From £26,915
Too expensive, and there are better SUVs out there, but decent powertrain and relaxed drive appeals

Our Verdict

Volvo XC60
The Swede's XC60 compact SUV is a rival for Range Rover's Evoque

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?

On paper, it looks as though this new Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design Powershift could solve the shortage of entertainment and enhance the existing merits. Which would be good news because we like the Volvo XC60. We know it doesn't offer the level of driver reward that some might expect but its cabin is amongst the most aesthetically appealing in the class and it is generally an easy car to live with.

A new turbo'd 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol motor (a revised version of Ford's Ecoboost motor) putting out 237bhp and 236lb ft sits in the nose and sends power to all four wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox – a manual is not available with this engine. We tested the new powertrain in an XC60 complete with the R-Design chassis, which gets stiffer dampers and anti-roll bars as well as a sprinkling of styling chintz.

What's it like?

The result of all these changes is a car that does enhance the XC60's existing strengths. On the move engine refinement is excellent (though wind flutter can be a mild irritation) and the free-revving motor provides easy and swift progress. But for all that the on-paper figures build this XC60 up to be a sporting car, it doesn’t live up to it from behind the wheel.

The Powershift 'box is as responsible for this as any chassis shortcomings. It shifts smoothly and has well-chosen ratios but it can be slow to respond if you’re tackling the journey with gusto. In fact the whole powertrain works best if you just surf along on its muscular mid-range, and there is nothing wrong with that. The XC60 was never going to be sharp and poised so it is better off being comfortable and relaxing, even in this 237bhp guise.

Ride quality lives up to that, too. It's a bit lumpy at low speeds but more often than not it isolates occupants well whilst body roll is kept adequately in check.

Should I buy one?

As is so often the case with Volvos, the XC60 comes unstuck when it comes to price. In all but its cheapest spec the XC60 T5 is more expensive than the BMW X3 xDrive20d Auto, and yet - by every objective measure – it's not as good.

Subjectively, however, many people simply don't want a BMW. If you're one of them and you like the XC60's 'not a BMW or Audi' brand of premium, then this is one of the more pleasant models. Our money would go on the identically priced D3 for its better running costs, but if performance and refinement matters more to you, this won't disappoint.

Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design Premium

Price: £34,775; Top speed: 130mph; 0-62mph: 8.1sec; Economy: 33.2mpg; Co2: 198g/km; Kerb weight: 1759kg; Engine type: 4cyl, turbocharged, 1999cc; Power: 237bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1800-5000rpm; Gearbox: 6spd dual-clutch auto

Join the debate

Comments
20

28 January 2011

I like the XC60, but this engine in the forthcoming Range Rover Evoque is much more desirable!

28 January 2011

Once again the Powershift transmission is found wanting. Perhaps it needs the software update that Autocar long term cars get...!

I'd be interested to know what the economy was like, the same drivetrain in the S-MAX is extremely thirsty and gets nowhere near the claimed figures.


1 February 2011

[quote bomb]

Once again the Powershift transmission is found wanting. Perhaps it needs the software update that Autocar long term cars get...!

I'd be interested to know what the economy was like, the same drivetrain in the S-MAX is extremely thirsty and gets nowhere near the claimed figures.

[/quote]

You cant get this powertrain in an S-Max, unless Ford have released a 4WD version I have missed.

1 February 2011

[quote Citytiger]You cant get this powertrain in an S-Max, unless Ford have released a 4WD version I have missed[/quote]

Sorry, I didn't realise it would be this difficult to grasp:

"I'd be interested to know what the was like, the same engine/transmission combination in the S-MAX is extremely thirsty and gets nowhere near the claimed figures."


1 February 2011

How many cars do get near the claimed figures? I can't believe that the manufacturers can get away with such publishing misleading data.

1 February 2011

[quote blue62]

How many cars do get near the claimed figures? I can't believe that the manufacturers can get away with such publishing misleading data. [/quote]

As far as I understand it, the manufacturers do not specify the fuel consumption test protocols, nor do they conduct the tests. The tests are dnoe by government or industry personnel (at MIRA for UK?).

Naturally, the manufacturers all optimise their ECUs, gear ratios, etc. to ensure good test results, but the real culprits appear to be the tests themselves. However, it does mean that a customer can at least compare Car X to Car Y and have a reasonable idea of their relative economies.

There was a blog about it here on the Autocar website a while back, I seem to remember...

1 February 2011

[quote blue62]I can't believe that the manufacturers can get away with such publishing misleading data. [/quote] The manufacturers just follow the rules set by the EU, but make the cars as economical as possible during the test cycle on a rolling road. The fuel consumption figures outside of the test cycle are not allowed to be published by the manufacturers by law. Your individual driving and where you drive have huge impact on economy. High speed use on a motorway, heavy traffic in a big town will increase fuel consumption heavily compared to modest speed with no hold ups on rural roads.

1 February 2011

Does it bother anyone else that they are using a T5 badge on a four-cylinder car? When the T badge was introduced with the 850 T5 the T5 had 5 cylinders, the S/V40 T4 had 4 cylinders, and logically enough the S80 T6 had 6 cylinders. This badge fiddling is really getting annoying as before it was reasonably systematic, and now it seems just arbitrary.

1 February 2011

[quote JacobE]Does it bother anyone else that they are using a T5 badge on a four-cylinder car?[/quote]

Not half as much as it bothered me that Ferrari called a car 599 GTO when it was clearly not a homologation model... ;)

1 February 2011

[quote bomb]the same drivetrain in the S-MAX is extremely thirsty[/quote]

Real life mpg is around 30. I could stomach that for a 200 hp mpv.

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