£32,685 - £41,390 Price range
42 - 62 MPG
The Volvo XC60 is one of the safest SUVs on sale. All models come with automatic emergency braking – an option on most rivals. The XC60’s smart Swedish design gives it a premium feel helping it take on models such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
It’s one of the larger midsize SUVs so its capacious boot will easily take a pushchair or several flat-pack boxes. The cabin is sensible with a simply laid-out dashboard and lots of space for passengers, while the seats are some of the most comfortable we have ever experienced.
The XC60 is best paired with diesel engines. These range from the D4 with 190hp to the D5 with 220hp. Less popular is the 2.0-litre petrol, which replaces the thirsty old 2.5-litre model. All XC60s are available with four-wheel drive, but unless you need the extra grip we’d suggest opting for a two-wheel-drive model to maximise fuel economy.
As a motorway cruiser, the XC60 is hard to fault – limited cabin noise and excellent ride comfort make it a great companion for long journeys. Things aren’t so good when you’re in a hurry – the less-than-direct steering makes it difficult to place the SUV confidently on the road – the BMW X3 remains the driver’s choice.
All XC60 models are decently equipped with gadgets such as cruise control, parking sensors, climate control, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity for calls or music streaming and a powered bootlid.
Volvo is preparing to launch an all new model in 2018. View our exclusive 2018 Volvo XC60 renders in our full price, specs and release date article.
As an alternative to its German rivals, the XC60 brings a different philosophy to the interior design. It doesn’t have the outright space of the British Discovery Sport or the classy trim touches found in the Mercedes GLC, but it has the kind of minimalistic design that Ikea fans will appreciate.
The cabin of the XC60 is quite a nice place to spend time, with good quality materials and a quirky ‘floating’ centre console, which hides a useful cubbyhole.
Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system is an £800 option across the range, but well worth it in our opinion. It’s not the newest system in terms of software, but comes with an easy-to-use sat-nav system. The system is controlled by a large rotary dial positioned on the floating centre console that’s very similar in operation to BMW’s iDrive system. A further £500 gets you an upgraded Harmon Kardon sound system that provides rich and high-quality sound.
Volvo XC60 passenger space
The XC60 has decent passenger space for all occupants and, even with the £1,200 optional panoramic sunroof, there’s tonnes of headroom. The seats are simply superb – the way they support your body must be experienced to be truly appreciated!
Something Volvo pioneered are the rear seat cushions that can be raised to form booster seats with two pre-set heights for children of different ages – a really handy feature for family car buyers.
Volvo XC60 boot space
The boot is a useful 495 litres when all seats are up. It’s a few litres smaller than the 540-litre space in the Audi Q5 but few will notice this, and if you fold away the rear seats the space rises to 1,455 litres and you benefit from a flat loading surface. Thanks to a large boot opening, loading heavy items is simply a matter of sliding them in.
Despite the raised ride height and optional four-wheel drive, the XC60 isn’t a true off-roader, but should be more than capable of tackling slippery roads. Rivals such as the Discovery Sport have selectable driving modes that make them better suited to challenging off-roading.
The XC60 is far better suited to life on road – it drives nicely, has a smooth ride and is quiet at high speeds, making it a superb motorway cruiser. The suspension deals with most bumps, but does occasionally thump over expansion joints and potholes on the road.
Visibility is reasonable and the handy £500 blind spot warning system illuminates orange lights next to the door mirrors to warn of approaching vehicles that are hidden from sight.
The engine lineup was revamped in early 2015 and the new four-cylinder diesel is a vast improvement in terms of refinement and efficiency compared to the outgoing five-cylinder versions.
We tested the D4 AWD model in 2015 and were impressed by the punch from the engine when overtaking and getting up to speed on motorway slip roads – although the eight-speed automatic gearbox can be a bit jerky on upshifts when accelerating hard. We averaged 40mpg on long motorway journeys – not miles off the official figure of 54.1mpg.
Volvo XC60 diesel engines
Producing 190hp, the D4 matches the old 2.4-litre in power, but has much better running costs – averaging more than 60mpg and costing just £30 per year to tax.
