From £37,2059
Sound new XC60 offers the same thing as other recent Volvos: confident dynamics and a superb interior

Our Verdict

Volvo XC60

Volvo aims its reinvigorated crosshairs at the medium-sized SUV ranks

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    Sound new XC60 offers the same thing as other recent Volvos: confident dynamics and a superb interior

What is it?

The new Volvo XC60 is probably the easiest car you’ll have to get your head around this year.

You know how people love SUVs and crossovers? Well, they like them so much that the previous-generation XC60, despite being nine years old, sold in greater numbers in 2016 than it ever had in its life before. That’s not how car sales patterns are meant to work; they usually peak a year or two after launch, and then slowly fade thereafter. But it shows how much people want a) a Volvo, b) an SUV and c) ideally, a Volvo SUV. So here we are.

Volvo is undergoing something of a resurgence, what with the new XC90, and S and V90. This new XC60 is in the same vein, which is why if you’ve been following Volvo’s newfound good fortune at all you’ll know what to expect.

It’s an Audi Q5/BMW X3/Land Rover Discovery Sport-sized car, then, that uses the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) that underpins Volvo’s ‘90’ models. At 4.7m long, the five-seater is a little longer and wider but lower than the previous-generation XC60, and designed on the outside to have some new Volvo cues but retain lots of the appeal that made the old car such a success.

When it comes to suspension and powertrains, here’s the deal: double wishbones at the front, with an integral link setup at the rear, with coil springs at the front and a transverse leaf spring as standard at the back, and air springs optional all round.

There’s nothing bigger under the bonnet than an engine of 2.0-litres and of no more than four-cylinders. That can mean petrol or diesel, turbocharging, or supercharging and turbocharging, or hybrid assistance, with some compressed air thrown in too, which I’ll come back to.

In the UK, we get two diesels (a 187bhp D4 and a 232bhp D5), one turbo petrol (the 250bhp T5) and one petrol-electric hybrid (the 401bhp T8). All get eight-speed autos and all-wheel drive and, being a Volvo, about twenty dozen safety systems are standard, and upgrades on them optional.

This drive is of the D5, which in Britain only comes in higher grade trims, while the range, in general, is priced from around £37,000 to £58,000. The meat of it comes in the low- to mid-forties.

What's it like?

On the outside, the XC60 is at once familiar and yet obviously new at the same time; a bit like the XC90, in that way. Volvo talks about angling in the windows at the top to narrow the car’s upper profile, and throwing back the windscreen, to make it more car-like and rakish. And while roof and floor are lower, it’s the roof that has gone down more than the floor.

But this is still one of the more traditionally-proportioned SUVs. For all the changes it still feels pretty light and airy inside. Materials choices and colours no doubt help, and they continue the good work done by the 90 models. Fit and finish is spot on, and the design feels more ‘Scandinavian kitchen’ than ‘Japanese hi-fi’, pleasingly.

There’s plenty of space for occupants front and rear, perhaps because Volvo thinks that’s more important than a massive boot which, at 505 litres, is about 45 litres shy of the class norm. The driving position’s good. Lower than before, apparently, but while again Volvo talks about increasing the height of the centre console (necessary for packaging the batteries of hybrid versions) and standing the dashboard upright so it feels more cockpit-like, it’s still pretty relaxed.

Ditto the way it drives. Volvo says the 90 series cars are meant to be ‘relaxed’ and that the 60 should make you feel ‘inspired’, as if the two are differently perfumed shower gels.

Whatever, the XC60 is a way off being the most dynamic car in the class, but despite the fact that you and I enjoy driving, I don’t have a particular beef with that. Confident and predictable is what Volvo has gone for and confident and stable is what it has achieved.

The ride comfort is particularly good, better I think than anything out of the 90 range so far. The XC90, for example, has fine body control for an SUV but a sometimes over-brittle ride as a result; the S and V90 lope along quite nicely but with an amount of float that you couldn’t allow on a taller car, like the XC60, because it would feel dreadfully boaty.

Showing the kind of progress that suggests Volvo’s engineers are learning how to get the best from the SPA platform, then, the XC60 rides both smoothly and yet has decent enough control of its body movements. There are more agile-feeling SUVs in this class – Mercedes and Audi and BMW make them – but if you want an agile-feeling car, I’m generally inclined to think you shouldn’t buy an SUV in the first place. The XC60 makes confident, relaxing progress. It’s as if Theresa May is the chief chassis engineer: strong and stable, lads, strong and stable.

The steering, at three turns between locks, and with a decent turning circle, is of good speed; it’s accurate and mostly pleasingly weighted, too. And although it’s a little easy to whack some of the steering wheel controls, and it’d be nice if all versions had gearshift paddles, it’s a good-sized and shaped wheel. If you push on a bit, the XC60… look, let’s not pretend buyers have any intention of finding out, shall we? But like most SUVs, ultimately it can surprise you with how fast it can go, albeit body control gets a bit loose.

