Not long ago Volvo was seen as a cut price alternative to the likes of an Audi, BMW or Mercedes. Now though it is very much part of that gang and its cars are some of the most desirable and safest on the road. The original XC60 was a big hit but it didnít face nearly as much competition as this second generation model and Volvo wants it to be one of its bestsellers. Cars that stand in the way include Audiís Q5, BMWís X3 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Is the XC60 up to the challenge? Thatís what weíll find out in this review.
So how does the XC60 handle on UK roads? Contrary to most SUVís engine choices itís actually quite small, thereís 2 diesels and 1 petrol labelled D4, D5 and the petrol is called T8. Our recommendation is the lower powered diesel which is the D4 because it has 188bhp and is the right blend of performance and economy. Itís the most efficient out of the range of the T8 hybrid and it has good performance on the motorway and around town. An 8 speed automatic gear box comes as standard and it changes gears mostly quickly, sleekly and swiftly although it can leave you lingering slightly in a higher gear than youíd rather be in a lower gear.
Volvo claims this XC60 has sporty handling. While grip is good there is still quite a bit of lean in the corners so I think itís a little bit stretched to call it sporty. If you do want something with sharper handling go for the Jaguar F Pace or Porsche Macan.
The standard fit suspension on the XC60 feels well suited to UK roads. The XC60 floats over most lumps and bumps on the road but bigger pot holes will still send a shudder through the car. You can upgrade to an optional air suspension set up but we think youíre better off without it.
Neither of the diesels are quiet especially at idol and thereís quite an irritating suspension noise when you go over a big bump. On the motorway road and wind noise is worse than it is in an Audi Q5.
The XC60 seating position is more like a car than an SUV. That said there is plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel so you should be able to find a comfortable driving position. You can adjust the height of the seat and lumber electrically on all models and you have to adjust the recliner and slide manually on R line and Momentum. The visibility is excellent and even out the back as well for an SUV itís really good. You get reverse parking sensors as standard on all models and on the options list youíll find front parking sensors, reverse camera, 360 degrees camera, even a system that parks itself.
The XC60 has a 9 inch touchscreen that controls virtually everything and the display is beautifully crisp and bright. The very nature that it is a touchscreen means it can be quite tricky to use on the move which is one of the main reasons that BMW and Audi use a rotary dial. Following the sat nav can be quite tricky too as it can be difficult to see which road to take. That said it does have some great features including Bluetooth audio streaming, DAB radio and it has smartphone mirroring, Apple Play and Android Auto.
The XC60 is a big car, so itís no surprise then that even if youíre tall you wonít feel hemmed in. Itís also very light so it has the illusion of being even more spacious, in fact only the Land Rover Discovery Sport in its class is indeed bigger inside. Thereís also plenty of places to store your everyday clutter. Thereís a decent size door bin for a large bottle of water or if youíre on your way to a party and youíre definitely not drinking and driving, a bottle of wine will fit in the door bin. Thereís a decent size glove box, cup holders and central storage space too.
Move to the rear seats and itís the same story. Tall people will really appreciate how much head room there is. Even if you go for the optional panoramic roof thereís still plenty of head room. In fact itís a lot more spacious than most cars in its class. You can also fit 3 adults side by side happily indeed. Move around to the boot and although the XC60 can hold room for a couple of large suitcases or a few large bags of compost the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are bigger still. That said it still should be big enough for most families, thereís no load lip to negotiate and you can split and fold down the rear seats to create even more room.
Now that Volvo is well and truly in the same camp as its rivals, cars like the XC60 are no longer cheap. In fact on a PCP deal itís more expensive to buy than an Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC. Itís more expensive to insure than some of its rivals and it wonít hold onto its value as the best in its class. What redeems the XC60 though is its standard equipment because even entry level Momentum models come with climate control, keyless start, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and heated leather seats. Momentum is where we would put our money then but if you want to splash out then you can get luxury items such as air suspension, a heated steering wheel and massaging front seats.
It also scores big points for safety because all models come with automatic emergency breaking. On the options list youíll find blind spot monitoring and pilot assist system which helps steer the car and keep it in its lane in motorway speeds.
This XC60 may not be the most exciting SUV to drive but itís classy and roomy inside, it has plenty of standard equipment and in short a thoroughly recommendable SUV. Make sure you check out our used Volvo XC60 cars for sale if youíve not got the budget for a brand new one!