Volvo XC60 - Launch Review
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The wait is over - the second generation of Volvo's premium mid-size SUV is now in the showrooms.
I first saw the car at the Geneva Motor Show back in March and it attracted a huge amount of attention from a knowledgeable media audience. Set to go head to head with the new Audi Q5, would this be the new class leader?
From the outside, there is clear evidence of Volvo's striking new design language, which we have already grown accustomed to with the latest XC90, now a familiar sight in our roads.
The clean, simple lines look great and there are some distinctive touches such as the T-shaped daytime running lights and signature L-shaped tail lights.
The 'under-wrap' doors overlap the sills, helping to keep them clean and also make it easier to get in and out of the car.
A wide range of attractive alloy wheels are available, ranging in size from 18" to 22". Choose wisely as the wider offerings do harm the ride quality.
The XC60's interior is an absolute delight and showcases the best examples of Scandinavian design. Classy soft touch materials abound and the clean elegant design is possible thanks to the Sensus touch screen control system, which allows the interior to be pleasantly free of switches and buttons.
Seats front and rear are supremely comfortable and supportive and are covered in a choice of fine leathers. There's ample room for five adults to spread out and the capacious boot holds up to 505 litres of luggage, extendible to 1,432 litres with the back seats folded.
All models are extremely well equipped. The range opens with Momentum models, boasting two-zone climate control, Sensus satellite navigation controlled from the 9" touchscreen, power-operated tailgate and 18" alloy wheels.
Next up are the dynamic R-Design models which feature a range of sporty visual and mechanical upgrades. Sports seats covered in leather/nubuck upholstery and a perforated leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles are amongst the interior highlights, whilst sports suspension, 19" diamond-cut alloys and some sporty addenda spruce up the exterior. 30% of buyers are expected to choose this variant.
Top of the tree are Inscription models and here ultimate luxury is the aim. Soft Nappa leather covers the powered front seats and some smart drift wood inlays add a touch of class to the dashboard.
Aimed at company car drivers, Volvo has also introduced a 'Pro' version of each trim level, which bunches together a collection of desirable options for a reasonable extra cost. The additional £3,000 + outlay may well make these the pick of the crop, even for private buyers.
Each XC60 is powered by a Volvo-developed Drive-E powertrain. The engines are all 2.0-litre, four cylinder units. D4 and D5 diesel units are likely to be the most popular, but a T5 petrol motor is available for those preferring a petrol option.
Pick of the range in my opinion is likely to be the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid that combines a powerful petrol engine with an electric motor. Quick on the open road and green and silent within the confines of the city. Sadly this was the only variant I was unable to sample at the UK Launch event.
Of the two diesel variants, I would be quite content with the 190hp D4. It is pleasantly brisk in all situations and although the D5 boasts an extra 45hp, the difference on the road is barely noticeable. Both engines headline with 50+mpg for the combined cycle and sub 145g/km CO2 figures. A brisk run through The Peak District saw around 35mpg showing on the trip computer, which I would expect to improve on a gentle cruise.
A brief spin in a T5 powered XC60 was rather splendid. Brisk, refined and hushed, this engine will have somewhat limited appeal I suspect as I was unable to get anywhere near the 39.2mpg figure. Mid 20s was more the order of the day...
Out on the open road it is clear that Volvo's engineers have set the XC60 up for comfortable travel. Occupants in the hushed cabin will enjoy a generally cosseting ride. Cars shod with wider wheels are less adept with dealing with low speed bumps, so spec your car carefully. There is the option to specify electronically controlled air suspension, which sadly my test cars didn't have. However, if it is as good as the system fitted to the XC90, then it is probably an option worth having.
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As one has now come to expect from Volvo, all XC60s come with a raft of active and passive safety features. Of note are the standard fit City Safe with Steer Assist and Oncoming Lane Mitigation systems.
The former can detect pedestrians, cyclists and large animals and will steer and brake in the event of an emergency.
The latter can guide you back into lane if you unknowingly drift across the white lines onto the other side of the road.
Premium pricing is the order of the day and although you can buy an XC60 for £37,205, it is expected that most will spend well in excess of £40,000.
Having driven most of the major competitors, if I was in the market for such a car, I would probably choose the XC60. It may not be the most fun to drive, but as a comfortable, refined and safe way to transport your family, it is hard to beat.
I would pick a D4 R-Design (from £39,705), add a few choice extras and be set for many miles of happy cruising.
Prices start at £37,205
Company Car Tax from £170.39 (40% tax payer)
Choice of four engines (2 diesel, 1 petrol and 1 hybrid)
All-Wheel Drive standard
Automatic gearbox on all models
Comprehensive safety equipment
Luxurious, bespoke interior
Attractive range of personalisation options
Volvo XC60 - Launch Review, 24th July 2017, 22:34 PM