The form book doesn’t lead you to expect great things when it comes to the dynamic abilities of the Volvo XC60; however, it’s better in reality than most would expect.

It doesn’t ride with the pillow-soft pliancy of an executive saloon, but compared to many of its rivals it is more comfortable, quieter and controlled. Opt for a car with the R-Design chassis and the ride isn’t as smooth at lower speeds as the standard car’s, though the stiffer dampers and anti-roll bars do improve body control at speed.

Volvo doesn't make much of a play of the XC60's off-road credentials. Riding on Pirelli P-Zero rubber that's probably a good thing.

Even when the road turns twisty the XC60 gives off a good first impression, offering good body control and plenty of grip – especially when equipped with the Haldex four-wheel drive. Badged Volvo AWD with Instant Traction the system transmits the vast majority of power to the front wheels for increased economy, but reapportions it as wheels lose grip.

Still, whatever drivetrain and chassis you choose it’s only when you really begin to push hard that the limits of the chassis are relatively quickly exposed. The steering is less than fantastic, and although accurate, it’s short on feel. Meanwhile the large rim and heavy weighting can make it seem rather ponderous in the first quarter of a turn.

Regardless, the XC60 manages to exceed the relatively lowly levels expected of its dynamics, particularly in terms of ride quality. But if driving enjoyment is a priority, there are definitely more involving rivals out there – such as the BMW X3 or Land Rover Discovery Sport, to name just a couple.


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