From £26,9158
Latest generation of Volvo’s premium soft-roader gets a more rugged look and more widespread appeal

Our Verdict

Volvo XC60

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

Darren Moss
12 August 2013

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.

Another downside to the XC60 is its ride. The car can be specified with the £1000 optional Active Four-C chassis control system, similar in function to Audi’s Driver Select. It was missing in our test car, however, and its absence means that a ride that is very well suited to the motorway feels too firm around town. That said, the worst bumps and potholes are softened by the 18-inch wheels fitted to our test car. 

Overall, however, these latter comments are minor issues. The XC60 is a very competent cruiser and offers a genuinely engaging drive in most situations.

Should I buy one?

The XC60 fits into this market well, and it solves many of the problems presented by its rivals. Wind and road noise, which were big problems we found in the BMW X3, are non-existent in the XC60’s well-insulated cabin. Likewise, whereas the Range Rover Evoque feels somewhat fidgety at speed the XC60 is reassuringly planted. 

It isn’t a perfect car by any means – we struggled to reach the claimed 44.1mpg, and the host of on-board safety systems can be overly cautious around town – but as a premium, compact SUV it seems the XC60 will retain its place on our list of the top cars in this segment.

Volvo XC60 D5 AWD SE Lux NAV

Price £37,705; 0-62mph 7.8sec; Top speed 127mph; Economy 44.1mpg combined; CO2 169g/km; Kerb weight 1864kg; Engine 2400cc, five-cylinder, transverse, diesel; Power 212bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 325lb/ft at 1500-3000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed automatic

Join the debate

Comments
9

13 August 2013

Its not based on the Landrover Freelander platform, its the Ford/Volvo EUCD platform as used by the current Mondeo, remember how Jaguar got panned for using a Ford platform for the X-Type, but seeing as JLR are now beyond reproach this seem to have been forgotten, there is nothing wrong with the platform by the way, just making a point. 

13 August 2013

Citytiger wrote:

Its not based on the Landrover Freelander platform, its the Ford/Volvo EUCD platform as used by the current Mondeo, remember how Jaguar got panned for using a Ford platform for the X-Type, but seeing as JLR are now beyond reproach this seem to have been forgotten, there is nothing wrong with the platform by the way, just making a point. 

 

Er, the Freelander IS based on the EUCD platform! check your facts before you criticise...it makes you look foolish

13 August 2013

Paul73 wrote:

Citytiger wrote:

Its not based on the Landrover Freelander platform, its the Ford/Volvo EUCD platform as used by the current Mondeo, remember how Jaguar got panned for using a Ford platform for the X-Type, but seeing as JLR are now beyond reproach this seem to have been forgotten, there is nothing wrong with the platform by the way, just making a point. 

 

Er, the Freelander IS based on the EUCD platform! check your facts before you criticise...it makes you look foolish

Er check your facts, the article states the XC60 is based on the Freelander 2 platform, as if to imply that it was a specific "JLR" platform that Volvo had borrowed, and that clearly is not the case, the Freelander 2 and the XC60 are both based on the EUCD platform that was co-developed by Ford and Volvo that JLR have borrowed.. The Freelander 2 also used Volvo's I6 petrol engine in certain markets, and all the current engines are either Ford or Ford/PSA derived so actually its more of a mongrel Volvo/Ford/Peugeot than LR, but with a higher price tag.. Next. 

13 August 2013

 

Er check your facts, the article states the XC60 is based on the Freelander 2 platform, as if to imply that it was a specific "JLR" platform that Volvo had borrowed, and that clearly is not the case, the Freelander 2 and the XC60 are both based on the EUCD platform that was co-developed by Ford and Volvo that JLR have borrowed.. The Freelander 2 also used Volvo's I6 petrol engine in certain markets, and all the current engines are either Ford or Ford/PSA derived so actually its more of a mongrel Volvo/Ford/Peugeot than LR, but with a higher price tag.. Next. 

[/quote]

 

Jees, you just either really hate Autocar to be that picky, or you have a very empty life....

13 August 2013

Paul73 wrote:

Jees, you just either really hate Autocar to be that picky, or you have a very empty life....

not in the slightest, just hate posters who try to pick faults with others, just to try to make a point, it makes them look foolish.

13 August 2013

Paul73 wrote:

Citytiger wrote:

Its not based on the Landrover Freelander platform, its the Ford/Volvo EUCD platform as used by the current Mondeo, remember how Jaguar got panned for using a Ford platform for the X-Type, but seeing as JLR are now beyond reproach this seem to have been forgotten, there is nothing wrong with the platform by the way, just making a point. 

 

Er, the Freelander IS based on the EUCD platform! check your facts before you criticise...it makes you look foolish

I'm sceptical of this whole platform sharing theory.  On paper, it says the XC60 and Freelander II both use the same platform.  I have however seen underneath both cars on top of ramps in a workshop and it all looks very different.  A glance under a Ford Galaxy revealed some degree of commonality in sheetmetal pressing between Ford and Volvo, but the Freelander II looked very different to its so-called platform siblings.

 

13 August 2013

Yep, paul73 is rright

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_EUCD_platform

i rather like the xc60. Friends of mine have just bought an XC90, but looked at this first. Interior was smart, they like the drive, but they wanted the extra space the bigger car gave.

13 August 2013

I worked at JLR during the freelander 2 programme so am sure of it Wink

13 August 2013

I never realised that the XC60 was on the same Ford sourced platform as the Freelander 2.  I had always assumed it was a shortened XC90 platform?  But as both companies were owned by Ford at the time of development, I guess it made sense.   Not sure therefore why the XC60 should have such a bad ride around town as the Freelander is very supple, or is this just down to harder springs and dampers?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?