Volvo brought all-new powertrains to their 60 series cars and SUV's for 2015 and today we got the opportunity to see what they call Drive-E is all about. Our 2015 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E features and industry first turbocharged and supercharged 2.0 liter engine with 302 horsepower.
The 2.0 liter four cylinder engine employs both a belt driven supercharger and a turbocharger to get its boost. The supercharger comes on at low revs, the turbo coming in later in the game. The engine is mated exclusively to an 8-speed automatic transmission Volvo calls Geartronic, giving the XC60 a 22 mpg city 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined cycle rating for fuel economy.
This is a gem of an engine, with a strong punch off the line and nice fat power curve all through the rev range. It performs as advertised with the supercharger coming on strong low in revs and the turbocharger taking over later in the game.
Despite being a four-cylinder, the engine remains refined enough for a luxury class vehicle like this. Where the power-train experience becomes a let down is when you mash the throttle in a straight line from a stop or around a turn.
In our test drive, we found that with 302 horsepower to the front tires, the XC60 exhibits a level of torque steer that’s surprisingly unbridled. If you aren’t gripping the wheel with both hands deftly it will pull it right from your hands.
Despite the power delivery issues with the chassis, the XC60 rides and drives impressively sharp and solid the rest of the time. The body structure is tight as a drum combined with excellent suspension isolation to exude a total feeling of quality in ride.
Steering response and feel are on the higher end of good, braking also more than adequate for a vehicle of this size. On the highway, the ride is quiet and free of the kind of road noise you might expect with tires and wheels this large.
Exterior styling remains chiseled and beveled in all the right places however and with our Sport Package 20” aluminum wheels really pops. Up front are standard vertical LED running lights and optioned on ours was the active dual xenon headlamps which turn with you at night.
The rear three quarter angle view remains unique in its class with tall artful wrap around tail lamps. Exterior fit and finish was exemplary and well executed. The silhouette seems to remain contemporary even in today’s market despite the fact its been around for a while.
The cabin is where the Scandinavian design ethos really comes home. The highlight is a sweeping center console that flows down between the seats so very cleanly. It has a floating design with pass through behind, now a Volvo trademark.
Materials are of a high quality throughout with a healthy dose of aluminum used in the steering wheel, console, dash and door panels. They’ve accomplished a sophisticated look and feel with the metal that few other brands have been able to.
The steering wheel tilts and telescopes but is a manual adjustment, not power. It does have paddle shifters there which are aluminum as well, giving you a nice solid feel when shifting the 8-speed Geartronic transmission.
Our XC60′s sport package included some of the best chairs in the business, with big thick side bolsters to hold you in place. While sporting in nature they remained soft and comfortable for long drives, never once becoming a pain.
Switch gear and controls throughout are top quality and unique in their design. The infotainment system and center stack while wondrous to look at does take a bit of a learning curve to master. It’s small buttons and non-traditional layout will be foreign to the non Volvo initiated.
The audio screen and menu interface has a number of quirks to get past regardless. The screen is rather smallish, its radio station screen confounding with small in font sizes and how it actually lists them. It’s not a touch screen either, requiring using knobs and buttons on the center stack to operate.
The XC60 does come with a full panoramic roof with power sunshade and opening front panel standard which gives the interior a nice open airy atmosphere. This combined with the two-tone leather seating trims really made for a comfortable place to spend time.
Rear seat passengers will find a seating position high enough for leg comfort and outward visibility, though the compartment is a bit thin on ventilation. The rear cargo area is generous enough for this class too, with ours getting an optional sunshade and cargo net.
Our tester’s Technology Package included the latest driver aids like lane departure warning which works exceptionally well. There is also adaptive cruise control with queue assist. This means set on cruise in stop and go traffic, it will do all the braking and acceleration for you.
There is also collision and pedestrian warning with full auto brake, as well as distance alerts. As with the radar cruise, the XC60 can actually bring itself to a complete stop if an obstruction is detected and you aren’t doing anything about it.
In all we found the 2015 Volvo XC60 to be a near perfect entry in this field with exemplary fit and finish, a top notch interior and a new engine that should be one of Ward’s 10 Best. The only flaw on this work of art is its desire to take off for the bushes when you floor the accelerator. We recommend getting all-wheel drive in the T6 model.