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New Volvo XC60 2017 review – Volvo's SUV is a Swede sensation


Then, in 2015 it introduced the superb XC90 seven-seater 4×4 – heralded by us as one of the best cars of that year in our coveted Motoring Oscars – followed by the V90 estate and V90XC and now there’s this XC60. 

The company is rapidly building one of the strongest line-ups in the industry. Despite not hogging recent headlines like its stablemates the XC60 has been a quiet but massive success for Volvo. 

The best-selling premium mid-size SUV in Europe, the XC60 has grown in sales for every year it has been in showrooms since its arrival in 2008 and now accounts for a third of Volvo’s global sales. 

Given the success of the larger XC90 and this XC60’s almost cookie-cutter resemblance to its big brother, it’s not difficult to imagine it continuing to add to the ongoing Volvo success story. 

Longer and wider though slightly lower than its predecessor the new XC60 gets a clear family look that’s certainly easy on the eye. 

We especially like the LED strip lights on the rear. And we’re clearly not alone in thinking that either, as Volvo is already sitting on an incredible 4,000 orders for this new car. 

Under the bonnet is a choice of two 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engines or two 2.0-litre turbo-petrols. All models get four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

With either 190bhp or 235bhp in D4 and D5 forms, the diesels are likely to account for the bulk of XC60 sales, with average fuel economy and emissions standing at 55.4mpg and 133g/km for the D4. 

The D5 meanwhile can get from 0 to 60mph in 7.2 seconds and on to a 137mph top speed. On the petrol front there’s a 254bhp 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in the T5, while the flagship T8 plug-in hybrid is sure to prove popular among business drivers. 

With a combined 320bhp from its petrol and electric motors the T8 gets from 0 to 60mph in just 5.3 seconds and goes on to a 140mph top speed while on paper at least returning 134.5mpg at the pumps and boasting just 49g/km emissions. 

Volvo XC60 on the roadPH

The Volvo XC60 has been a quiet but huge success for the Swedish company

Along with a minimal £170 per month tax bill for company drivers, the T8 also has an electric-only range of 28 miles. 

Volvo estimates that when the T8 arrives in late autumn, it will account for just 12 per cent of XC60s leaving showrooms. 

But given how the Swedish firm massively underestimated this same engine in the XC90 (where it currently accounts for an amazing 25 per cent of sales) only a fool would bet against similar success. On the road the differences between this new XC60 and its predecessor are immediately obvious.

Refinement levels are like chalk and cheese compared to before with wind, road and engine noise being barely perceptible even at motorway speeds. Volvo says there has been no major weight change compared to its predecessor, but the XC60 feels like a bigger car on the road – a boon when cruising but not so great when wanting to press on down a twisty Broad.

Volvo XC60 interiorPH

The SUV isn’t fun to drive but is extremely capable and comfortable

There’s little-to-no feedback through the steering wheel or seat about what the car is doing beneath you, while the low-speed ride can be a little fidgety too, although this improves with speed. 

Wheel sizes vary from 18in up to 22in but we’d be inclined to avoid the larger sizes due to that ride. 

In short the new XC60 is certainly no driver’s car but at the same time it’s far more refi ned than most, if not all, of its rivals.

That advantage continues inside where it’s probably the best-built Volvo we’ve ever sat inside – including the XC90. 

The fit, finish and quality of the materials used is nothing short of immaculate with the portrait-style central touchscreen on the dashboard having been improved too with clearer controls. 

The only downside is that the rotary drum to switch driving modes located just behind the gear-selector is quite smooth and hard to use when on the move. 

Volvo XC60 rearPH

Europe’s best-selling premium mid-size SUV has just got better than ever

There is also a good amount of space with plenty of head and legroom in both front and rear and an excellent driving position. 

For those in the back there are more USB sockets for charging phones or tablets and even an optional three-pin plug socket. 

The boot is a decent size too, with 505 litres with the rear seats up and 1,432 litres with them lowered. 

Although the R Design version is expected to be the best seller of the three versions, Volvo has also introduced a Pro trim level, raising the versions available to six. 

Ranging in price from £2,000 to £4,000 above the standard model, the Pro trims effectively package together a number of popular options as a bundle to choose. 

Not that standard specification is exactly miserly with all models getting air con, satnav, leather upholstery, LED headlights, heated front seats and an electric tailgate. 

Given the huge continued success of both the previous XC60 model and of the larger XC90 there’s little doubt that this model will enjoy strong sales for Volvo, especially with the T8. 

Although the new XC60 doesn’t engage on much of an emotional level and isn’t that much fun to drive there’s no question it’s very comfortable and capable and isn’t without some appeal. 

Would we like it to be a little more fun? Perhaps but as those 4,000 forward orders attest, if you have a winning formula, why mess with it?

Europe’s best-selling premium mid-size SUV has just got better than ever.



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