Surprisingly eager drivetrain and lower running costs

What is it?

This is a new, more economical, lower trim, lower priced XC60 cross-over that is front-drive rather than four-wheel drive.

The switch to two-wheel drive is the chief means of lowering its Co2 emissions, from 183g/kmm to 159g/km, although revised gear ratios, engine management recalibrations, a turbo tuned to deliver more torque at lower revs and electric rather than hydraulic power steering assistance also help. It’s higher geared too, and on the combined cycle its 2.4 litre five cylinder turbodiesel is good for 47.1mpg, as well as a brisk 0-60mph time of 9.3sec. Otherwise, this is stock XC60.

What’s it like?

Never mind fuel economy – the most striking aspect of this revised drivetrain is its eagerness, the XC60 surging forward with authority even on relatively light throttle openings despite the taller gearing.

Indeed, in sixth, it needs just 2000rpm to pull 75mph, and there’s more than a glimmer of acceleration at this pace and in this gear if you need to speed up.

A relatively short drive did little to reveal any dynamic shortcomings now that there’s no drive to the rear wheels, although its traction and security in extreme conditions will undoubtedly have been diminished.

The XC60 is fairly wieldy and musters decent body control, but the new electric power steering is pretty numb and the ride is as wooden as it is in just about every other Volvo.

Should I buy one?

If you need a roomy, stylish and safe cross-over that can muster a fair turn of speed, this XC60 is worth a look, especially as it promises to be one of the most economical cross-overs in the class.

The appeal of its strong styling and attractive cabin are undiminished by the DRIVe option, which does nothing to slow this car down.

The XC60 is not a particularly engaging device to drive, solid performance apart, but as a versatile and relatively economical set of family wheels there’s a good case for it, although this is not a cheap car.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Wingco44 10 November 2009

Re: Volvo XC60 2.4D DRIVe S

I must admit I'm a Volvo fan; I own an R-Design 2.4 C30 auto and I agree with the previous poster who prefers it to his BMW 5 series - a great little car and such fun to drive but expensive (he new one is even more money!) - it goes like a bomb, a V50 Eco Drive (fantastic 68 mpg and very lively) and a fully loaded passion Red XC90 D5 Sport Auto. Years of owning and paying huge repair bills on Mercs and BMWs took me to the almost total reliability and no repair bills of Volvos. After 3 years of owning the XC90 and loving it, a first-ever problem; an engine control minor fault took me to my dealership in Grantham who very cleverly loaned me an XC60 EcoDrive whilst they fixed my car under a no quibble guarantee. I did around 100 miles in the few hours I had it and it returned 49.5 mpg on country roads (it was over 50 mpg most of the time but a detour into Grantham town centre saw it drop below 50, nearly double the 28 mpg of my XC90. The 47 mpg Volvo claim is very easy to achieve. It is far, far more refined than the XC90 and in manual form incredibly lively. I cruised at 70+ at 2000 rpm and it was inaudible. I sadly returned it to the dealership and tentively enquired about a part-ex. I was astonished at the very generous value £25K ( I lost £7K in 2.5 years - compare that with the massive losses on BMW 3 series cars I have owned in the past - and I couldn't afford the optional extra money for the direction indicators like most BMW drivers) put on my 35,000 mile nearly 3 yr old XC90 due its £400 (soon to be £430) road tax in Dec. I was enticed by the free 3 years' servicing, cashback to pay the deposit and I ordered a high spec XC60 SE Eco 2WD with panoramic roof (why doesn't everyone order this fantastic transformation?), auto cruise control (simply amazing and a real boon in traffic), blindspot warning (it really does work), lane departure (Who needs it? but it was part of a package) rear parking sensors (a must in this car with rear dark tinted windows), and £150 road tax! And direction indicators are standard! I reckon the saving in diesel, tax and servicing, and I no longer need to replace the worn tyres on my XC90 will add up to some highly enoyable and economic driving for the next 3 perhaps 5 years. And how often did I use the X-Country 4WD on my XC90........never. Save your money and buy an XC60 Eco - it is real fun, smooth and enjoyable. You won't be embarrassed and miss the 4WD and even if you did, you are no different from most other 2WD drivers.

Or am I just getting old?

theonlydt 2 July 2009

Re: Volvo XC60 2.4D DRIVe S

Isn't this a new engine as well? The old 2.4D had 163bhp, the D5 185bhp. This is the new 2.4d with 173bhp right? (New D5 is ~200bhp).

So anyway, my point - what's it like? You've mentioned it's eager and pulls well, but what about refinement? The old 2.4D was a good engine, but not refined enough for 2009. Volvo have done a massive amount of work on their 5 cylinder diesels and to me £25k for a "premium" SUV with what could be a cracking engine is pretty decent value. Having said that I would never buy a 2WD XC60 even if I could - I'd save up for the 4x4 version

aceman 2 July 2009

Re: Volvo XC60 2.4D DRIVe S

Don't really like the looks, but I can't deny, about 50 Mpg is pretty good for MPV. But I am weary about the price, £25,000 isn't exactly cheap, in fact it's a bit of a steep payment. Even if you did scrap your old car.