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What’s Hot: After receiving a mid-model year refresh over the past two years, which included a host of new fuel-efficient engines and styling updates, the XC60 is a basically a carryover for the 2016 model year. The luxurious, car-like handling of the five passenger crossover is available with four different powertrains and approximately three trim levels. The XC60’s all-wheel drive models are equipped with a 6-speed transmission, while the front-wheel drive models are equipped with the more fuel-efficient, 8-speed transmissions.

Volvos outfitted with the brand’s relatively new 8-speed signature Drive-E powertrain deliver greater performance by combining Volvo’s standard turbocharged system with a supercharged system. Unlike the brand’s standard turbocharged system, the fuel saving Drive-E powertrain is equipped with a gas saving start-stop feature, which automatically shuts the engine down, when at a complete stop and restarts when the brake pedal is released.

And depending upon the powertrain, the horsepower ranges from a low of 240 to a high of 302. To accommodate the XC60’s stylish looks, the vehicle can be outfitted by 18-inch, 19-inch or 20-inch wheels.

Volvo, which is known for safety, offers a host of technological advancements, helping to reduce collisions and fatalities. Some of those safety driving aids include a blind spot lane changing warning system, a cross-traffic alert system when backing up, a radar-activated cruise control system, a collision warning all-speed braking system and a merging aid.  The XC60 also offers a built-in child booster seat for the second row.

While most vehicles can be optioned out with the aforementioned safety aids, the radar-based lane change merging aid, exclusive to Volvo, is designed to detect traffic from a longer distance, which in turn helps the driver determine if he should enter into traffic as vehicles rapidly approach. Yes, this is a new and innovative feature, which inches us closer to the autonomous driving movement.

As  Volvo helps their occupants remain connected by offering everything from cloud-based Apps to the internet, they’re also being wrapped in the brand’s state of the art orthopedic seats. The midsize crossover provides a car-like step in height, although the design positions the vehicle to be in the same league as midsize SUVs.

What’s Not: There isn’t enough leg room in the rear of the cabin. And the infotainment screen is too small. Volvo needs to follow the lead of its grown-up sibling the XC90 which offers a huge touchscreen infotainment screen. Controlling the audio, navigation and other areas of the vehicle are so challenging to operate they  require a product expert from the dealership to thoroughly explain. We’re hoping the next generation XC90 interior controls are more user-friendly. Despite its luxury in other areas, there are no ventilated front seats available or rear heated seats. Many mainstream brands offer these comfort features on their vehicles. If Volvo is claiming to be a luxury brand, all of the bell and whistles need to be packaged into the XC60.

Drive or Drive-By:  While the XC60 offers a variety of powertrains and a quirky infotainment system, which requires additional training just to master the use, the overall luxurious ride and the car-like ride height make this a worthy competitor in the five passenger crossover segment.

Competition: Acura RDX; Audi Q5; BMW X3; Lexus NX; and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $52,505 (base non AWD model $37,595)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; power heated outside mirrors; rain sensing wiper system; rear wiper/washer; Volvo’s City Safety low-speed collision avoidance system; cornering traction control; stability control system; electric parking brake; LED Daytime running lights; roll stability control; a whiplash protection seating system; and a tire pressure monitoring system

 Standard Equipment (Base Model): 18-inch wheels; front wheel drive; black roof rack; front and rear skid plates (for off-road driving);an 8-speed automatic transmission; a 3-year/36,000 mile complimentary maintenance; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a start/stop gas saving system; a leather wrapped steering wheel; leather-like seats; power front seats with driver’s memory; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a 7-inch navigation system

Upgraded Standard Features On T6 Model: leather seats; a keyless ignition system; keyless door locks; a navigation system; and a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder supercharged turbo engine.

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: 19-inch wheels; Platinum package: power programmable tailgate, active dual Xenon headlights, automatic dimming rearview mirrors, cargo cover, a grocery bag holder, power folding exterior mirrors, power folding rear headrests, an upgraded 12-speaker/650-watt Harman audio system, a radar-activated cruise control system, a collision warning system with full braking, pedestrian/cycling full auto braking system, a lane departure warning system, automatic high beam lights; Climate Package and Child Booster Seats: heated front seats, dual in-vehicle booster seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, an interior air quality system, a heated steering wheel, and a heated windshield; Contour seats with charcoal headliner; metallic paint; and linear walnut wood inlay

 Other Trim Level:

T5 Drive-E

T5 AWD

T6 Drive-E

T6 AWD R-Design

 Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 160-watt, 8-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD with satellite radio

 Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

 USB Connectivity: Yes

 Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/240-hp

Towing Capacity: 3,500 lbs

Recommended Fuel: Regular

 Standard Fuel Mileage:

23-city/31-hwy

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.

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