Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60 Review

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

8/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Cool minimalist interior
  • Quiet at speed
  • Loads of safety technology

What's not so good

  • Average handling
  • Smaller boot than comparable SUVs
  • Slow automatic gearbox

What do you want to read about Volvo XC60?

Overall verdict

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

The Volvo XC60 is a smart-looking alternative to the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC SUVs.

It sets itself apart from those cars with swanky headlights, swept-back windscreen and a minimalist interior that’s as comfortable as it is stylish. Everything in the XC60’s cabin is well built, but the materials in a Mercedes GLC do feel even more plush.

There’s no doubt the XC60’s interior feels pretty high-tech, though. The portrait-style infotainment screen has an Apple iPad look to it and its menus are simpe to follow, 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 Volvo 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

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Equally simple is the Volvo 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 pure-electric range. It is exempt from the London Congestion Charge, however.

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. There’s also the option of a six-speed manual gearbox, but it isn’t the nicest to use and the automatic gearbox better suits the Volvo XC60’s relaxed gait. 

The Volvo 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 relatively well and the optional air suspension is even better. It’s quiet on the move, too, but once again a Q5 is even more hushed at motorway speeds.

The Volvo 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. All that helped the XC60 achieve a full five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test. In fact, it’s one of the safest cars Euro NCAP has ever tested.

What's it like inside?

The Volvo XC60’s interior looks far more stylish than anything you’ll find in a BMW or Mercedes and feels almost as well-built as the Audi Q5. It’s just a shame that its infotainment system isn’t quite as intuitive to use as in these cars…

It’s hard to fault the XC60’s cool Swedish interior – it’s more stylish than many German SUVs and looks even better than the bigger, more expensive, XC90

Mat Watson
carwow expert

How practical is it?

The Volvo XC60’s superbly comfy seats help make light work of long journeys but with the back seats folded its boot is smaller than in most similar-size German SUVs

Your back will thank you for the four-way adjustable lumbar support – especially on long journeys

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
598 - 635 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,395 - 1,432 litres

The Volvo XC60’s seats are some of the most comfortable and supportive in the business. The ones in the front come with heating and four-way lumbar support as standard – to help prevent back ache on long journeys – and there’s more than enough adjustment to get comfortable if you’re over six-foot tall.

Regularly lend your car to someone else? You might want to consider the optional memory function for the driver’s seat (standard on all Pro models). It’ll automatically return the seat and door mirrors to your preferred positions at the press of a button.

The back seats are nearly as comfortable as those in the front and there’s bundles of headroom – even with the optional panoramic glass sunroof fitted. Rear knee room is just as generous and the XC60’s light-coloured interior and large side windows make it feel impressively airy in the back.

The wide cabin means there’s slightly more shoulder room than you’ll find in an Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC but a distinct lump in the rear floor limits foot space if you carry three abreast. The central rear perch is harder and higher than the outer two seats, too, but has enough cushioning to make it fairly comfortable – even on long journeys.

The Volvo XC60 isn’t offered with sliding and reclining rear seats or a third row in the boot like a Land Rover Discovery Sport, but it’s not a deal breaker unless you regularly carry seven people. The Volvo’s wide rear door openings and clearly marked Isofix mounts make it easy to slide in a child seat but there aren’t any anchor points on the central rear seat or the front passenger seat.

Volvo has managed to sneak in a few handy cubby holes in places you might not expect. There’s a small pigeonhole under the rear seats that’s big enough for a large purse or small bag, and the central storage bin under the front armrest is large enough to store numerous valuables safely out of sight.

The front door bins in the Volvo Xc60 are large enough to hold two one-litre bottles each and there’s a handy tray beside the gearlever with a pair of concealed cupholders. A rather shallow slot ahead of the gearlever is big enough to hold a large smartphone but not deep enough to stop it sliding out if you take a roundabout a little too quickly.

Flip down the rear armrest and there’s a handy storage tray and two fold-out cupholders. Ther rear door bins are pretty spacious, too – if not quite as roomy as those in the front.

The Volvo XC60 can carry 505 litres of luggage with the rear seats and parcel shelf in place – that’s a fair bit less than the 550-litre boots in the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC.

The XC60’s rear seats fold in a 60:40 split as standard if you need more space. There’s no option to upgrade to a 40:20:40 split but all models do come with a handy ski hatch behind the rear armrest that’ll let you carry long items and two rear passengers at the same time.

Volvo offers a Convenience pack that comes with a set of buttons in the boot that’ll automatically fold down the rear seats for you. This package also adds a handy 12V socket in the boot, a cargo net to stop things rolling around in the back and a 230V three-pin socket in the centre console.

