Bottom line: If you want a super-safe, high-utility compact luxury wagon, the XC60 is it. Choose the base XC60 3.2 if you aren’t terribly concerned about acceleration and handling. Take the XC60 T6 R-Design if speed and handling mean more to you.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Normal drivers, those who tend to obey speed limits and other traffic rules, will be happy with all three in the base XC60 3.2. Those desirous of more “performance” will get it in the XC60 T6 R-Design model.
Head-turning quotient: Congratulations to Geely. Under its tutelage, Volvo has come up with a vehicle that looks good at the prom. The driver and passengers, be they of prom age, simply need to keep in mind that Volvo is synonymous with “safety” in motoring and other aspects of life.
Body style/layout: The 2012 Volvo XC60 is an all-wheel-drive compact luxury wagon with four side doors and a rear hatch. It is available in three iterations — the base 3.2, the popularly equipped T6 and the top-of-the-line T6 R-Design.
Engines/transmission: The XC60 3.2 comes standard with a 3.2-liter, 24-valve in-line six-cylinder gasoline engine (240 horsepower, 236 foot-pounds of torque) linked to a six-speed automatic transmission that can also be shifted manually. The T6 and T6 R-Design get a turbocharged 24-valve version of the in-line six-cylinder engine that develops 325 horsepower and 354 foot-pounds of torque. It, too, is linked to a manually operable six-speed automatic transmission.
Capacities: There are seats for five people. Cargo capacity is 30.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 67.4 cubic feet with those seats folded down. The XC60 3.2 can be outfitted to tow a trailer weighing 3,300 pounds and haul a payload weighing 1,343 pounds. The T6 models have the same tow rating but have a maximum payload of 1,144 pounds. Fuel capacity is 18.5 gallons. Regular gasoline is okay in the XC60 3.2, but premium is recommended for “best performance” in the turbocharged T6 models.
Mileage: There’s not much to cheer about here. In all versions, you are looking at 16 to 18 miles per gallon in the city and 23 to 25 on the highway.
Safety: All versions get top marks in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration front- and side-impact tests. Ditto their performances in similar tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It is difficult to buy a safer family wagon.
Prices: The 2012 Volvo XC60 prices range from $33,300 for the base 3.2 to $43,700 for the T6 R-Design. Dealer’s invoice prices range from $31,300 for the XC60 3.2 to $41,078 for the T6 R-Design. Add a $875 destination charge to the retail prices of all models. Beware of things such as “Premier” and “Platinum” accessory packages. They will deflate your wallet in direct proportion to inflating your ego.