The Volvo XC60 is good-looking, comfortable and has a well-designed, high-quality and roomy interior – but the boot isn’t as big as in other SUVs
It sets itself apart from those cars by way of its swanky headlights, swept-back windscreen and a minimalist interior that’s as comfortable as it is stylish – especially if you’re brave enough to order it in a tricky-to-keep-clean light shade of leather. Everything in the XC60’s cabin is well built, but the materials in a Mercedes GLC do feel a bit posher.
There’s no doubting the XC60’s interior feels pretty high-tech, though. The portrait-style infotainment screen includes Apple CarPlay, so you can mirror your iPhone’s media and navigation apps on the Volvo’s screen – but the infotainment system in an Audi Q5 is still easier to use and has sharper graphics. Your back-seat passengers are well catered for though, with supportive seats, and there’s enough space for three adults in the back.
The XC60’s boot is similarly roomy, and there’s plenty of space for a week or two away with the family, although if you’re after outright capacity you’re better off with the even bigger boots in the Q5 and GLC. Fold the Volvo’s rear seats down and you’re left with a decent-size space, and the flat boot floor and low load lip mean loading bulky items is simplicity itself.
The XC60 looks a little more svelte than the rather butch XC90, but the family resemblance is clear
Equally simple is the XC60’s choice of engines. You can pick from a diesel engine with two power outputs, a petrol or a petrol-electric hybrid. The best bet is the 190hp D4 diesel. It’s more than quick enough and will return around 40mpg in real-world driving. It’s only worth going for the 235hp D5 diesel and its increased pulling power if you plan to tow a trailer – otherwise, its extra expense is tricky to justify over the D4.
The T8 petrol-electric hybrid gives incredible acceleration for such a large SUV, but you won’t get near its claimed 135mpg unless you have somewhere to charge it either side of its 15-mile electric range. It is exempt from the London Congestion Charge, however, so you can save £11.50 per day if you drive in the Capital.
Another helpful thing if you drive in the city is the XC60’s standard-fit automatic gearbox, which changes gear smoothly and takes a bit of stress out of town driving, but is sluggish when you want to accelerate suddenly. The XC60 also feels a bit leisurely in corners, where it leans more than the sportier-feeling Audi Q5, but XC60’s the standard suspension setup soaks up bumps well and the optional air suspension is even better. It’s quiet on the move, but a Q5 is even more hushed at motorway speeds.
The XC60 gets four-wheel drive as standard, but think of it more as a helping hand to get out of a muddy car park than a ticket to Land Rover-style off-road adventures.
If you do happen to head off the road unintentionally, the XC60 will do its best to look after you with a host of safety technology. These range from systems that automatically guide you around obstacles to seat bases that’ll absorb a vertical impact should you drop off a country road. Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the XC60 yet, but expect it to score very well – it’s a well-built, safe and trendy family SUV.
If you want to see how this Volvo compares to some of the alternatives, have a look at our XC60 v Audi Q5 v BMW X3 comparison. And, if you want to see which are the best cars of this type, scan through our list of the Top 10 Best SUVs.