What is it?
Volvo’s long-awaited entry into the booming compact SUV segment. Although it is related to the Land Rover Freelander, the XC60’s gestation has taken over 18 months more.
Although its shares ‘some floor parts’ with the Freelander, the XC60 version of Ford’s C1+ platform is significantly different.
Under the skin, everything from the front bulkhead to the upper structure to the seating position is unique to the Swedish car.
Most UK interest will be in the five-cylinder diesel versions, but there’s also a range-topping 282bhp T6 turbo petrol engine for those wanting one of the most powerful soft-roaders on the market.
The XC60’s standard specification is generous, including climate control, cruise, aluminium trim, roof bars, roof spoiler, front fogs and 17in alloys.
However, the big news is the standard fitment of Volvo’s new ‘City Safety’ anti-collision system, which automatically brakes the car at speeds of less than 15km/h if there’s a risk of a rear-end collision with the car in front.
What’s it like?
This is probably the best new Volvo for some years. Under chief designer Steve Mattin, the last vestiges of Volvo’s formerly boxy lines have been completely wiped away.
The XC60 looks like a Volvo, but its design is more sophisticated and flowing than any model before it. Parked next to it, an XC90 looks remarkably clunky.
The story is even better inside. After the rather square-cut and overly rational S40 and V70 interiors, Mattin has gone back to the more enclosed and driver-centric design last seen on the S60.
There’s no doubt that all the attention to detail has succeeded. All the familiar benefits have been retained (excellent storage space and the class-leading cupholders) but with a much improved ambience and sense of sophistication.
The extremely well judged driving position and supportive, sculpted seats make the cabin a very agreeable place to spend long hours.