When mooching about, though, the 232bhp D5 engine, with its ‘power pulse’ compressed air lag-reduction system seems quieter than in early SPA installations. I’d want a back-to-back test before saying for sure how quiet – or, I still suspect, gruff – it is compared to, say, the equivalent Audi or Mercedes unit. And in Comfort or Eco modes – for you do, inevitably, get driving modes to choose from – the gearbox’s response can be overly relaxed when you ask something of it. That’s why standard paddles, to easily get you into the right gear, would be handy. But you can select an Individual driving mode, where the chassis can be left in its more compliant setting but have the powertrain turned up to Dynamic, which gives a better response. It’s still quite calm: Volvo’s idea of dynamic is not like, say, Porsche’s.

Should I buy one?

Ultimately, then, the XC60 continues Volvo's current decent form; it's a relaxed car with a high-quality feel inside and with an ambience and gait that's easy to warm to.

Unexpectedly, last year more than half of all Volvos sold were XC60s and XC90s, making Volvo first and foremost an SUV company – a situation that surprised Volvo executives just as much as it surprised anyone else. Given a sizeable proportion of those sales were 4x4s introduced nearly a decade ago, the new XC60 might keep it an SUV company for a while to come, too.

Volvo XC60 D5 Inscription Specifications

  • Location: Spain

     

  • On sale: June

     

  • Price: £44,450

     

  • Engine: 4 cyls, 1969cc, diesel

     

  • Power: 232bhp at 4000rpm

     

  • Torque: 354lb ft at 1750-2250;3

     

  • Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

     

  • Kerb weight: 2050kg (est)

     

  • 0-62mph: 7.2sec

     

  • Top speed: 137mph

     

  • Economy: 51.4mpg

     

  • CO2: 144g/km

     

  • Rivals: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC

Join the debate

Comments
24

16 May 2017
That first sentence is a shocker. I had to read it twice to understand it. The rest isn't much better I have to say.

16 May 2017
Is the author's first language English? Seems to be written in Newspeak v1.0! I'm still rather sceptical about a 2 tonne SUV being powered by nothing greater than 2 litres.

16 May 2017
1,202 words. 37 links. Oh dear.

16 May 2017
But not all of them standard even on a £47,000 version. Had a rant last time (annoying Citytiger) Powered Child locks now only cost £80 extra (normally free on nearly £30,000 cars let alone £50,000 ones).

Bad news, even on the same £50,000 top spec XC60 you still need to spend another £525 to get heated Aqua Blades (Instead of heated nozzles £35 on a Skoda).
That's criminal on near £50,000 car. Apologies if I've missed it in the Volvo Spec. but I don't think I have.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

16 May 2017
xxxx wrote:

But not all of them standard even on a £47,000 version. Had a rant last time (annoying Citytiger) Powered Child locks now only cost £80 extra (normally free on nearly £30,000 cars let alone £50,000 ones).

Bad news, even on the same £50,000 top spec XC60 you still need to spend another £525 to get heated Aqua Blades (Instead of heated nozzles £35 on a Skoda).
That's criminal on near £50,000 car. Apologies if I've missed it in the Volvo Spec. but I don't think I have.

Oh dear, your hatred for all things Volvo continues, so certain things cost extra, perhaps Volvo just know what their customer base want, seeing as its been one of, if not the best selling midsized SUVin Europe for the last few years, the lack of "powered childlocks as standard" hasn't put anyone off, perhaps you should have a word with the good people at EuroNCAP, who have openly stated that the 90 range are three of the safest cars they ever tested, and this new XC60 will be no different.

Not my words - A direct quote from EuroNCAP

Launched last year, the S90 and V90 are the latest additions to the Volvo Cars line-up and the first cars to be tested against Euro NCAP’s 2017 test regime. Both models take advantage of the many advanced technologies of the XC90 and made a big impression in all areas of Euro NCAP’s assessment. Standard-fit autonomous emergency braking for cars and pedestrians performed outstandingly well in Euro NCAP’s tests and the vehicles also offer lane and speed assistance. The S90 and V90 results surpass the best overall score of any model tested last year and now make Euro NCAP’s top-3 best performing cars ever, all Volvo.

16 May 2017
My post was obviously aimed at XXXX and not Citytiger, who actually speaks some sense. Apologies!

16 May 2017
Citytiger wrote:
xxxx wrote:

But not all of them standard even on a £47,000 version. Had a rant last time (annoying Citytiger) Powered Child locks now only cost £80 extra (normally free on nearly £30,000 cars let alone £50,000 ones).

