What is it?
A facelifted version of Volvo’s soft-roading XC60 SUV. The latest round of model updates in the Volvo range gives the XC60 a new protective plastic trim below the front bumper, plus a re-styled front grille provides the XC60 with a sturdier, more rugged stance on the road.
As with the outgoing model, this updated XC60 is based on the Land Rover Freelander Mk2 platform. It makes sense, then, that Volvo has set its sights on both that and Audi’s Q5 as rivals.
The Audi enjoys the same premium SUV style, but suffers from short gearing – while the Freelander is too adorned with go-anywhere tech for some. That means that there should be space in the market, then, for the updated XC60 to appeal to both sets of drivers by addressing those issues with this new model.
What's it like?
Inside, the cabin retains the premium feel of its predecessor, with plenty of soft-touch furnishings and brushed aluminium on show. There’s the same button-operated infotainment system, too, which to some might seem dated next to touch-screen options on offer from other manufacturers. However, the addition of a digital dashboard is a nice touch, with selectable themes changing the look and functionality of the dials.
On to the engine, and the 2.4-litre diesel unit we tried is very quiet at low revs, and picks up speed well from low-down in the power band. At cruising speed it feels refined, but higher revs cause the unit to sound strained.
A six-speed automatic gearbox seems like the right choice for the XC60, as the transmission does a good job of managing the engine’s output. It’s sometimes a little keen to seek out a higher gear in order to achieve better fuel economy, but otherwise ratios are well spaced, with changes feeling fluid and fast throughout.
The main downside to this updated XC60 comes with its steering. A car of this size is never going to win a tightest turning circle contest, but we would have expected more from the XC60. Even in relatively empty car parks the big Volvo feels cumbersome to manoeuvre. That’s not helped by a wheel that is weighted at low speeds. On the motorway, the setup is perfect, but on our urban runs it felt out of place.