The 220hp five-cylinder D5 has plenty of power, yet performance and combined fuel economy are near identical to the D4’s, so its increased asking price is hard to justify. However, if you plan on towing with your XC60, the D5’s increased pulling power will come in handy. A 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds seems decent, but a BMW X3 20d with just 190hp has the same acceleration time. Specifying four-wheel drive reduces fuel economy by about 10mpg across the range.
Volvo XC60 petrol engines
With those punchy and frugal diesels there is little sense in getting the petrol-powered XC60 T5. If you despise diesel engines, then it’s a lively unit that provides swift progress and is very similar to the one in the Ford Focus ST hot hatch. The T5 has the quickest 0-62mph time in the range at 7.2 seconds, but also the worst fuel consumption figure at 33mpg and the most expensive annual road tax at £270.
The engine itself appears to be a peach – it’s a turbocharged 3.0 petrol unit with a feisty 280bhp output that appears to be very usable and tractable. Thanks to the impressive stats, performance certainly isn’t an issue, but the engine is also quite refined and relaxed at lower revs, which helps when you’re not in the mood for ‘spirited driving’.
However, there are some compromises to be made if you opt for this model – fuel economy isn’t great at 24 mpg, and even the most spartan base trim models have a fairly steep asking price. The depreciation will likely be fast too, as demand for powerful petrol 4x4s isn't high at the moment.
The XC60 T6 is not one we’d recommend, but it’s an appealing niche product, and the handful who do opt for it will have one of the fastest and quirkiest crossovers on the market.
Volvo has its own safety testing facility in Sweden where it puts its cars through numerous crash test variations including a test that simulates a head-on collision with an elk. It’s no surprise, then, that the XC60 scooped excellent scores when tested by Euro NCAP with an impressive 94 per cent adult protection score.
The usual range of airbags and plenty of stability systems are standard along with the aforementioned emergency braking that also scans for pedestrians and can bring the car to a stop autonomously if it senses an imminent impact. The £1,900 Driver Support pack adds even more safety aids in the form of adaptive cruise control, plus lane departure and blind-spot warning systems.
To take on premium rivals such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, Volvo has made sure the XC60 comes packed with plenty of equipment, even on the cheapest models.
Volvo XC60 SE
SE is the entry-level trim, but is by no means basic. You get climate control, auto-folding wing mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB digital radio. The XC60 is quite a big car, so standard rear parking sensors are a welcome addition and the power-closing bootlid means you don’t have to worry about closing it by hand.
Volvo XC60 SE Lux
Choosing SE Lux trim adds leather seats, which enhance the feeling of luxury in the cabin and are electrically adjustable for the driver. On the outside, you’ll also find powerful xenon headlights complete with an Active Bending function to help illuminate corners in the road and powerful washers. In aesthetic terms the 18-inch alloy wheels (larger than the basic model’s 17-inch versions) better suit the XC60’s large dimensions.
Volvo XC60 R-Design
R-Design trim is to Volvo what M Sport is to BMW and S line to Audi – a pack that adds extra sporty styling details, without the high running costs of a performance engine. The 18-inch alloy wheels are unique to R-Design models and get a polished finish with black highlights, while the door mirrors are matt silver and the rear bumper has a sporty diffuser. R-Design models get sports suspension that not only gives it a more ground-hugging stance, but also cuts down on body lean in corners. Inside, there’s metal trim, sports seats and an R-Design steering wheel.
Volvo SC60 Polestar performance parts
Polestar is Volvo’s performance sub brand tasked with turning the XC60 into driver’s car. Available as an upgrade across the range, the pack costs £660 and adds sports suspension plus a power hike of up to 40hp depending on model. On the outside massive 19-inch lightweight alloy wheels point that this is a performance model and on the inside you get a aluminium pedals and a restyled gear knob.
Overall, the Volvo XC60 is a good family car and well worth a look. It’s well built, usefully practical, and leads the class for safety – no wonder it’s Volvo’s most popular model with 500,000 units sold since the car was launched in 2009. However, some rivals such as the BMW X3 have a better compromise between ride and handling while the Land Rover Discovery Sport make the Volvo look a little outdated despite its recent facelift.