Bad news, even on the same £50,000 top spec XC60 you still need to spend another £525 to get heated Aqua Blades (Instead of heated nozzles £35 on a Skoda).
That's criminal on near £50,000 car. Apologies if I've missed it in the Volvo Spec. but I don't think I have.

Oh dear, your hatred for all things Volvo continues, so certain things cost extra, perhaps Volvo just know what their customer base want, seeing as its been one of, if not the best selling midsized SUVin Europe for the last few years, the lack of "powered childlocks as standard" hasn't put anyone off, perhaps you should have a word with the good people at EuroNCAP, who have openly stated that the 90 range are three of the safest cars they ever tested, and this new XC60 will be no different.

Not my words - A direct quote from EuroNCAP

Launched last year, the S90 and V90 are the latest additions to the Volvo Cars line-up and the first cars to be tested against Euro NCAP’s 2017 test regime. Both models take advantage of the many advanced technologies of the XC90 and made a big impression in all areas of Euro NCAP’s assessment. Standard-fit autonomous emergency braking for cars and pedestrians performed outstandingly well in Euro NCAP’s tests and the vehicles also offer lane and speed assistance. The S90 and V90 results surpass the best overall score of any model tested last year and now make Euro NCAP’s top-3 best performing cars ever, all Volvo.

You don't have to act the Vovlo spokesman if some comments against Volvo and publish every poisitve you know. I just think it's a rip off to charge so much extra for basic safety equipment. End of! It's only a £500 minor point, calm down

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

16 May 2017
xxxx wrote:

But not all of them standard even on a £47,000 version. Had a rant last time (annoying Citytiger) Powered Child locks now only cost £80 extra (normally free on nearly £30,000 cars let alone £50,000 ones).

Bad news, even on the same £50,000 top spec XC60 you still need to spend another £525 to get heated Aqua Blades (Instead of heated nozzles £35 on a Skoda).
That's criminal on near £50,000 car. Apologies if I've missed it in the Volvo Spec. but I don't think I have.

Have you been injured by a Volvo in the past or maybe you were actually married to a Volvo in the past before being cast aside as you seem to show an extreme hatred for the brand??

A quick look at the price list will show you the heated Aqua Blades are optional on the base trim only and standard fit on all other trims.

The base Momentum spec includes LED headlights with active main beam, powered tailgate, heated leather, auto folding/dimming mirrors, digital instrument panel, 9" Touch Screen Nav + 10 speaker 330w sound system plus a list of standard fit safety equipment to shame an S-Class let alone an X3. Now that's one hell of a base specification and most of what I have mentioned would be expensive optional extras on even a top spec X3 or Q5.

Momentum Pro is second from base of six available trims and yet it adds a heated steering wheel and windscreen, active LED headlights (£1k on an X3) and drivers seat memory to an already high base spec plus those heated wiper blades you keep obsessing over.

Maybe it's time to give up on the Volvo bashing or at least do some actual research before you unleash you're all too predictable and unfounded Volvo rants as it's becoming extremely boring. Zzzzzzzz

16 May 2017
SAS32 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

But not all of them standard even on a £47,000 version. Had a rant last time (annoying Citytiger) Powered Child locks now only cost £80 extra (normally free on nearly £30,000 cars let alone £50,000 ones).

Bad news, even on the same £50,000 top spec XC60 you still need to spend another £525 to get heated Aqua Blades (Instead of heated nozzles £35 on a Skoda).
That's criminal on near £50,000 car. Apologies if I've missed it in the Volvo Spec. but I don't think I have.

Have you been injured by a Volvo in the past or maybe you were actually married to a Volvo in the past before being cast aside as you seem to show an extreme hatred for the brand??

A quick look at the price list will show you the heated Aqua Blades are optional on the base trim only and standard fit on all other trims.

The base Momentum spec includes LED headlights with active main beam, powered tailgate, heated leather, auto folding/dimming mirrors, digital instrument panel, 9" Touch Screen Nav + 10 speaker 330w sound system plus a list of standard fit safety equipment to shame an S-Class let alone an X3. Now that's one hell of a base specification and most of what I have mentioned would be expensive optional extras on even a top spec X3 or Q5.

Momentum Pro is second from base of six available trims and yet it adds a heated steering wheel and windscreen, active LED headlights (£1k on an X3) and drivers seat memory to an already high base spec plus those heated wiper blades you keep obsessing over.

..... Zzzzzzzz

Sure, why is it then when you spec the highest option or the Momentum Pro heated nozzles are part of a £525v pack. Stop your obsessimg over other people opinion. p.s. this will hurt, it looks like the previous model IMHO.
I await your reply and apology if you're wrong. Waiting....

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

17 May 2017
The base spec. Momentum or even the base Momentum Pro doesn't come with a 9" screen.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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