- Stylish Scandinavian design and beautifully crafted interior
- Smooth handling and very refined
- Excellent safety levels with most models featuring AWD
- Not as dynamic to drive as some rivals
- No smartphone connectivity as standard
- Price creeps up quite steeply when optional extras are introduced
The Volvo XC60 is a classy medium-sized SUV that is very easy on the eye and packed with technology. It was the first of the company’s ’60’ line-up to showcase the award-winning new design language and to be built on an advanced Scalable Product Architecture platform.
Boasting an elegant Scandinavian design complemented by a cabin packed with premium materials and techno treats, the XC60 is available with a choice of three diesel, three petrol and two petrol-electric plug-in hybrid engines.
This car is another clear example that Volvo is staking its claim in the premium sector.
On The Road
Anyone opting for the stylish XC60 SUV will have to make some serious decisions. Firstly, the engine choice is extensive. They are all 2.0-litre, four-cylinder units with D4, B4 and B5 diesels available, along with T4, T5 and T6 petrol units, plus T8 Twin Engine and T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered plug-in hybrids that combine a potent petrol engine with an electric motor.
The next decision regards the trim level. There are three main specs called Momentum, R-Design and Inscription - all of which can also be specified in Pro form and this adds even more desirable equipment to the mix.
We opted for the sporty R-Design Pro version powered by the B4 mild hybrid engine. This combines the 2.0-litre 197hp diesel engine with a 48-volt battery, a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and an integrated starter generator. Whenever the driver brakes or decelerates, energy is captured by the KERS system and is stored as electricity in the battery. This is then used to supplement the engine’s performance when accelerating and to power the likes of the audio system and lights.
It all sounds rather technical, but in all honesty, it runs incredibly smoothly in the background and you would never know there was any hybrid technology in place. But it does result in improved fuel efficiency.
Our test car performed impressively on the open road with a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.3 seconds and top speed of 127mph. There was a constant stream of power on tap for short bursts of acceleration when overtaking and the car cruised effortlessly at national speed limits on motorways.
Volvo models tend to steer towards outstanding comfort rather than blistering pace and the XC60 is another example of this. Even in sportier R-Design Pro guise, this is a car that copes admirably with poor road surfaces.
That’s because the XC60 boasts a double wishbone front axle with coil springs and that results in improved grip, limited body roll, more stability and better comfort levels all round.
This system is complemented by the rear suspension set-up featuring integral-link rear axle with a composite transverse leaf spring, which also aids grip and body stability with low levels of noise, vibration and harshness.
However, the more muscular R-Design Pro model gains a more dynamic suspension set-up with stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars and faster acting shock absorbers for more responsive handling. This is apparent when faced with zig-zagging lanes where the car is stable, balanced and dynamically charged through the tight corners.
Drive modes called Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, Off-Road and Individual alter the way the car responds with Dynamic proving the most fun for driving purists out there. You can also maximise the sharper handling by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles to manually change gears.
There’s no denying the fact that Volvo designers come up with the goods time and time again when developing the interiors of their cars. It’s the attention to detail along with a minimalist approach that gives the cars such an upmarket feel.
For example, the XC60 combines elegant skilled craftsmanship, Scandinavian design, premium natural materials such as wood and leather, and the innovative Sensus entertainment and control system to create a modern, luxurious place for all its occupants.
The focal point is the upright Sensus touchscreen system which is the access point to many of the car’s features and this set-up allows the car to be mainly free of buttons and controls.
Look closely and there is a tiny chrome Swedish flag emblem in the dashboard along with a little coloured flag attached to the driver’s seat. Small touches, but an indication that time has been spent over the finishing touches.
Our car featured Nappa leather seats that were power-operated and heated, along with the steering wheel, to fend off the winter chill.
From the outside, the XC60 R-Design Pro looks dynamic in its styling with Volvo’s signature headlights with their T-shaped daytime running lights, a black grille with chrome diagonal strip housing the Volvo emblem, sculpted lower doors, signature L-shaped tail-lights, twin tail pipes and 22-inch matt black alloy wheels.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Getting a comfortable driving position in the XC60 is a breeze thanks to powered seats and a fully adjustable steering wheel. And once settled, all dials, controls and readouts are perfectly placed for driver usability.
The main focal point is the stunning upright Sensus touchscreen system that operates like a tablet or smartphone with swipe functions as well as pinch and zoom. This is the entry point to the many infotainment systems on offer.
There is Sensus Navigation with full European mapping with traffic information and lifetime map updates, and other features include voice control that allows you to change the radio station, input an address in the sat nav or alter the cabin temperature, all without moving your hands from the steering wheel or your eyes from the road ahead.
