Volvo XC60 SUV

£32,685 - £39,890

The Volvo XC60 brings its own brand of Scandinavian sophistication to a class packed with extremely talented rivals. The BMW X3 has the most established name, the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC have upmarket appeal and the Land Rover Discovery Sport is backed by an illustrious heritage.

The XC60 also faces a challenge from SUVs more capable than their lower price suggests, with the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai being good enough to be considered genuine rivals to the Volvo. The Swedish car aims to counter them by offering a potent blend of style, comfort and safety.

Volvo has definitely addressed the matter of style, with a look that manages to be handsome and desirable while still being low-key and subtle. Comfort is a definite strong point, with exceptional ride quality and some simply brilliant seats, and the way the car is put together using some very pleasing materials will impress, too.

Also beyond reproach is the XC60's safety record. It was awarded the full five stars after independent crash safety tests by Euro NCAP, with a rating of 94% given for adult occupant protection.

However, although the Volvo can whisk you and your family safely for hundreds of miles in superb comfort, its age is beginning to show in a few areas. It can’t claim to offer much in the way of driving entertainment through corners the way a BMW X3 can and it doesn’t offer advanced technology inside like a Mercedes GLC or Audi Q5.
The XC60 offers four engine choices. The two petrol engines are both 2.0-litres. The T5 is turbocharged and produces 242bhp, while the T6 is both turbocharged and supercharged, generating a huge 302bhp. The T5 can do 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds and achieve 42.1mpg economy, while the T6 manages 40.3mpg. CO2 emissions for these two range between 157 and 179 grams per kilometer, for yearly road-tax bills from £180 to £225.

The diesel engine choices depend on whether you need the the extra grip of four-wheel drive – but it's worth mentioning that the XC60 isn’t especially capable off-road whichever specification you go for.

Two-wheel-drive XC60s can have a 148bhp 2.0-litre turbo D3 or a 188bhp twin-turbocharged D4 engine. Both can deliver economy of nearly 63mpg and CO2 emissions of 117g/km and so cost only £30 a year to tax. A larger 2.4-litre diesel with 161 or 187bhp is only available with four-wheel drive, returning less than 50mpg and costing £130 a year for road tax as a manual, or £145 as an automatic.

Four specification levels are available for the XC60. There's SE and the better equipped SE Lux, then the sporty R-Design and R-Design Lux. All are well equipped and have cruise control, climate control , Bluetooth, DAB radio and parking sensors, together with 17-inch alloy wheels as standard. Volvo keeps up its reputation for built-in safety with a long list of equipment that helped the XC60 to achieve that five-star Euro NCAP rating.

The restrained, mature XC60 makes a fine choice if comfort, safety and subtlety are your priorities.