Volvo XC60 SUV
Price: £31,110 - £43,700
- Good looking, classy shape
- Frugal diesel models
- Very safe
- Sluggish auto box
- Five-cylinder diesels aren’t very efficient
- Not much fun to drive
"Stylish, easy to drive and very comfortable, the Volvo XC60 also offers class leading safety and strong resale values."
The Volvo XC60 is less of an off-roader and more a tall family estate car. That means it's easy to drive and very practical. It offers a very comfortable ride, while the driving position offers a high view of the road with great visibility. It sits in between the rugged off-road ability of the Land Rover Freelander 2 and the sportier, hard-riding Audi Q5. For family buyers, that means just the right balance of comfort and performance. We’d go for the front-wheel-drive version, thanks to its better on-road comfort, superior fuel economy and cheaper purchase price than the 4x4 model. The ride was softened even more by a recent update that also improved the car's grip. It's not hugely fast but it's unlikely buyers considering one will be concerned primarily with speed.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Basic D4 diesel version offers best fuel economy
The basic Volvo XC60 now runs on a 179bhp 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine. It does a claimed 60.1mpg and it emits just 124g/km of CO2, yet feels quick too, accelerating from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. If you really crave extra power, then the D5 does the same two seconds faster but at the expense of decent economy figures.
A Mazda CX-5 is cheaper to run and more fun to drive – so if rock-bottom running costs are key, then you'll need to look elsewhere.
Interior & comfort
Room in back for three average-sized adults
While it may feel a bit dated nowadays, you still get really supportive seats in the XC60, while the driving position is comprehensively adjustable so every driver should be able to find their ideal spot. There's also loads of space for front-seat passengers too, so long drives aren’t a chore for either the driver or their passenger. The back is also pretty good, with enough space for three adults to sit in relative comfort.
Volvo's trademark floating centre console dominates the dashboard, but it still looks good and is logically laid out and easy to use. The new SE Lux model comes with a customisable driver display, sat-nav, air-con, leather-faced seats and a rear-parking sensors.
Sadly, the XC60 is let down by its pretty noisy diesel engines – which get intrusive when driven quickly – and the clunky gearbox. Thankfully, wind and road noise is kept to a minimum.
Practicality & boot space
The boot is big, but there's no seven-seat option
You don’t get the versatility of an MPV in the Volvo XC60, but its large dimensions and big boot go a long way. When the standard-fit 40/20/40 split-fold back seats are folded down flat, the 495-litre boot expands to a fairly impressive 1,455 litres of luggage capacity.
Child-friendly features such as in-built booster chairs and a picnic table can be added as optional extras to further shore up the XC60's appeal as a practical family car.
Reliability & safety
Interior is well built with high-class materials
The XC60 is solidly built and very reliable – after all, it is a Volvo. Volvo placed eighth in the manufacturers rankings of the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.
Inside the XC60, the materials are high quality yet durable, with the seats being easy to fold down. The XC60's engines and gearboxes have all been tried and tested across the rest of the Volvo range, as has the platform and four-wheel-drive system. It has had a few recalls, but only for minor issues, and it placed an impressive 19th in the Driver Power list of the top 100 cars.
In terms of safety, even the SE model comes fitted with a range of electronic braking aids, dual-stage airbags, traction control, electronic stability control (ESP), hill descent control, curtain airbags and Volvo's City Safe system, which automatically stops the XC60 when it detects a collision is imminent – provided you’re driving below 19mph. Unsurprisingly for a Volvo, it secured the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests.
Engines, drive & performance
The XC60 is more suited to flat roads than rough terrain
The smaller brother to the Volvo XC90, the XC60 carries over its comfortable ride and relaxing drive.
The engine range is limited to a range of powerful diesels, with a choice of two and four-wheel drive. It's worth noting that the is really a road car – it can handle some muddy tracks but it isn’t good in proper off-road situations.
The suspension is comfortable but the steering gives hardly any feedback to the driver and the automatic gearbox sometimes seems slow to change gears, as well as being decidedly inefficient and jerky.
Price, value for money & options
Sporty-looking R-Design versions stand out
Volvos aren’t cheap but the entry-level model comes fitted with 17-inch alloys, TFT dials, all-round electric windows, climate control, and cruise control as standard, so you do get some decent equipment and accessories for your money.
Ambient lighting and a heated steering wheel can also be added for extra cash. Next, the SE also includes an electric tailgate, a USB/MP3/Bluetooth connectivity and parking sensors. Meanwhile, the R-Design sports a more ostentatious exterior and upgraded interior.
Fixed price servicing should help keep costs down, but any options packs lean towards pricey even though they include quite a bit of equipment. All models boast strong resale values on the used car market, so you’ll get plenty of your investment back when you make a second-hand deal.
What the others say
While off-road ability is limited, Volvo says the raft of electronics, coupled with the raised body height, will ensure few cars encounter significant traction issues. It's effortless at speed, and a particulate filter cuts dirty exhaust emissions.
The XC60 is a brilliant family car. It's practical, classy, good to drive and scores highly for safety. The front-wheel drive version is notably more affordable to own than other models in the range.
Last updated: 5 Feb 2014