Trucks and SUVs

Best 2-Row Luxury SUV: Volvo XC60

Volvo is having a pretty good year, it seems. With the Volvo XC60 being voted as’s Best 2-Row Luxury SUV for 2020, the Swedish brand has won three awards from our experts this year.

The Luxury 2-Row SUV segment is incredibly popular and that kind of popularity breeds heavy competition, meaning this was a tough one to win. In order to determine the winner, autoTRADER’s team of more than 20 automotive experts considered every single vehicle available in this segment for Canadians to buy and finalized their decisions based on 12 criteria, ranging from the vehicle’s on-road manners, to the tech it provides, to the build quality both inside and out. The XC60 was voted as the best, edging out the Cadillac XT4, Jaguar F-Pace, Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Macan, vehicles our jury voted to shortlist to the final round of voting.

One big way in which the XC60 excelled over its competitors was by using its exceptionally crafted interior to create a new benchmark for quality and design. Luxurious materials abound in the XC60, from the supple leather on the seats, to the brushed silver inserts on the dash and wheel, to the soft-touch materials atop the dash and on the doors. The real kicker, though, is the optional crystal gear change lever – it doesn’t get much classier (or should we say, “glassier”) than that.

The theme continues with the way tech is implemented; the XC60’s vertical, tablet-like display screen is unique and allows for easier scrolling through the menus. And as is almost always the case these days, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included for better smartphone integration.

Space-wise, you have to hand it for Volvo because while the XC60 looks somewhat compact from outside, the available room inside is right in the thick of it for the class. The roof is tall, so four adults could fit comfortably, making it ideal for a four-person family. Adding to the luxury are four-zone climate control and heated rear seat options. It’s a wonderful place to be for both passengers and drivers, especially in R-Design form, which provides even more deeply bolstered seats.

If the interior fit and finish is party trick #1, then #2 is the exterior styling. All the current Volvo trademarks are here to make for a very handsome SUV: vertical taillights, “Thor’s Hammer” LED DRLs, and an oval grille bisected by the classic Volvo diagonal chrome strip. Add details like sharp-edged wheel styles (especially in terms of the R-Design trim) and you have one of the most attractive SUVs in the segment.

Another thing that sets the XC60 apart from its competitors is the existence of an optional T8 plug-in hybrid electric version that joins two four-cylinder turbo options, one rated at 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the other rated at 316 hp and 295 lb-ft. Not only is the T8 version the most powerful at 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque, but it also provides a claimed all-electric cruising of just under 30 km – we did better than that when we tested it, seeing 32 km. It might not seem like much, but if you’re spending most of your time in the city and plugging in at night, you could be in all-EV mode much of the time.

Or, you can just go ahead and select one of the peppy non-hybrid options, both of which offer plenty of pep for day-to-day and highway work.

If you’re more concerned about ride comfort than acceleration times – and if you’re shopping in this segment, there’s a good chance that’s the case – then the optional adaptive four-corner air suspension, to quote’s Justin Pritchard, does a fine job of ensuring that “the ride is consistently good, rarely busy, and typically keeps the jostling of occupants to bare-minimum levels.” In other words: the XC60’s ride is right on.

If you want an even more relaxed drive, then the XC60 has you covered with self-park assist for both perpendicular and parallel parking moves, as well as one of the least invasive adaptive cruise systems in the segment. It can take you all the way down to a complete stop, meaning it works in stop-and-go traffic. Or, if you prefer to keep parking yourself, the 9-inch main display also features a high-definition back-up cam with a top-down view to make parking as easy as possible. The XC60 is also an IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick and comes with the full suite of driver assistance and safety features.

The XC60 competes in a competitive segment, but it has the chops to eclipse the best of the best. That is no small feat in this segment, but the XC60’s design, clever features, sophisticated powertrains, attention to detail, and beautiful interior has earned it a top spot in this competition. Not only does it help elevate the segment as a whole, but the entire package comes together cohesively and makes it clear that Volvo did not make any compromises in its drive to make an award-winning vehicle.