"Stylish, easy to drive and very comfortable, the XC60 also offers class leading safety and strong resale values."
Think of the XC60 more as a raised family-sized estate car than a proper off-roader. It's practical, classy and easy to drive. We’re big fans of the comfortable ride and the great view the high driving position provides. The car has neither the sporty, firm ride of an Audi Q5 or the rugged ability of a Land Rover Freelander 2, but falls somewhere in between, striking a great balance for family buyers. Front-wheel- drive versions are the pick, with decent road manners, plus better economy and lower prices than the 4x4s.
The XC60 shoehorns the comfortable, relaxing driving experience of the larger XC90 into a smaller package. Engine choice includes five-cylinder diesels – for the front-wheel-drive D3 and four-wheel-drive D5 – and the fast but thirsty four-wheel-drive 3.0-litre petrol T6. The XC60 can handle the odd grassy car park, but is more suited to the road, with its comfortable suspension. The steering doesn’t offer much feedback, while the automatic boxes change gear slowly. Plus, the diesels are gruff, but there's little wind or road noise.
The XC60 comes equipped with some amazingly supportive seats, as well as a brilliantly adjustable driving position and lots of space up front, making long-distance journeys a breeze for driver and passenger. The back seats are pretty spacious as well, and there's enough room for three average-sized adults. We like Volvo's floating centre console: not only does it look good, it also incorporates logically labelled and easy-to-use ventilation controls.
There are few better built, more reliable cars than the Volvo XC60. The interior is well put together with solid, durable but high-class materials. The seats fold flat easily and are unlikely to cause any trouble as time goes by. What's more, the XC60 is equipped with engines and gearboxes that have already been proven in other models in the Volvo range, plus a platform and four-wheel-drive system that's also tried and tested.
The XC60 isn’t as clever as a class-leading people carrier, but it's a highly versatile, spacious family car. For instance, the rear seats fold flat easily, resulting in a total carrying capacity of 1,455 litres. And even with the seats in place, there's 495 litres of space. If you want more, you can add 40/20/40 split/fold rear seats, which come with child-friendly features such as in-built booster chairs and a picnic table.
Value for money
This isn’t a cheap car. The entry-level front-wheel-drive D3 DRIVe ES starts at £27,620. But even that gets 17-inch alloys, all-round electric windows, climate control and cruise control. Further up the range, the SE has an electric tailgate, a USB input for MP3 players, plus parking sensors and Bluetooth. If you’re keen to stand out, consider the R-Design; this has a sporty bodykit and upgraded interior.
We’d recommend the entry-level 161bhp 2.0-litre D3 diesel DRIVe model. Not only does it return an impressive 47.9mpg, it also emits 154g/km of CO2, for competitive Road Tax. It's quick, with 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds, but if you really want more punch the D5 shaves another two seconds off that time – although it's nowhere near as economical. All models boast strong residual values, so you’ll get plenty of your investment back come resale time.