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
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.