Luxury compact crossover
When it initially launched in 2008, the XC60 brought Volvo’s presence into another corner of the luxury crossover market. Noted in no small part for its safety innovations, the XC60 was a popular choice for the active motorist after confidence, comfort, and peace of mind on a wide range of journeys, and in a wide range of conditions.
The second-generation XC60 hit the road for 2018, bringing new looks, features, power, performance, and safety tech along for the ride, as well as Volvo’s new scalable vehicle architecture. Some of the XC60’s most desirable features are its high-resolution parking camera system, full suite of advanced safety technologies, powerful lighting system, and flagship-level optional stereo system.
On board, look for adequate room for four adults, two seating rows, a powered tailgate, and a fresh-looking cabin that’s elegant and modern. Other worthy competitors to consider include the Acura RDX, BMW X3, and Porsche Macan.
All Volvo XC60 models are equipped with an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive (AWD). Under the hood, a 2.0L four-cylinder engine is teamed with one or more power-adders, depending on the model selected. Turbocharging as standard, while a version that’s both turbocharged and supercharged is available and cranks out 316 hp in T6 guise, or 400 hp as the T8 plug-in hybrid (PHEV). That high-performing model is a PHEV capable of all-electric driving, and is also the quickest XC60 model available.
What Owners Like
Owners tend to appreciate the XC60’s powerful stereo and lighting systems, long-distance, all-weather comfort, and easy-to-learn safety systems. Wintertime performance is highly rated with proper tires, and many owners appreciate the clean and understated look to the XC60’s minimally distracting interior.
What Owners Dislike
A common owner complaint centres around ride quality, with some owners wishing for a smoother ride on rougher surfaces – especially with sportier models. Those trims also tend to have stiff, heavily bolstered seats. For maximum comfort, consider a model with thicker tires and the standard seats.
As this generation XC60 is relatively fresh, you’ll find no shortage of selection on still-in-warranty units on the second-hand market. As such, purchasing the best lightly used XC60 for you is largely a function of taking a few precautions and making a few simple checks before you buy.
Pro Tip: Bowers and Wilkins Stereo System
If a second-hand XC60 will be your first vehicle with an audiophile-ready stereo system, it may take some time to get the stereo system dialled in to sound perfect to your ear, and for the type of listening you do. The owner’s community has created an interesting resource for equalizer settings that you can read here, for more information.
Pro Tip: Check the Wipers
If you’re test-driving a used XC60 in the wintertime, be sure to triple-check for proper operation of the windshield wipers on your test drive, even if the windshield is clean. Models equipped with the windshield wiper spray-bar, which delivers the liquid directly to the glass, get improved clearing performance – though the system can become plugged with ice if improper washer fluid is used. If the wiper spray-bars are frozen, they can be a pain to clear.
The Test Drive
Check the Tech
Consumer Reports says some XC60 owners have reported trouble with various vehicle electronics, including exterior lighting, remote keyfobs, and the infotainment system. In many reported cases, issues with these systems were remedied with a software update, or a new vehicle battery. Ensuring the used XC60 has a healthy battery and all current software updates can help prevent future trouble. Ask your local dealer for the scoop.
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If you’re considering the XC60 T8 PHEV, having the vehicle inspected by a technician before your purchase can provide some added peace of mind that the hybrid system’s components are all healthy and communicating properly with one another. Some owners have reported problems with items like incorrectly-displayed electric driving range (more info here), or engagement of a reduced-power driving mode and corresponding error message. Most have not.
In any case, a pre-purchase check-over by a Volvo technician can add peace of mind to your purchase. Further, be sure to confirm proper operation of the charge door release, and satisfactory condition of the charging cable and associated connectors.
Headliner and Dash Rattles
One of the XC60’s more commonly reported gripes is the appearance of buzzes, squeaks, and rattles on some units as they age. Numerous owners have reported tough-to-source rattles from the XC60’s headliner, dash, overhead console, and more. Quiet the vehicle’s cabin for a few moments during your test drive while travelling over a rougher road, and listen closely for any unwanted sounds. The solution typically involves some adjustment of the offending part by a technician, or some clever placement of some vibration-dampening foam padding.
While cruising at highway speeds, quiet the XC60’s cabin while listening or feeling for signs of an unwanted throbbing or vibration through the vehicle. Some owners have complained of vibrations at higher speeds. Most have not. Reported culprits range from problems with the condition, balance or installation of tires and wheels, to issues with the vehicle’s driveshaft. If you notice any unwanted vibrations at higher speeds, have the vehicle checked professionally before you buy.
With the exception of a few electronic gremlins, rattles, and vibrations reported by some owners, the 2018 and 2019 Volvo XC60 seems to have earned a largely satisfied owner’s community so far. With the added confidence of a pre-purchase inspection or purchase from a dealer’s certified pre-owned program, you’re well on your way to driving a luxury crossover with a strong reputation for safety and style.
IIHS: Top Safety Pick (2018)
Here’s a list of safety recalls.