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First Drive: 2015 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E

2015 Volvo XC60

For almost a year now, I have been anticipating the arrival of the new 2015 Volvo line-up. So naturally when I got the call that one was available for media use, I cleared my schedule. Volvo has always taken pride in their selves as being one of the top safest brands on the market and as I started analyzing the standard and optional safety features, I was inclined to agree. But that’s not all that Volvo had in store for the upcoming 2015 generation…

When it came time to update their smallest crossover, the XC60, Volvo took a much different approach. Typically when a manufacturer launches a new generation we find that the exterior has been restyled and the interior modernized while much of the underneath bones and beating heart stays the same. In the case of the 2015 XC60, Volvo decided the beating heart was indeed due for a transplant by updating the technology and performance under the hood.

Volvo has incorporated a new front-wheel drive system distinguished as Drive-E. This new Drive-E platform can be connected to two engine options noted by T5 or T6: Direct Injection 2.0-liter Turbocharged 240-horsepower 4-cylinder engine (T5) or a Direct Injection 2.0-liter Supercharged & Turbocharged 302-horsepower 4-cylinder engine (T6). Yes, you read that correctly… a supercharger and turbocharger working together in harmony. How this works is that at low RPM’s the supercharger plays its roll while at higher RPM’s the turbocharger takes over giving a perfect even balance of power without that gap of turbo-lag in the need of acceleration. This interesting configuration is coupled through a 8-speed automatic transmission. This tranny starts of jittery at lower speeds when trying to find the right gear; however, at higher speeds; anything above 30 mph, the transmission is smooth and seamless. Which, leaves me to wishing for the same from the ‘Start/Stop’ feature that seams to only work when its less than 90 degrees outside.

Since my tested XC60 T6 was equipped with the super & turbo, I had 302 reasons to enjoy myself. The 295lb-ft of torque provided an excellent acceleration of 0-60 in a very quick 6 seconds. Whether at low speeds or high speeds, the supercharger and turbocharged worked well together providing instant power when needed. Unlike any other crossover we’ve experienced, the XC60 feels different – it felt more solid and composed. The handling felt superb and with abrupt maneuvers the XC60 responds instantly. Thanks to a smooth suspension, traveling through town or on the open road is comforting – there is a hint of sportiness; just enough to remind you, you just hit a pot hole.

So then on the outside, we still have the traditional Volvo XC60 look. The XC60 continues the elegant classy status without the posh attitude. I admire the simplistic body style, the LED daytime running lights, and the silhouette LED tail lights finished off by the integrated dual chrome exhaust. Wrapped in a specialty $550 Crystal White Pearl Paint the XC60 expresses sophistication. As part of the $1,500 Sport Package, the 20” Titania alloy wheels added a top notch appeal and with the addition of the $800 Active Dual Xenon Headlights the road ahead will always be well lit.

The XC60 offers up premium feel when it comes to the interior design. The blonde over black leather interior was an excellent contrast and as part of that Sport Package; the front sport seats were a bit stiff, but the overall comfort level was high with tremendous bolstering. Both the driver and passenger will have no problem finding superb comfort through the multi-way power adjustable seats and for those cold winter mornings the heated seat feature will certainly come in handy. Rear passengers won’t find much to complain as the seats were also very comfortable though leg room would be a considered a tad tight for taller passengers.

The quality of materials used throughout the XC60 felt of first-rate quality, the center stack infotainment setup is wrapped in a shimmer graphite metal and aluminum trim. The Volvo signature design has a contemporary waterfall and floating effect. The mish-mosh of buttons are a tad confusing and small – it does take quite a bit of time to get familiar with purpose & functionality, but well worth the time & effort. Included with our XC60 was the $4,000 Platinum Trim Level that added tons of options including a Navigation system with Rear Park Assist, Power Tailgate, Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors, along with similar  goodies.  The XC60 7” infotainment/Navigation display and software system isn’t going to win any awards as it was difficult and cumbersome to use and while the voice activation software is absolutely outstanding, the step by step by step instructions really drove me bonkers.

It’s time to pull out my inner nerd… the Adaptive Digital TFT Display! Depending on your driving mood this digital display allows you to choose through 3 alternate driving themes: Elegance, ECO, and Performance. This Digital TFT display is an alluring set up; the Eco and Elegance displays add a traditional speedo with a shadowing needle that highlights traveling speeds and while under Performance everything turns red and a large tachometer appears with a large MPH display – how can you not like that? But that’s not all to our XC60. As part of the $1,500 Technology Package, it featured a bunch of safety equipment like: Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning, Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection, Distance Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Active High Beam with Road Sign information. Normally in the testers I don’t care for the Collision Warning and Adaptive Cruise control features. They sometimes get in the way and feel awkward and simply can be startling at times when they go off. But with the XC60, the Adaptive Cruise Control is fantastic – it has a smooth transition of speed and barely notices any adjustments. With the Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Distance Alert, there is a soft beep that doesn’t give the driver a heart attack or going off every time a driver cuts you off. Kudos to Volvo!

There are some down sides to the Volvo XC60. Interior storage space is very limited – no room for sunglasses, a cell phone, or even my parking garage gate card. The fuel economy is also not so great; EPA is 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway; however, I averaged 20 mpg combined and after only 150 miles the XC60 was ready for fuel up – and we stayed fairly economical during our test. Although it wasn’t suggested, I used premium grade fuel that gave roughly 300 miles of range.

For quite some time, Volvo has been at the top of my “Must Drive” list. Their modern technology and advance safety features simply are amazing and after experiencing this XC60, as a driver, I gain a lot of confidence in the vehicle. Some might raise an eyebrow to the high sticker price; however, remember, you are getting a lot of car.

Price (As-Tested):
2015 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E: $40,050
Destination: $925
Notable Standard Features:
Panoramic Sunroof
Leather Interior with Power Front Seats
Dual Zone Climate Control
Rain Sensing Windshield Wipers
LED Daytime Front and Rear Lights
Featured Options:
Heated Front Seats: $500
Specialty Metallic Crystal White Pearl Paint: $550
Active Dual Xenon Headlights w/ Washers: $800
Blind Spot Information Package (BLIS): $900
Sport Package: $1,500
Technology Package: $1,500
Platinum (Trim Level) $4,000
Grand Total: $50,725


    • Thanks! It took me forever to figure out how they worked… hence the ‘brights’ were one and I had to save them as the last thing to shoot as all the windshield washers engaged.

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