First UK drive: Volvo XC60

The new XC60 is probably Volvo's most important model and makes up a huge proportion of UK sales. AOL Cars tried the latest model to see if it is good enough to compete with fierce rivalry in the market.


What is it?

The XC60 is Volvo's mid-size SUV, competing in the popular posh-crossover segment. The new model replaces the first-generation car which sold close to one million units around the world since its launch in 2008. Needless to say, the new model has a tough act to follow.

What's under the bonnet?

Our test car had the impressive D4 diesel engine, which is actually the entry-level engine in the range, although it doesn't feel that way. The D4 has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder power plant which produces 187bhp and a significant 400Nm of torque. The impressive torque figure means the XC60 can achieve 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds.

As for fuel economy, the D4 engine can manage an average of 54.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 136g/km.

What's it like to drive?

The XC60 is a very competent car on the road, and does exactly what most people require from an SUV. It is comfortable, quiet and largely refined, although the engine can sound a bit gruff at times.

Despite this, it's hard to describe it as exciting. Then again that is not largely what people will buy this car for. Although, it is a little bit disappointing that cheaper cars such as the Mazda CX-5 actually drive much better than the Volvo.

Another problem we found with the XC60 was the automatic gearbox. The 'box seemed to take forever to find and select a gear, which could be quite annoying during any spirited overtaking.

However, the area where the XC60 absolutely excels is on the motorway. The XC60's superb comfort levels make it perfectly suited to long distance driving, and we would strongly recommend it to anyone who covers a lot of motorway miles each year.

First UK Drive: Volvo XC60

First UK Drive: Volvo XC60


How does it look?

If you like the XC90's looks, the XC60 is likely to appeal too.

Top spec XC60s look excellent, with their large alloys and lots of chrome. However, in entry-level Momentum spec, which our test car came in, the XC60 just looked a bit basic. Huge arches made the 18-inch wheels look tiny. It didn't help that the car was specified to £43,385, but it didn't look like a car costing that much.

Yet, the XC60 has lots of potential. We definitely recommend opting for a higher trim level, or just bigger wheels in general, they really do make a huge difference and give it a look which it deserves.

What's it like inside?

The cabin is where the XC60 really comes into its own, and you instantly get the impression that a lot of money has been spent on interior development.

The stand-out feature in the dash is the nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which controls most of the XC60s features. It also means that the design is as clutter-free as possible, something we particularly like.

While perhaps not as spacious as the Volvos we know and recognise from the past, the XC60 is still a practical car. There is plenty of room for taller passengers and the boot space is impressive. With 505 litres with the seats up and 1,432 with the seats folded, space is definitely commendable.

What's the spec like?

Volvo has recently targeted itself as a premium car manufacturer, competing against accomplished German rivals such as BMW and Audi. This move towards the premium sector has forced prices up for the XC60, although the quality of the interior does help justify this.

The entry-level model starts at a quite hefty £37,205, although for this you do get a lot of standard equipment including a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, heated front seats and sat-nav. Also, Volvo retains its strong emphasis on safety, as all XC60s have City Safety with Steer Assist, lane keep assist and seatbelts which can automatically tighten if the car was to leave the road.

Our entry-level Momentum test car had over £8,000 worth of options, and included the Xenium pack, for £2,000, featuring a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree parking camera and Park Assist Pilot, which can even park the car for you.

Verdict

The XC60 is an extremely accomplished proposition, it is comfortable, spacious, safe and, providing you avoid the base model, it is very stylish. While it may not be as good to drive as rivals – particularly the Mazda CX-5 which undercuts it significantly – it still makes an excellent choice. Although, we just can't help but think that it's not quite good enough to justify a hefty premium over more mainstream rivals.

The knowledge

Model as tested: D4 AWD Momentum
Power: 187bhp
Torque: 400Nm
Max Speed: 127mph
0-60mph: 7.9 seconds
MPG: 54.3mpg
Emissions: 136g/km
Price: £37,205