2021 Volvo XC60 Review

2021 Volvo XC60 - The 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription is a stylish, fast, roomy gas/electric SUV.


The 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription is a stylish, fast, roomy gas/electric SUV.

2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription

Cost: $61,000

Pros-Stylish. Roomy. Fast. Smooth ride. Safety items. Al-wheel drive.

Cons-Not especially sporty. Little steering feel. Odd square starter button. Costly options.

Bottom Line-Classy compact gas/electric SUV designed more for comfort than sport.

The Volvo XC60 is a scaled-down version of the automaker's XC90. It looks sportier than the XC90, although it's designed mainly for comfort, not aggressive driving despite its rather sporty styling.

Although European, my test XC60 felt Scandinavian, not, say, German.

There are a variety of XC60 models, but I tested the $61,000 Recharge (for battery)T8 Inscription, which came with a variety of desirable options that upped its bottom-line price to $71,340, including destination. Options included $645 metallic paint and an $1,800 air suspension that provided a cloud-like ride on good pavement, although some sharp bumps could be felt.

It takes a little extra effort to climb into the plug-in all-wheel-drive XC60, which has a classy, somewhat minimalist interior with wood inlays, supremely comfortable power, heated and ventilated front seats and enough comfortable room for two (three in a pinch) adults in the rear. The large front console robs some space and has a tiny covered storage compartment. At least the front doors have large storage pockets.

The cargo area is reasonably large at 22.4 cubic feet. Flip down the rear seat backs and it enlarges to an impressive 63.3 cubic feet.  

The interior has easily read digital gauges, although the touch screen for such things as climate control and radio staton selection can be a little hard to work without practice. There's 2-zone automatic climate control, a Harman Kadon premium sound system, attractive wood inlays and a panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade.

Being 10 inches shorter than the XC90, the XC60 is easier to maneuver, although it could be called a "large compact SUV." It's primarily designed for comfort, not sporty driving. For instance, the steering is quick and accurate but has little road feel, and there's noticeable body lean when driven fast through sweeping curves-although it retains its composure.

A driver can set driving modes via a console control. The modes are Hybrid, Constant AWD, Pure (economy driving) Power and off Road. I found Hybrid to be the best to use during normal driving. There was no opportunity to drive it off road.

Sometimes the brakes worked in a linear fashion, other times they bit almost too quickly.

The XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription has a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine that's started with an odd console square button. The engine works with  a battery pack and a set of electric motors for a total of 400 horsepower and 472 pound/feet of torque. Although this XC60 is heavy, that setup allows really fast, strong acceleration. An eight-speed automatic transmission works efficiently.

Combined fuel economy is an estimated 27 miles per gallon and 91-octane fuel is called for. There's an 18.5-gallon fuel tank.

Many safety features are expected on a Volvo. The XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription has a blind spot information system with steer assist, cross-traffic alert with "Autobrake," collision avoidance that's designed to protect pedestrians, bicycle riders and animals, low and high speed collision mitigation, driver alert control, run off road protection, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping aid, lots of air bags, front seat whiplash protection system, front/rear park assist and even heated windshield wiper blades. Put the XC60 in park mode and the large rearview mirrors fold in toward the side windows to prevent crowded parking area damage.

I felt while driving the XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription as if I was in a well-mannered mid-size, or even large, car. One of my first cars was a well used 1956 twin carburetor four-cylinder stick shift Volvo PV444 coupe (Volvo's first car model), which seemed indestructible. I felt the same way about the XC60.



Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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