but can feel a little awkward at low speeds. Then there's the Outback's CVT. Especially on more powerful XT models, the Subaru's CVT is sometimes smoother than both luxury-branded alternatives, but it's saddled with tuning that can best be described as lumpy in other driving situations.
Has the Volvo's Interior Tech Aged Well?
Volvo's unmistakable style is evident inside, too. A 9.0-inch touchscreen is framed by tall air vents, which are themselves surrounded by beautiful matte wood trim that juts out from the dash. This premium layout has impressed us the past few years, and it will still feel like a refreshing change to anyone cross-shopping a German car.
Unfortunately, our issues with the infotainment system haven't changed, either, and that's more troubling now that we've spent thousands of miles with Subaru's 11.6-inch vertically oriented touchscreen. Even during the months we've been driving our one-year 2020 Outback test car, we've seen the automaker make updates that meaningfully improve its functionality. Volvo has updated its system over the years, too, but Apple CarPlay still only takes up a portion of the bottom of the screen, which may be a regular irritant to drivers who get in the habit of using CarPlay or Android Auto before setting out.
We also wish the temperature controls were easier to use—and automatically disappeared after a few seconds of inaction, like Subaru's do. The Subaru's grainy front-view camera is easier to use, as well: Just hit one physical button, and the display changes. In the Volvo, the 360-degree camera system requires swiping to a car functions display and hitting the feature's on-screen button.
We had more appreciation for Pilot Assist, which bundles adaptive cruise control with a lane centering aid to make long highway drives easier. As we found in our time with a one-year 2019 Volvo S60 test car, the combination of these technologies works well. The other nifty piece of technology lives at the intersection of convenience and cleverness. As with so many other Volvos over the past few years, pressing a button in the infotainment touchscreen folds the rear-seat headrests automatically. It's a great luxury, allowing you to improve rear visibility without having to leave the comfort of the driver's seat.
What About Safety and Value?
You expect a Volvo to deliver on safety, and the V60 does. Among the lifted wagon's safety features are key technologies such as automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane departure warning (which can nudge you back into your lane). In NHTSA testing, the Volvo wagon achieves an overall five-star rating out of a possible five stars. That score includes a four-star frontal crash rating with five-star side and rollover ratings. In IIHS testing, the non-Cross Country version of the V60 is a 2021 Top Safety Pick+, the highest rating available.
Value is tougher to judge. Against a loaded Outback, the Volvo and Audi don't stand a chance, even with their basic warranty's additional year over the Subaru's three. But we're guessing you're here for a reason—you crave a wagon with a more highly respected badge.
If that's one of your goals, a Subaru won't cut it. That leaves you with the Volvo and the Audi A4 Allroad. The Audi is significantly quicker, but that's not a make-or-break advantage for a luxury wagon, is it? The Audi's user-friendly infotainment system—featuring knobs and more physical buttons as well as a 10.1-inch horizontally stretched touchscreen—is. Also awesome and uniquely Audi in this group is the Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, included on two of three A4 Allroad trims. The system is more versatile than the similar tech Volvo offers. Where the Volvo pulls ahead is with its less popular FWD version, the non-Cross Country V60. If you can do without the Cross Country visual updates and don't need AWD, you can put that $4,500 toward options. Neither Audi nor Subaru offers that entry-level option.
The XC60-Sized Elephant in the Room
If, to you, driving a wagon is purely about practicality, we strongly suggest considering the XC60. That SUV costs about the same and delivers some of the V60's visual charm with a more spacious cabin that's easier to get in and out of. Then again, those with wagon tunnel vision are probably already planning a trip to the dealer. If the wagon speaks to you because there are too many luxury SUVs on your block, know that although the V60 could improve in a few ways, it's still an attractive option. In a loosely defined segment of three cars, the Volvo is unquestionably the one most likely to inspire compliments.
|2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD|
|LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon|
|ENGINE||2.0L/250-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,050 lb (est)|
|L x W x H||187.4 x 72.8 x 56.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||8.0 sec (MT est)|
|EPA FUEL ECON, CITY/HWY/COMB||22/31/25 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||153/109 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.77 lb/mile (est)|
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© 1991-2021 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
Data provided by Advanta-STAR Automotive Research.
Volvo subaru vs
Compare 2021 Subaru Outback vs 2021 Volvo S60
|Style||MPG City||MPG Hwy||Invoice||MSRP|
|Outback Limited CVT||26||33||$31,451||$33,595|
|Outback Limited XT CVT||23||30||$35,451||$37,995|
|Outback Onyx Edition XT CVT||23||30||$32,875||$35,145|
|Outback Premium CVT||26||33||$27,318||$29,045|
|Outback Touring CVT||26||33||$35,034||$37,495|
|Outback Touring XT CVT||23||30||$37,240||$39,945|
Recharge T8 eAWD PHEV Inscription
|Style||MPG City||MPG Hwy||Invoice||MSRP|
|S60 Recharge T8 eAWD PHEV Inscription||N/A||N/A||$47,611||$50,650|
|S60 Recharge T8 eAWD PHEV Polestar||N/A||N/A||$60,912||$64,800|
|S60 Recharge T8 eAWD PHEV R-Design||N/A||N/A||$47,611||$50,650|
|S60 Recharge T8 eAWD PHEV R-Design Expression||N/A||N/A||$44,791||$47,650|
|S60 T5 AWD Inscription||22||33||$41,595||$44,250|
|S60 T5 AWD Momentum||22||33||$38,775||$41,250|
|S60 T5 AWD R-Design||22||33||$41,595||$44,250|
|S60 T5 FWD Inscription||23||34||$39,433||$41,950|
|S60 T5 FWD Momentum||23||34||$36,613||$38,950|
|S60 T5 FWD R-Design||23||34||$39,433||$41,950|
|S60 T6 AWD Inscription||21||32||$45,120||$48,000|
|S60 T6 AWD Momentum||21||32||$39,715||$42,250|
|S60 T6 AWD R-Design||21||32||$45,120||$48,000|
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