First Drive: Volvo XC60

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We take a close look at the all-new second generation Volvo XC60 to see what has been changed and see if it is still a family orientated SUV.

What is it?

The Volvo XC60 sits in the mid-sized SUV category of the market and has proved to be massively successful for the Swedish automaker, with nearly a million units sold since it was introduced in 2008.

With the introduction of this second generation model, the XC60 should continue to trend, especially with an new design that looks great thanks to 'Thor's Hammer' style headlights and chunky grille - giving it a stylish and contemporary look.

What's under the bonnet?

The engine in our model was the 2.0-litre D5 diesel engine. In the old model you got a five cylinder, but that has been dropped in favour of a more frugal four-cylinder engine. But don't think with economy comes less power.

With 272bhp on tap, the XC60 feels powerful and has enough torque to make up for its bulky size, 480Nm of it to be precise.

It can travel from 0-60mph in seven seconds and on to a top speed of 137mph. Economy is impressive for a car in this class, averaging 51.4mpg and emitting 144g/km of CO2.

What's the spec like?

As ever Volvo is still massive on safety, but there's also a big focus on being premium. The revamped front end gives the XC60 real elegance that seems to lack in some of its rivals, like the BMW X3. This uber-cool design continues inside the cabin.

Slide into the leather driver's seat and you'll find nothing but soft materials. A crisp, minimalist design is helped by the tablet-like touchscreen infotainment system that declutters the dashboard of unnecessary buttons, like that in its big brother the XC90.

The standard specification is highly impressive, with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and leather upholstery all standard, not to mention the impressive City Safety driver aid package.

The Sensus infotainment system is responsive and the high-definition screens are easy to read, though the layout takes some getting used to. This will be less of a problem for owners as Volvo says the system learns what menus you use regularly and puts them on the main screen to make navigation quicker and easier.

First Drive: Volvo XC60

First Drive: Volvo XC60

Any rivals?

The Volvo XC60 seems a much better car in terms of its looks and the super stylish interior – especially when compared to the likes of the BMW X3 or Audi Q5. But even though 505 litres of boot space isn't small, it isn't class leading either with the Jaguar F-Pace leading the way with 650 litres.

What's it like to drive?

It's immediately apparent that Volvo has put comfort at the top of the XC60's agenda. Our car was riding on the optional air suspension and fantastic, especially through the corner where it just glided along nicely.

The XC60 feels at home on the motorway, wafting along mile after mile in sublime comfort. The D5 engine is a cracker, pulling hard when required but delivering easy economy in everyday driving.

If relaxation is key, not a lot in the class comes close to this super-Swede. However drivability wise, it doesn't feel as dynamic or engaging as the Jaguar F-Pace. The steering might feel direct but has a numbness to it and although the air suspension is excellent at dealing with body roll, it still feels heavy when the road gets a bit twisty.

AOL Cars Verdict

The target market for the XC60 is families looking for something more interesting than rivals from Audi or BMW. It has proved hugely successful in doing this, and with the updated styling and impressive safety kit you'd have to be brave to bet against sales continuing to rise.