Volvo XC60 – Review
By Liam Bird
“I drive it because it makes me feel safer.” How many times have you heard someone on the school run say something similar to that after climbing down from a heavily chipped Cherokee or a dishevelled looking Discovery?
Vehicle manufacturers the world over know that parents will do everything they can to protect their precious little darlings. And more often than not these days, that entails driving something large and, need it or not, with four-wheel-drive. Plus, if the vehicle in question also suggests to other like-minded souls that they’ve got the all-important outdoor lifestyle and, better still, it comes with a premium badge, then all the better.
According to Volvo their XC60 is “a bold, sporty and muscular challenger in the Small Premium Utility segment. It has the real crossover character with a combination of both a traditional city and a cross country vehicle aimed at young, professional urban people with active lives.” The XC60 then, should tick all those important boxes.
“A firm ride on broken surfaces”
From the moment you first tug the sturdy door handle the XC60 feels well constructed; solid you might say. It’s a feeling you also get once inside. Everything is laid out in that uncluttered, Swedish way. All of the nicely damped switches are slightly angled towards the driver in what Volvo calls its Floating Stack. The leather is thick and soft, as is the steering wheel. The plastics are high quality, and the brushed aluminium loops on the doors and around the 7″ multi-media screen add an air of sophistication to a cabin that feels like it’s going to last.
It’s quiet too. The use of those quality materials and, one suspects, some pretty effective insulation mean that with the high driving position, good visibility in almost all directions and the heated seats set to cosy, the XC60’s cabin is a pleasing place to soak up the miles. Plus, in this spec at least, it rides on 18”wheels and road-roller wide 235/60 tyres. The 2.4-litre, twin-turbo, 5-cylinder diesel unit provides more than enough punch to keep things moving. The six-speed gearbox has a light action, and the steering, although a little numb, remains direct.
The XC60 does suffer slightly from a firm ride on broken surfaces and it loses a little agility to some of its competition. But nevertheless, overall its composure is admirable. But, as it’s a Volvo, the XC60 really excels when it comes to safety and practicality.
“Makes a lot of sense”
Multiple airbags, Isofix plus inbuilt child booster cushions, and stability control are all standard. And that’s just the start. There’s Collision Warning and Full Auto Brake Pedestrian Protection, electronically controlled four wheel drive with hill descent control, plus lane departure and blind spot warning systems too.
The (optional) xenon headlamps are directional, the sat-nav and Bluetooth are voice activated to avoid having to remove your hands from the wheel, the electronic tailgate can be opened with the key-fob, and there’s even a system called Trailer Stability Assist. Quite when you‘ll need a trailer though I’m not sure. With the seats folded the XC60 will swallow more Swedish flat pack than you’ll ever need.
As an occasional off-roader and full-time family-wagon the XC60 makes a lot of sense. It’s expensive, “our” Ocean Race example starts at £33,150 but, in a world where SUV’s are seen as safe, Volvo’s reputation for strength and high residual values mean the XC60 might the one of the safest around.
Volvo XC60 Ocean Race VOR AWD
Engine: 2400cc. 5 Cyl 20V Diesel Twin Turbo
Transmission: 6 Manual AWD
Power: 212bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque: 309 lbft @ 1400 – 3250rpm
0-62mph: 7.8 sec
Max Speed: 146mph
Mpg: 50.4 (combined)
Price: £33,150 (car shown £41,440 including options)