Motoring and Property Editor
9:57 AM 4th January 2021
Christmas Wheels - Volvo XC60 On Test
The second generation of Volvo’s premium mid-size SUV has been on sale for a couple of years now and despite an array of talented opposition, it still competes for class honours.
The Germans lead the charge with the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, whilst home grown offerings from Jaguar and Land Rover cannot be ignored.
The XC60 is a fine example of Volvo’s current design language with clean, simple lines and some distinctive touches such as the T-shaped daytime running lights and signature L-shaped tail lights.
The interior is an absolute delight and showcases the very best of cool, Scandinavian design. Classy soft-touch materials abound and the intuitive Sensus touch screen control system has allowed the interior to be pleasantly free of superfluous switches and buttons.
The seats both front and back are supremely comfortable and supportive, amongst the very best available on any car, regardless of price.
On my driveway was a B5 Inscription model with All-Wheel Drive. Under the bonnet sat a 250hp turbocharged mild-hybrid petrol engine, with enough oomph to propel the family-sized SUV to 60mph in just 6.5 seconds. Top speed is limited to 112mph, quite fast enough.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox works well, and changes are smooth and refined. This model does without steering wheel paddles, so taking control requires use of the stubby gear selector.
Depending on your mood, different drive modes are available. The XC60 defaults to ‘Comfort’, with ‘Eco’ the go-to setting for the parsimonious. ‘Dynamic’ sharpens the throttle response and ensures the automatic gearbox changes up at higher revs for a more spirited drive. ‘Comfort’ suits the relaxed nature of the Volvo just fine. There is also an ‘Off Road’ setting, which works at speeds below 25mph and automatically engages the hill-descent mode.
I took the XC60 down a couple of local green lanes and although it was fairly muddy, the car coped well and inspired confidence.
A little snow and ice towards the end of the test period allowed me to fully test the car’s All-Wheel Drive system and I am pleased to report that icy hills were dispatched with ease. Helping to keep the driver in peak condition were the powerful heater, heated seats and steering wheel.
Volvo quotes 31.7 to 36.7mpg for the combined cycle, my average for the test period settling at 27mpg. Motorway cruising saw a little over 30mpg displayed on the car’s trip computer.
Inscription models of the XC60 are designed with comfort in mind and treated to some of my challenging test routes, the ride comfort was top drawer. The powerful engine ensured brisk progress was easy to make, with just a tad too much body roll in some of the faster bends. R-Dynamic models are the ones to pick if the best driving dynamics are your heart’s desire.
As one would expect from Volvo, all XC60s come with a raft of active and passive safety features. Of particular 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 unwittingly drift across the white lines onto the other side of the road.
I can heartily recommend the Volvo XC60 and the model as tested makes up 20% of sales. It is easy to see why. A powerful engine, excellent go-anywhere capabilities and reasonable fuel economy are the order of the day.
Added to this, all XC60s offer a comfortable, luxurious and family-friendly interior. So why not head down to your nearest friendly dealer and take a look? And if you need more space, the XC90 offers room for seven, whilst the popular XC40 is a little more compact.
Volvo XC60 B5 AWD Inscription
Price £46,240 (£53,265 as tested)
1,969cc turbocharged petrol engine
0-60 in 6.5 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Emissions 202-176g/km CO2
Combined economy 31.7-36.7mpg
Braked towing capacity 2,400kg