Volvo XC60 SUV review
“A stylish SUV with a calming interior, impressive onboard tech and the option of plug-in hybrid powertrains, the Volvo XC60 has plenty of upmarket appeal”
- Comfortable and stylish interior
- Lots of equipment as standard
- Impressive safety technology
- Smallish boot
- More expensive than before
- Not as much fun as an F-Pace
Verdict - Is the Volvo XC60 a good car?
The Volvo XC60 is a classy SUV that feels reassuringly well built, and exudes confidence as you drive. It’s not as sporty as rivals like the BMW X3 or Jaguar F-Pace, but for motorists happy to enjoy the excellent stereo and arrive at their destination safely there’s a lot to like. Both petrol and diesel options get mild-hybrid tech, an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, but it’s the Recharge plug-in hybrids that will appeal to business buyers. Buy it for its handsome looks, calming drive and intuitive Google-based infotainment.
Volvo XC60 models, specs and alternatives
Few brands have enjoyed such a renaissance as Volvo. Its cars retain an enviable reputation for safety, but have adopted an upmarket edge that puts the company alongside the likes of Audi, Jaguar and Land Rover. The Volvo XC60 is an excellent example of this transformation, featuring a stunning design, a premium interior and class-leading technology.
The XC60 competes with mid-size SUV rivals including the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC. Volvo has managed to distil the best elements of the larger XC90 into its smaller model too, in a (slightly) more affordable package and it has gone on to become the brand's most popular model and a common sight on British roads.
Both models have plenty in common, from the distinctive ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED headlight strip to those huge rear lights. A refresh for 2021 tweaked the design of the XC60's nose, making it slightly sharper and more aggressive but the main change was the introduction of Android Automotive software for the infotainment system, ushering in features powered by Google apps. This makes Volvo's setup one of the best to use with excellent voice recognition for spoken commands.
Volvo’s strategy of using the same engines across all its models means the XC60 shares more than just its big brother’s good looks. It boasts a range of petrol, diesel and electrified engines, all 2.0-litres in size, powering all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
All versions of the XC60 are four-wheel drive, and the only diesel option remaining is the four-wheel-drive B4, which features mild-hybrid assistance that helps it to return a great blend of performance and economy. Thanks to its 195bhp, it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds but it also manages fuel economy of up to 44.1mpg.
The only regular petrol engine in the line-up is the B5 mild-hybrid, which boasts 247bhp and offers 38.1mpg and 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds. We’d recommend this version for private buyers using the car mostly for shorter trips, while the diesel comes into its own – and starts saving you money – on longer motorway drives.
If low running costs and CO2 emissions are a high priority, Volvo offers two XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid models which we've reviewed separately.
On the road, the Volvo XC60 is comfortable, smooth and quiet. Even in Plus trim with 19-inch wheels, it still feels softer than German rivals and the Mazda CX-60, and it’s even more relaxed with optional adaptive suspension fitted. Even then, it’s not quite as comfortable as the Mercedes GLC or as sporty as the Jaguar F-Pace, but it occupies a desirable middle ground that most drivers are likely to be pleased with.
Inside, despite the XC60’s sleek outline, Volvo hasn’t sacrificed practicality and there’s enough room for five people. Knee, shoulder and headroom are all plentiful in the front and back, but as in most rivals, the middle rear seat is too firm for long trips, so is best used only in a pinch. The boot will take 505 litres of luggage – more than the Lexus NX and Porsche Macan, but 145 litres fewer than the F-Pace.
Trim levels are Core, Plus, and Ultimate, and the latter two are available with additional theme styling packs called Dark and Bright. With the former adding gloss black detailing to the exterior, which is replaced by chrome trim pieces in the latter.
Even the Core trim XC60 is very well equipped, with highlights including the nine-inch portrait infotainment, now running Android-based software, DAB radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, 18-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate and keyless entry. The mid-range Plus model gets a bolstered list of standard equipment including 19-inch alloys, four-zone climate control, a 360-degree surround camera, a heated steering wheel and Volvo’s Driver Assistance safety suite.
Ultimate trim is the most luxurious of the range, with exterior and interior styling upgrades such as larger wheels, dual exhaust pipes and Nappa leather upholstery, sports seats and a black interior headlining. It offers a far more upmarket atmosphere inside than the old XC60, while its crystal gear lever and Bowers and Wilkins stereo help set it apart from rivals.
The Volvo XC60 finished 69th out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2022 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, putting it just ahead of rivals including the BMW X3, but well behind the Jaguar F-Pace in 19th spot.
As has come to be expected of a Volvo, a long list of safety equipment is fitted as standard and a convincing five-star Euro NCAP crash-test score is the result. In fact, the car’s 98% score for adult occupant protection is class-leading. The facelift ushered in new tech to help prevent collisions while reversing.
All in all, the XC60 stacks up very well as a capable and safe family SUV of the highest quality. It’s not a ‘driver’s car’, but it’s very comfortable to travel in and reasonably affordable to run.
How about a used or nearly new Volvo XC60 Mk2?
An extremely stylish mid-size SUV with a plush, comfortable, well-appointed and solidly constructed cabin, the Volvo XC60 Mk2 is a relaxing and pleasant car to drive. It has a good range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as several mild hybrid petrol and diesel options, and a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid: the diesels offer excellent real-world fuel economy and are the versions you are most likely to find on secondhand car forecourts.
What’s its history?
The XC60 Mk2 was launched in the middle of 2017 and was available in both front- and four-wheel-drive forms. It started life with a selection of turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, a petrol engine with a turbocharger and supercharger, and a range-topping petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. In 2018 the conventional petrol and diesels were superseded by mild hybrid petrols and diesels, before the range underwent a substantial overhaul in June 2021.
Read our full Volvo XC60 Mk2 used review...
Used XC60 Mk1 (2008-2017)
Volvo’s first attempt at a mid-sized premium SUV was an instant success and proved to be a confident rival to the established players from BMW, Audi and Mercedes. Its popularity and long life means that there are plenty to choose from on the secondhand market, where you’ll find some very keen prices.
Read our full Volvo XC60 Mk1 used review...