The XC60 can also be transformed into a WiFi hotspot thanks to the standard data SIM card. This allows occupants to connect mobile devices to the internet via the car, benefitting from the improved signal strength of the vehicle’s antenna - clever stuff.
Other on-board kit included a head-up display, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and a 12.3-inch drivers information display that can be adjusted according to taste.
Space & Practicality
The XC60 is a five-door mid-sized SUV so will be a popular choice for active families who want to cover all the practical bases while still enjoying the comfort and dynamic driving ability of a car that handles like a hatchback.
The vehicle can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 2.4 tonnes, and it’s always worth remembering that almost all XC60 models come with all-wheel-drive so will be very capable when driving across grassy tracks or more demanding off-road terrain.
Space within the car is generous with ample room in the back for two adults to sit comfortably - add a third and they will be rubbing shoulders. It is, however, perfect for a trio of youngsters.
The powered boot has a nice wide opening and the flat lip makes it easier to load heavy or awkwardly shaped items. This boot has a storage capacity that ranges from 483 litres to 1,410 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
And there are lots of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the car too, such as a lockable glovebox, central cubby box, deep door pockets, covered trays, nets in the seatbacks, cup holders, plus hooks and nets in the boot to prevent items rolling around.
The XC60 line-up is priced from £38,715 for the diesel D4 front-wheel-drive model in Momentum trim and rises to £64,545 for the Polestar engineered T8 Twin Engine AWD automatic version. Our test car cost £48,010 although a number of optional packs saw that price increase to £56,185.
These packs included a Bowers & Wilkins sound system that introduced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and cost £2,500. Smartphone connectivity is not a standard feature on the XC60 range, but can be added as a retailer fitted accessory costing £300.
Other options on the test car were Intellisafe Pro priced at £1,500 that added Pilot Assist with Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information with Steer Assist and Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Collision Mitigation.
A Xenium pack, costing £2,000, included a powered panoramic sunroof, a parking camera with 360-degree view, Park Assist and 4-zone climate control.
Finally, a Convenience Pack introduced power-folding rear headrests, additional power sockets, a front tunnel net pocket and puddle lights - this pack cost £200 extra.
With regards to the running costs, our test car could deliver a combined fuel economy of 39.2-46.3mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 151g/km. This CO2 figure would result in a first-year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £530 which would reduce to £140 after 12 months. However, as the car costs more than £40k, there is an additional charge of £320 for the first five years.
Insurance for the car is group 32.
Quality & Reliability
Volvo is a company that has a well-earned and somewhat enviable reputation when it comes to reliability and build quality. And there is little reason to think that the latest XC60 will cause owners any issues.
It feels very solid in its build and the interior is quality through and through, from the supportive seats to the sturdy switchgear. Mechanically, the car feels very refined and the new mild hybrid technology has slipped seamlessly into the smooth running of the car.
The car comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty and there is also three years’ Volvo Assistance cover with free breakdown and recovery assistance anywhere in Europe.
There are additional cover policies available. For example, Cover Option 1 extends the standard manufacturer warranty to 4 years, 60,000-miles, whichever comes sooner and costs £445. Cover option 2 extends the warranty to 4 years, 80,000 miles, whichever comes first and costs £495; and Option 3 is a two-year policy up to 100,000 miles and is priced at £895.
Safety & Security
The Volvo XC60 secured a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and it introduced three new systems to the mid-size SUV sector.
The first is called Steering Support, which automatically provides steering input in an emergency to help avoid potential collisions.
Next up is Oncoming Collision Mitigation, which uses a radar and camera and reacts at speeds between 37 and 87mph to prevent a head-on collision. If you move out of your lane into the path of an oncoming car, the system will warn you of the potential danger by automatically providing steering assistance to guide you safely back into your lane.
The third system is the optional Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist. This also operates between 37 and 87mph, and automatically helps to steer the car back into its own lane and away from any vehicles in your blind spot.
All models get Volvo On Call that allows you to control various functions from a mobile phone, smartwatch or tablet, including setting the sat nav before leaving, temperature settings, locking or unlocking the car, flashing the headlights and sounding the horn to help find the vehicle and even downloading trip details for the past 100 days for company driver’s convenience.
Volvo On Call can also be used in emergency situations. For example, if the seatbelt pre-tensioner is activated or an airbag is deployed, an operator will contact the car and can send the emergency services to the exact GPS position. It can even be used to contact roadside assistance if you have a puncture.
Volvo’s commitment to developing safe cars is evident with its Vision 2020 scheme. The company has set a target whereby no-one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020.