BEHIND THE WHEEL
The base XC60 has a 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine. I drove the more powerful T6 version, which was a little bit of a bummer. I appreciated the solid feel and the 325-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine's quick and smooth acceleration, but the soft ride felt a little on the floaty side for my taste. That, in combination with its 38.4-foot turning diameter, made me feel like I was driving a larger SUV than I was. In comparison, the GLK has a turning circle of 37.6 feet.
While I personally prefer more car-like cornering, my husband loved the ride quality. He said he had no idea what I was griping about. You'll have to drive this one yourself and see how it feels to you.
One thing we definitely agreed on was the surprising amount of noise inside the XC60. With a luxury brand like Volvo, you expect — and hope for — an unnaturally quiet interior. Unfortunately, this is one area where Volvo doesn't deliver. My husband and I both commented on the wind noise entering the cabin from around the windshield pillars, possibly from the large side mirrors. The noise issue didn't improve in the backseat, either. My daughter asked me on more than one occasion if a window was cracked or if she maybe hadn't shut the door all the way. She said she could hear every car that passed us on the highway.
The XC60 stays true to Volvo's strong heritage of safety innovations, packed full of advanced safety features that any family would utilize and appreciate.
With top scores of Good in front, side and rear crash tests, plus the roof-strength test, the XC60 is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the XC60 an overall crash-test rating of five out of five stars.
As is required of all 2012 models, the Volvo XC60 has standard antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and traction control. There are side curtain airbags for the front and backseat passengers, plus side-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger.
Volvo says 75 percent of all crashes occur while vehicles are going less than 19 mph. In order to help curb that, the XC60 features Volvo's City Safety as standard equipment. An infrared laser sensor "watches" the front of your vehicle to see if you're about to hit another car. If the difference in speed between the two cars is less than 10 mph, the XC60 intervenes and brakes to a stop to completely avoid a collision. If the difference in speed between the two cars is between 11 and 19 mph, the XC60's braking should decrease the severity of the imminent crash.
Optional safety features on my XC60 Platinum included a backup camera, collision warning with auto brake, pedestrian detection with full auto brake and a lane departure warning system, with the option to choose either normal or increased sensitivity.
See all the 2012 Volvo XC60's standard safety features here.
Installing child-safety seats in the XC60 is a mixed bag. Of course, if you have Volvo's integrated two-stage booster seat option, your kids will jump right in and get buckled up on their own with the help of stable seat belt buckles.
However, installing either rear- or forward-facing seats using the Latch system is a bit of a challenge. The lower anchors are hidden within the seat bight, so if you're installing a seat with Latch hooks on a nylon belt (rather than rigid Latches like those on Clek seats), you'll have to fish around in the seat bight to hook and unhook the Latch.
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