I have read with interest many of the posts here describing the Pros and Cons that led to purchasing an XC60. Thought I would toss mine into the mix. In our case, we were looking to replace a 10+yr old Sienna that served us well until our kids completed HS. No longer required for hauling kids, my wife wanted my Avalon which left me to find a commuter/occasional hauler.
Our requirements were extensive and that quickly reduced the field. I wanted a reliable commuter with top sound/nav system, leather, great seats, etc that would get mid-20's MPG on the highway. Being 6'4" with a son a bit taller, I was very concerned about leg room front and back. Also having a newly-licensed teenage boy we were even more concerned about safety. As we have a narrow (7.5') garage opening with tandem parking, folding mirrors are a must and even better if they can do so at the push of a button. Finally, we needed seating occasionally for 5 adults and good cargo space with both rows up.
I actually did not initially look at the Volvo having tried an XC70 about 5 years ago and found the driver position to tight and low. However, many of my early candidates were either too big (Highlander, MDX,) or too small (RDX, GLK, FX35). I also was quite disturbed by the recent trend to ship crossovers with 19"-22" wheels (Venza, Edge, etc.). I had no interest in feeling every bump and expansion joint not to mention paying double to triple for replacement tires.
I had narrowed my search down to the new (larger) X3, RX350 and the Q5, when I saw an XC60 in our company parking lot. After reading up on it and visiting a few local dealers, I discovered it was a real candidate. While both the X3 and Q5 come standard with AWD, this was not a requirement for us living in CA and rarely going to the snow. I did compare the 3.2L versus the T6, and discovered that while initially I found the 3.2 to hesitate under acceleration, that this went away when I test drove a 2011.5 version. It had comparable power to my Avalon and I simply couldn't justify the $3500+ net difference for the T6 especially with the reduction in MPG.
Faced with deciding between these 4, the Volvo optioned how we wanted was going to be $3K to $6K cheaper than the other 3. However, we didn't want to decide solely on price. Therefore, I took my wife on a weekend of test drives to get a second opinion.
4th Place: Audi Q5 - Though the Q5 had and excellent interior, neither of us could live with the front styling. In fact the car's rear and front looked to both of us as if they were meant for different cars. It drove well but in the end when the options were added up we both clearly felt it was not a good value.
3rd Place: BMW X3: This was the car, I initially wanted to win, but the changes for 2011 are simply not enough for us. It stayed in the hunt due to its length increase and I definitely enjoyed driving it. My wife not so much. It was the least comfortable highway commuter and it felt quite confined and really wouldn't work for 5 adults. Its refresh kept its "Land Rover" type styling and driving position and this worked against it as compared to the others. It too got quite expensive once optioned and simply was overtaken.
2nd Place: Lexus RX350: Now one would not normally put the 350 in the same comparison with these others, however the FWD version, its MPG and the generous dealer discounts makes it a candidate. In fact it only placed 2nd because the XC60 was too good a value to pass up. Obviously, the interior was first class and it had the most legroom front and back as well as being very comfortable for 5 adults having a flat rear foot area. While it is 6" longer, where it really felt big was in its width. It was at home on the highway and both of us found it very comfortable to drive. One oddity was that while it had steering wheel controls like the Sensus system, those only governed what was displayed in the gauges area. You still had to use their center console knob to control Nav, Sound, etc. In the end it didn't differentiate itself enough to offset its cost.
1st Place: Volvo XC60 3.2L: First, it won on looks - not something one usually associates with Volvo's. It has by unanimous family consensus the most comfortable seats. The Sensus system is a huge step forward compared to the previous system and the fact that there are discrete buttons for the technically challenged gives it another 1st place. The safety features even without the Tech pkg are not only comprehensive but reasonably priced. While not having the 300hp of its sibling, the 3.2L pulls strongly without hesitation. The fact that it comes with 17" high profile tires I actually consider an advantage for our use. It wins on cargo space with its ability not only to fold down combinations of the rear seats but the passenger as well. Little touches like the overlaid lines showing the car alignment in the rear camera and the automatic folding mirrors are simply icing on the cake. Finally, the fact that when fully optioned as we desired it was from $3K to $6K cheaper than all of the others sealed the deal.
In summary, I must say that Volvo has a real winner here and I am quite surprised I don't see more of them on the road.
Now all I have to do is wait...