Currently reading: 2017 Volvo XC60 - first passenger ride
Our first taste of Volvo's new Jaguar F-Pace rival comes from the passenger seat, but there's plenty of dynamic promise on show

The Volvo XC60 has been designed to feel confident on the road, and it’s easy to reckon that this goal has been achieved when you’re doing 80mph through a long, g-force-building sweeper and your driver is demonstrating the car’s responsiveness by zig-zagging through the curve.

2017 Volvo XC60 review

The driver is Stefan Karlsson, Volvo’s head of chassis development, and he’s providing XC60 passenger rides on a variety of tracks at the company’s development ground at Hällered, near Gothenburg. Apart from being the first chance journalists have had to experience the XC60 in motion, even if it’s not behind the wheel, Volvo’s objective is to demonstrate what it claims to be a considerable improvement in the car's dynamic abilities. 

205076 The new volvo xc60

"There’s a lot more mechanical grip from the front end," says Karlsson, "this the result of a new double wishbone front suspension that allows the roll centres of each axle to be identical front to rear" - in contrast to the previous XC60.

"So we avoid pitching when the car is rolling, and damper tuning is much easier because we don’t have to control the body with the dampers," he says. That front-end grip certainly seems evident on the track, with Karlsson applying relatively modest steering angles even through tighter turns, especially given that his entry speeds appear to be on the bold side of brisk.  

What is effectively multi-link suspension all round provides other benefits too, not the least of them the rear-end precision needed to provide that high-speed, mid-curve responsiveness. If the car is geometrically unbalanced and its rear axle less precisely located, turning the wheel at high speed tends to produce more roll from the rear rather than producing the adjustment in line that you’d hoped for, Karlsson explains.

Volvo xc60webbb 0535 0

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"We also wanted the car to steer straight over crests and dips," he says while demonstrating this at stomach-sinking speed, and "the multi-link rear suspension really helps with the ride compared to a trailing arm set-up," he adds. It also provides more longitudinal compliance over bumps, which certainly seems evident from the way it deals with a series of protuberant manhole covers. How good the ride really is will emerge when we try it on UK roads, but it ought to be good because Volvo carries out all its final tuning on roads in Yorkshire.

According to Volvo's R&D boss, Henrik Green, this XC60 has been developed to provide more driver entertainment than we’re used to from most Volvos, and while the mainstream D5 diesel version we’ve experience is no sports car, it certainly comes across as a satisfyingly capable and responsive machine, as well as being quiet, comfortable and very pleasant to sit in.

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runnerbean 26 April 2017

Can't wait for the T8 version of this . . .

. . . which looks like it is going to knock all the other mid-sized hybrids into a cocked hat. I'm not a Volvo fanboy, have never owned one amongst 100+ cars in 45 yrs of motoring, but I'm ringing the dealer today.
peter griffin 26 April 2017

Volvo XC60 - First passenger ride

I totally agree with johnfaganwilliams. I want an SUV that is quiet, comfortable and rewarding to drive with outstanding safety and quality. The new XC60 appears to tick all the boxes for me! If I want a sports car I'll buy something else. I don't care where it's made as long as it's made well. The fact that it's more appealing aesthetically than either a new Q5 or GLC is a bonus!
xxxx 26 April 2017

Size of that Trasmission tunnel, just it continue?

And the biggest transmission tunnel I've ever seen, which if it carry's on into to the rear compartment (photo of rear seats conviently left out) will make the 5th seat near obsolete. I await a photo
Citytiger 26 April 2017

xxxx wrote:

xxxx wrote:

And the biggest transmission tunnel I've ever seen, which if it carry's on into to the rear compartment (photo of rear seats conviently left out) will make the 5th seat near obsolete. I await a photo

There is this thing called the internet, and guess what, there are lots of pictures of the vehicle out there if you look.