Review: 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Surprises at the Ski Resort and Where the Pavement Ends

2013 volvo xc60 t6 awd front
2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD

On the surface the 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD is a stylish and luxurious shopping mall cruiser, but there is more to this vehicle than initially meets the eye.  This midsize crossover has 9.1 inches of ground clearance and Advanced Haldex AWD system.  Could it be that this Volvo can actually take you beyond where the pavement ends?  And how does it react to extreme cold and snowy conditions?  I was very surprised.

It’s fair to say that the XC60 is a stylish and attractive crossover.  The angles, curves, and creases are all very well executed.  I especially like the look from the rear with the Volvo signature tail lights that curve up to the roof.  If I had any nit to pick it would the long front overhang, but I understand it is this way to accommodate the AWD system and to make the aerodynamics work.  The overall feel of the design is that of elegance, but it’s not the most manly crossover on the road.

2013 volvo xc60 t6 awd off-road

The XC60 feels very familiar on the inside if you have been in other Volvos from the last couple of years.  I like that Volvo is not afraid of distinctive interior design, and the XC60 is basically a S60 sedan that I recently reviewed that has more headroom and more legroom in the second row.  Of course, this crossover also has a ton of cargo room and we put it to the ultimate test by taking it to the ski resort for a family weekend getaway.  The rear seat folds in 40/20/40 sections and this was the only way we could transport our skis to the slopes.  The test car did not come with a roof rack, but I was able to slide my old school 200 cm long skis down the middle between the two child seats mounted in the back.  Both kids were comfortable and my wife and I had plenty of space in the front.  This is not all we brought with us.  We also packed two pair of ski boots, three pair of ice skates, four duffel bags of cloths, and two sleds on top of that!  Wow, this nearly turned into a Christmas carol.  I was really surprised how much stuff this car swallowed up.

2013 volvo xc60 t6 turbo motor engine

On the way up to the ski resort, we were surrounded in serene quiet, while we enjoyed heated seats, and the views out of the panoramic sunroof.  (Kids were taking a nap.)  While climbing up into the mountains west of Golden, CO on I-70, I was glad to have the 300 turbo-charged horses and 325 pounds of torque under the hood. In fact, with the automatic locked in 6th gear manual mode and the cruise set at 65 mph, this Volvo went up the climb as if it wasn’t even there.  This XC60 had grippy all-season tires that worked great on packed snow and icy surfaces of Berthoud Pass.  The temperatures fell to around 4F in Winter Park, CO, but this was still just a walk in the park for the Volvo.  It had no issues and started up right away.

I was also surprised at how well balanced the XC60 ride and handling are.  The ride is comfortable, and it does not lean too much in corners.  When you do push it into the corner, the steering provides good feedback and the whole experience is very predictable and confidence building.  You may remember me raving about how good the air suspension was on the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit.  I can say that the Volvo basically matches the Jeep for comfort and is better poised in high speed cornering maneuvers.


I bring up the Grand Cherokee because it is my favorite SUV/crossover that I reviewed in 2012.  Of course, I did not expect to continue the Jeep comparison to this Volvo when it comes to going off pavement and up our off-road test trail.  The XC60 does not have the dedicated off-road hardware that you can find on the Jeep: no low range, no hill descent control, and no locking differential.  No problem, it did not matter.  The Volvo went up the same moderate trail route that I took the Jeep on just a couple of months earlier.  Of course, the Volvo also had to deal with the ice and snow.  The Haldex AWD system kept doing its job, the all-season tires tires had good grip, and the 9.1 inches of ground clearance helped it clear all obstacles.

Starting Retail Price City/Hwy MPG HP / Lb-Ft Powertrain
2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD $40,650 17/23 300/325 I6T + 6-speed
2013 Audi Q5 3.0T Quattro  $43,900 18/26 272/295 V6T + 8-speed
2013 BMW X3 xDrive35i  $43,950 19/26 300/300 I6T + 8-speed
2013 Cadillac SRX AWD $45,025 16/23 308/265 V6 + 6-speed
2013 Infiniti FX37 AWD $46,300 16/22 325/267 V6 + 7-speed
 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland $44,490  16/23 290/260 V6 + 5 speed
2013 Lexus RX 350 AWD $40,710 18/24 270/248 V6 + 6-speed
2013 Lincoln MKX AWD $41,395 17/23 305/280 V6 + 6-speed
2013 Mercedes ML350 4Matic $49,770 18/23 302/273 V6 + 7-speed

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give this Volvo XC60 T6 a Buy It! This test car stickered at $48,145 which included a $4,600 Platinum package as well as 19 inch wheels.  The only note worthy missing features were a heated steering wheel and adaptive cruise control.  I averaged 21.9 MPG after around 400 miles of mixed driving, including the trip to the ski resort (EPA rates it at 20 MPG combined).  The turbo motor provided great acceleration and was efficient when the power was not needed.  The XC60 is very competitively priced in its segment.  It’s one of the most powerful, comfortable, capable, and rewarding to drive midsize crossovers.

Please enjoy this fun TFLcar video as Roman and I take this Volvo up and down an off-road Rocky Mountain trail.

Andre Smirnov
Andre Smirnov

Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, software engineer, writer, and reporter. He has been writing and reporting at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or scouring the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.