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.