5 Great Volvo XC60 Alternatives for Less Than $50,000

What is the Volvo XC60 comparable to? In many ways, the Volvo XC60 is the alternative $50,000 SUV. It really takes its own tack to luxury, with an austere interior and distinct styling that sets it apart. But the midsize luxury SUV market is competitive and to find its place Volvo and the XC60 SUV had to be different.

Different isn’t always for everyone, that’s why there are more conventional SUV alternatives to the XC60 from BMW, Audi, Genesis, Mercedes, and Acura that make great alternatives.

Is a Volvo XC60 a luxury SUV?

Volvo does things in its own way, and that includes its approach to making a luxury SUV. Instead of acres of wood and chrome, the interior is trimmed in smooth black leather and the console is a long, flat, affair, that relies on its Swedish design to signal luxury, not bright wood or crystal trim pieces. What seems austere to some feels well thought out to others. The Core version of the XC60 SUV starts at $44,745. For that, you get a five-seat SUV that cuts its own path and doesn’t look like all the other SUVs in the pickup line. New for 2023, all Volvos get a mild hybrid booster as well as Google apps installed on the large center screen.

The XC60 comes standard with the B5 engine, which makes 247 horsepower. All-wheel drive adds $2,300.  When you fold all of the seats flat in the XC60, and unlike most these do fold pretty much flat, you get access to 63.3 cubic feet of space.  The higher trims, including Plus and Ultimate, add more goodies like a 360-degree camera and ventilated front seats, which also add significantly to the price. The Plus is a $4,250 option, while the Ultimate is a $10,050 upgrade. The XC60 Recharge, which is the plug-in-hybrid version, starts at $58,495.

Is the BMW X3 bigger than the Volvo XC60?

Front angle view of white 2023 BMW X3, highlighting more affordable luxury SUV alternatives that cost under $45,000
2023 BMW X3 | BMW

In many ways, the BMW X3 is hard to fault. It’s sporty, it holds a lot of cargo, and it carries the important BMW badge on the grille, if you care about those things. In 2022, the X3 got a big update that added size all around and the wheelbase was expanded. The big news was the addition of a 48-volt mild hybrid system in the X3 M40i version. The X3 comes in X3 sDrive30i, X3 xDrive30i, and X3 M40i trims, and starts at MSRP $45,400 for sDrive, or $47,400 for the all-wheel drive xDrive.

It holds 62.7 square feet of luggage in the back, which means it’s within a couple of inches of cargo space of the XC60.

The Genesis GV70 is the new brand’s alternative to the XC60

The new brand Genesis launched the new GV70 SUV to bring a lot of value to the midsize luxury SUV world. While its nameplate doesn’t carry the same wow factor that, say, the BMW does, those in the know, know. The Genesis outguns competitors in the engine bay with its 300-horsepower V6. It also brings a lot of value; with the upgraded Select trim, you can still stay far south of $50,000 and get heated/ventilated seats with a heated steering wheel.

The interior of the GV70 is also funky, with a spear of chrome jutting across the dash that houses the HVAC controls, with a large horizontal touch screen perched above. It’s unconventional, but like the XC60, Genesis does things its own way to stand out in a crowded, and competitive, market. However, it only holds 56.86 cubic feet of stuff underneath its stylish hatch.

Acura RDX is the sporty alternative to the XC60

The RDX is known for its sharp handling, and in the small SUV world, not many can match it. It comes well equipped, and its 272-horsepower engine packs about the same power as the Volvo’s, but without a hybrid boost. The Acura is front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option, as are several trim and sport packages. Like the Genesis, its cargo hold is slightly smaller, at 58.9 cubic feet.

The A-Spec version adds some performance and appearance upgrades, while the Advance and Technology add more goodies. The center stack is full of buttons and switches in the Acura that make it feel more like a helicopter gunship when you’re driving it than a grocery getter. However, it only earns average scores from J.D. Power.

Audi Q5 is Audi’s best-selling alternative

2023 Audi Q5 in green in a field
2023 Audi Q5 | Audi

Audi sells more Q5 SUVs than any other because it checks a lot of the right boxes, and starts at $43,500. Unlike the Volvo, it comes with all-wheel drive, in this case Audi’s quattro system, standard. It was launched in 2009 and saw a significant update for 2018, and a small refresh in 2021, with several trim options.

The Q5 has three engine options, and handling that belies its tall stance. The Q5 seats five and has a dual-clutch automated gearbox, which is quicker shifting than the competitors’ automatics, quattro all-wheel drive, and more. Many reviewers give the 2023 Q5 high marks for performance and reliability.

If you need to carry stuff, though, the XC60 may be a better choice. The Audi holds just 54.0 cubic feet of stuff when the seats are folded.

Mercedes GLC 300 is the traditional luxury alternative

The Mercedes GLC 300 is just under our price limit and starts at $43,850. The GLC is Mercedes’s top-selling vehicle ever, and it’s easy to see why. It combines all of the luxury features you’d expect from a Mercedes at this level. It was completely redesigned for the 2023 model year, so it may be hard to find a new one at your local dealer. However, the new SUV has a sleek interior with a twin cockpit look and wood-grain center stack topped with a new touchscreen, if only a cramped 56.5 cubic feet of cargo room.

Though it’s a relative bargain in this class, options will send the price soaring quickly. Heated seats are a $450 option and the passenger memory seat is a $350 option, wireless charging adds $200, a heated steering wheel will run $350 more, while heated rear seats are $580. The multimedia package, which adds navigation and navigation with augmented video, adds $1,300, and the driver assistance package with several safety aids adds $1,700. The GLC will hold 49.4 cubic feet of stuff.

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