Volvo XC60
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Overall

One of Volvo’s most popular models gets what appears to be a company-wide facelift; two engine powerplant options can move you from sedate to seriously motivated.

Drivetrain

You have the choice of a 240-horsepower inline-six with AWD as an extra-cost option; available turbocharged 300- and 325-horsepower six-cylinder engines with standard AWD.

Volvo’s slick European design has always been the XC60′s hallmark and was the first to seriously stick in the minds of shoppers where practicality isn’t an absolute priority. Like the rest of the company’s lineup, it’s getting a substantial freshening, to keep its fully vested membership in the “small premium utility” group that includes a growing number of competitors. All the sheetmetal and details forward of the A-pillars is new, along with revised headlights and the ubiquitous LED running lights. The back end features new integrated exhaust pipes, skid plates and different wheel styles on every trim level. For the 2014 model year, the base XC60 carries on with a 240-horse 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder driving the front wheels. All-wheel-drive is an option, but it’s standard when you step up to T6 and its 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged engine. The R-Design model boasts a 325-horsepower version of the 3.0 (that happens to run on regular gas) and includes sharper steering and suspension settings plus 20-inch wheels. Of course there’s a high level of standard equipment, such as dual-zone climate control and all the power goodies, along with a revised instrument cluster and new steering wheel, cloth-covered pillars, and revised shiny trim bits throughout. Since Volvo’s calling card is safety, and the associated technology that travels in lockstep with it, there’s much more to the XC60 than meets the eye. The standard City Safety system is a laser-based monitor that automatically applies the brakes if it senses the driver is about to make contact with the vehicle in front. Optional is blind-spot alert that warns of approaching vehicles from either side, adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and adaptive bi-xenon (high- and low-beam) headlights that pivot up to 15 degrees in the direction of a turn. Showcasing the XC60′s technology is a system that issues an alarm if the driver begins to fall asleep, while a Personal Car Communicator (PCC in Volvo-speak), consisting of a remote control device with a 330-foot range, uses a built-in heartbeat monitor to alert you if an intruder is in the vehicle. Optional 2014 safety technologies include a system that detects pedestrians — and cyclists — and can automatically brake for them.

Base price (incl. destination): $35,700
Type: Four-door tall wagon
Base engine (hp): 3.2-liter DOHC I6 (240/230)
Optional engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbocharged (300/325, R-Design)
Layout: Front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 19/25 (FWD)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,960