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 the Volvo XC60 2.4D. It’s the entry-level engine in the XC60 range and features a de-tuned 161bhp version of the familiar ‘D5’ five-cylinder turbodiesel.
What’s it like?
The XC60’s flowing haunches, sleek roofline and rakish tail lights really make the car stand out - a useful asset in a market segment brimful of unimaginative me-too rivals.
But though the XC60’s appearance is a break from the norm, from the moment you climb aboard it feels just like a Volvo. The light, airy cabin has just enough luxury touches to feel upmarket without seeming ostentatious, and the controls feel solid but not over-engineered.
The 161bhp 2.4D we tested is the least powerful XC60 variant on offer, but although it’s not exactly brisk, the five-cylinder turbodiesel rarely feels underpowered.
The six-speed manual gearbox isn’t particularly precise, but it feels slick enough and actually works much better with this engine than the optional Geartronic auto, which occasionally feels dull-witted and robs the driver of that extra level of control needed to make the most of the relatively modest power on offer.
Should you choose to hustle, the XC60 makes a decent fist of it, providing plenty of grip and always feeling stable and controlled over crests and dips. Ultimately, however, the wooden steering and lack of adjustability in the chassis shows the XC60’s heart is elsewhere.
There’s no shame in that - this is a car aimed at cruising and commuting and in that respect the XC60’s supple ride and muted diesel thrum make it an excellent proposition for the daily grind.
Should I buy one?
If you are in the market for a small, upmarket SUV, the XC60 is different, good-looking, comfortable and suitably luxurious. If you can ignore the merely average fuel consumption, it’s a fine choice.