Volvo is justifiably proud of its different approach, and the usable, attractive XC60 is good enough to stand out in a very able compact SUV crowd
What is it?
This is a new, more economical, lower trim, lower priced XC60 cross-over that is front-drive rather than four-wheel drive.
The switch to two-wheel drive is the chief means of lowering its Co2 emissions, from 183g/kmm to 159g/km, although revised gear ratios, engine management recalibrations, a turbo tuned to deliver more torque at lower revs and electric rather than hydraulic power steering assistance also help. It’s higher geared too, and on the combined cycle its 2.4 litre five cylinder turbodiesel is good for 47.1mpg, as well as a brisk 0-60mph time of 9.3sec. Otherwise, this is stock XC60.
What’s it like?
Never mind fuel economy – the most striking aspect of this revised drivetrain is its eagerness, the XC60 surging forward with authority even on relatively light throttle openings despite the taller gearing.
Indeed, in sixth, it needs just 2000rpm to pull 75mph, and there’s more than a glimmer of acceleration at this pace and in this gear if you need to speed up.
A relatively short drive did little to reveal any dynamic shortcomings now that there’s no drive to the rear wheels, although its traction and security in extreme conditions will undoubtedly have been diminished.
The XC60 is fairly wieldy and musters decent body control, but the new electric power steering is pretty numb and the ride is as wooden as it is in just about every other Volvo.
Should I buy one?
If you need a roomy, stylish and safe cross-over that can muster a fair turn of speed, this XC60 is worth a look, especially as it promises to be one of the most economical cross-overs in the class.
The appeal of its strong styling and attractive cabin are undiminished by the DRIVe option, which does nothing to slow this car down.
The XC60 is not a particularly engaging device to drive, solid performance apart, but as a versatile and relatively economical set of family wheels there’s a good case for it, although this is not a cheap car.