The Volvo XC60’s boot grows to 1,432 litres with the rear seats folded flat – again that’s less than the Q5 and GLC. The Volvo’s boot floor is, however, completely flat and there’s no annoying boot lip to lift heavy luggage over – as a result, sliding bulky items on board is a breeze.

There’s even a handy plastic sheet that folds out from under the boot carpet to help protect the rear bumper from scratches and scrapes as you lug stuff into the boot. A powered bootlid is standard on all models, and if you go for the optional adaptive air suspension you’ll get a button in the boot that’ll lower the rear suspension by 20mm to help you load heavy boxes.

Read full interior review

What's it like to drive?

It's easy to see out of the XC60

Comfortable and quiet

The Volvo XC60’s a relaxing motorway cruiser and runs the Audi Q5 close in terms of outright comfort – larger alloy wheels don’t help its ride, however

Pick the optional £2,000 air suspension and the XC60 drives as smoothly as its slick looks would suggest

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can get the Volvo XC60 with a range of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines – two diesel, one petrol and a petrol-electric hybrid.

The best all-rounder is the entry-level D4 diesel with 190hp. It’s powerful enough to cruise happily at motorway speeds but it does grumble slightly if you accelerate hard. Volvo claims it’ll return 54.3mpg but, in the real world, you’ll probably achieve a figure in the low forties.

Pick a more powerful 235hp D5 model if you plan to tow a trailer. It costs around £5,000 more than a D4 but it’ll make light work of pulling a caravan and will return near-identical fuel economy. It’s not quite as quiet as the Audi Q5’s hushed 2.0-litre diesel engine, however.

The 254hp T5 petrol is smoother around town than both diesels and feels faster if you accelerate hard but it’s noticeably thirstier at motorway speeds. Volvo claims it’ll return 38.7mpg but you’ll be lucky to see a figure in the low thirties.

The sportiest Volvo XC60 is the hybrid T8. It’ll set you back around £20,000 more than an entry-level D4 but the 407hp produced by its 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor means it can rocket from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds. That’s serious sports car territory in a comfortable and stylish SUV.

Matching the T8’s claimed 134.5mpg economy figure will be nearly impossible, even with a light right foot. What’s more achievable, however, is its 28-mile electric range – if you live just a short distance from work you can commute using electric power alone. This model is exempt from the London Congestion Charge, too, making it an attractive proposition if you regularly commute into the Capital.

The Volvo XC60’s standard-fit automatic gearbox changes gear smoothly and takes a bit of stress out of town driving, too, but is sluggish when you want to accelerate suddenly. There’s also the option of a six-speed manual gearbox, but it isn’t the nicest to use and the automatic gearbox better suits the Volvo XC60’s relaxed manner. 

The Volvo XC60 doesn’t have quite the same raised driving position as the larger XC90 but it’s 30cm shorter and slightly easier to drive around town. The fairly slim door pillars don’t produce large blind spots at junctions and the large side windows make it easy to glance over your shoulder to check for overtaking traffic on the motorway.

A 360-degree camera is available as an option that’ll help make navigating through tight city streets a little less stressful while a park assist feature – which can steer you into parallel and bay parking spaces – is offered as part of the Xenium package, which also includes a sunroof. It’s worth having this pack if you do lots of city driving.

Speaking of which, the Volvo XC60 isn’t quite as comfortable as the Q5 or GLC over potholed roads – especially with the larger 21-inch wheels fitted – but you can fit it with adaptive air suspension to help smooth out bigger bumps and potholes. This feature will set you back quite a bit on all but R Design Pro and Inscription Pro models (where it’s fitted as standard) but it makes the XC60 very nearly as relaxing to drive as the silky smooth Q5 – making it an essential option if you want maximum comfort.

The upgraded suspension comes with the option to raise the XC60’s ride height by 40mm if you decide to head off the beaten track. All models come with four-wheel drive as standard – so they won’t be flummoxed by slippy roads – a Land Rover Discovery Sport will leave the stylish Volvo for dead on any particularly challenging terrain, however.

Keep your activities on the road, however, and the XC60’s nicer to drive than the softly-sprung Discovery Sport. It doesn’t lean excessively in tight corners and has plenty of grip. Top-spec T8 models are even fast enough to put a wholly un-Swedish smile on your face. Even so, and Audi Q5 ultimately feels more agile again.

The Volvo XC60 can even drive itself on motorways for brief periods when fitted with the optional Intellisafe package – providing you keep your hands resting on the wheel – and can automatically adjust its speed to match other vehicles. It also comes with a vast array of airbags as standard and features a number of advanced active safety features that’ll guide you around obstacles and brake for you to help avoid a collision.

All that helped the Volvo XC60 achieve a full five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test. In fact, it’s one of the safest cars Euro NCAP has ever tested.

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