Volvo’s impressive recent design form continues with the XC60, which oozes class inside and out.

Underpinned by Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), the XC60 shows flashes of resemblance to its bigger XC90 sibling – like the Thor’s Hammer headlights – and sits on the same platform, but the XC60 manages to carve out enough of a difference to be distinguishable in its own right.

Previously it seemed a bit of a gimmick, but I’ve rather come around to Volvo’s ignition twist-switch

It’s longer, wider and lower than the previous-generation model too, but has a higher ground clearance and isn’t any heavier.

It’s also nicely proportioned to allow it an airy, spacious cabin inside while striking a sleek, understated, Nordic-chic exterior that isn’t particularly flashy, but neither is it emotionless and bland like many of the snoozefest SUVs in the class.

As standard the XC60 gets all-wheel drive and a double-wishbone front suspension with a rear multi-link arrangement.

Like the XC90, it gets a transverse composite leaf spring in the rear axle, allowing a light, compact design with, in theory, a smoother ride and improved noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) compared with what you’d get with a regular coil spring set up. Height-adjustable air suspension (which allows an additional 60mm of travel) is available as an (expensive) option – and our test car was equipped with it.

All ‘SPA’ Volvos benefit from the lightweight and strong qualities of the modular platform, and get the same power-assisted electromechanical rack and pinion steering system, the characteristics of which can be personalised through the different drive modes available: Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-Road, Individual.

These modes also affect the brake pedal feel, throttle response, damper settings and, if fitted, air suspension's ride height.

Every model has an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and the engine lineup consists of three 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines: diesel D4 and D5 units along with a 251bhp turbo T5 petrol.

Later this year a T8 petrol-electric plug-in hybrid will join the range. The D4 will be the big-selling sweet spot of the range, with 188bhp on tap and 133g/km of CO2 emissions.


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