December 18, 2013
Size and Cargo Space
The XC60 also has a larger cargo space, 872 vs 824 L with all seats in place and 1,909 vs 1,623 L maximum capacity.
Both cars are nearly identical in size, but the XC60 is 56 mm higher overall, all of which is accounted for by greater ride height. I couldn’t detect any difference in the front or rear roominess of either car – both were spacious.
Despite being shorter, the Audi weighs 114 kg more (2,030 kg to 1,916 kg). The Audi can tow more, though (1,995 kg versus 1,497 kg for the Volvo).
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD. Click image to enlarge
These Premium SUVs are about ride comfort, and both marques step up to the plate with their impressive suspension packages. The Audi offers more adjustment and a better range of sporty to comfortable, but the Volvo achieves its pillowy ride by focussing on the comfortable range. The result is a less nimble car with a larger turning circle — but in cars like these, who needs it?
The Volvo simply floats over the road, absorbing bumps and dips with nonchalance. It is aided in its quest for extreme comfort by its seats. While the Audi comes equipped with beautiful leather seats that have excellent support and shape, the Volvo is again a step above. In one, you sit in a very comfortable chair. In the other, you settle happily into your own personal cocoon. It’s just as well the engine is so lively – otherwise you might fall asleep.
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD (middle & bottom). Click image to enlarge
All those controls and buttons operate the almost incredible list of tech features and gadgets in both cars. Both come with available blind spot assistance, adaptive cruise control, cross-path warning, park assist, back-up camera, and heated seats.
They also both get auto-dimming rear-view mirrors – but in the XC60 the side mirrors are auto-dimming, too. Volvo trumps the Audi in the gadget stakes with its pedestrian and collision warning systems, which have full auto-brake, while the Audi punches back with its active lane-keeping system (Volvo only has an audible alarm). But Volvo has the last word because while Audi’s adaptive cruise control cuts out below 20 km/h, Volvo continues right to a full stop and takes off again. So, you can follow stop-start traffic for kilometres on end without ever using the pedals in the XC60.
And the Winner is…
And that kind of sums up why the winner for me is the XC60 – I just found it more enjoyable to drive and live with. In the doldrums of daily commuting, the adaptive cruise control and sensational seats wafted me into a place of relaxation and calm. When it came time to get busy, the T6 offered up more of the good stuff with greater eagerness. The Q5 arguably does off-road better than the XC60, but in the application these cars spend 98 percent of their lives in, the XC60 does better. It is warmer and more evocative than the Q5, too – comforting, engaging, and capable. What more could you want?
Pricing: 2014 AudiQ5 TDI Technik
Base Price: $48,700
Base Price Q5 Technik: $53,200
Options: Adaptive Cruise control – $1,700, Navigation Package with Parking System – $3,200, S line Sport Select Package – $3,100, 20-inch 5-arm Design Wheels – $1,000, Bang & Olufsen Sound System – $1,000, Daytona Grey Pearl Effect – $800
A/C Tax: $100
Price as tested: $66,095
Pricing: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Platinum
Base Price: $47,950
Base Price T6 AWD Platinum: $52,850
Options: Technology Package – $1,500 (Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist, Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Pedestrian and Cyclist detection with Full Auto Brake, Lane Departure Warning, Road Sign Information), Blind Spot Information System – $1,000, Active Dual Xenon Headlights with Headlight Washers – $1,000, Polestar Performance chip – $1,495.
A/C Tax: $100
Price as tested: $59,040