The Volvo XC60 is up against some tough rivals in what is rapidly becoming one of the most competitive classes there is. It takes on the likes of the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and Land Rover Discovery Sport. And it's not just upmarket rivals it has to beat: Cheaper but equally capable alternatives like the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai make excellent choices, too.
What the Volvo XC60 trades on, however, is its subtly handsome design, exceptionally comfortable ride, excellent safety record and exceptional build quality. That safety record really is impressive. The experts at Euro NCAP awarded it the full five stars, including 94% for adult occupant protection.
Like many Volvos, the XC60 also has excellent ride comfort and some very comfortable seats – you can travel for hundreds of miles at a time in one of these and not come out with a bad back.
However, it's beginning to feel its age. It won’t entertain you in corners the way a BMW X3 will and nor is it's interior as advanced or as high-quality as those of the Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC.
There's a choice of two engines, both diesel: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a 2.4-litre five-cylinder. We’d advise against choosing the larger engine, as it's considerably less efficient than the smaller one and not much more powerful or significantly faster. It’ll cost you £130 a year to tax and returns less than 50mpg. It's only available with four-wheel drive, too, but unless you need the extra grip (the XC60 isn’t particularly capable off-road with or without it), then you shouldn’t bother.
The 188bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is by far and away the pick of the bunch. It’ll only cost £30 a year to tax, thanks to CO2 emissions of 117g/km, while Volvo claims it’ll return around 63mpg economy, too.
You can have your Volvo XC60 in one of five trim levels: SE, SE Lux, R-Design, R-Design Lux and Selected by Design. All models come pretty well equipped, with cruise control, parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and DAB digital radio standard across the range. You also get a whole host of safety equipment as standard, which contributes to that fantastic Euro NCAP rating.