Can the Volvo XC60 tempt buyers away from the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Range Rover Evoque asks Hannah Gordon
What is it? Not another SUV entering the market I hear you say, the Volvo XC60 has improved massively in the last year or two and is now a contender in leading the mid-size SUV market. With sharp and attractive styling, comfort and drivability the Volvo XC60 definitely deserves its place amongst the German competition.
Who is it aimed at? Available in front wheel drive and all wheel drive the latter is beneficial for off roading and tricky road conditions. The space available within the cabin lends itself to being an excellent family vehicle or for people wanting to head off the beaten track.
What about the styling? The Volvo XC60 is is certainly a handsome looking car, and in my opinion the best looking vehicle in its sector. Proportionally the car fits just right and the sleek headlights, LED daytime running lights and chrome detailed grille really do look the business. There is enough chrome detailing to ensure the XC60 looks classy but not too much to mimic an MTV car restoration show. The rear of the car is again well designed and the exhaust moulds seamlessly into the rear bumper. The 18” alloys do look a bit on the measly side, but for ride comfort they are ideal.
Under the bonnet? The model tested was the 2.4 litre Diesel D4 engine which is available for the All-wheel drive set up. if you prefer just the front wheel drive then the 2.0 litre diesel is the only option available to you. The 2.4 litre makes great progress and is available with both an automatic and manual gearbox. The six speed automatic does seem hesitant with gear changes, the eight speed automatic is available with the front wheel drive model and does feel better suited. Under load the 2.4 litre is a bit loud and does intrude into the cabin but I wouldn’t say it removes any of the driving enjoyment.
What about inside? If comfort is what you are after then look no further. The Volvo XC60 rewrites the book on comfort, the seats, driving position and visibility around the car is excellent. The interior space is generous with driver and passengers getting more than what they probably need. The boot has a flat entry to it which makes loading and unloading easy and the electric tailgate can be operated from the key fob, a button inside the cabin or the tailgate switch. The interior feels well put together and the infotainment system and touch screen are easy to use, the dash is a little cluttered and may take time to master.
On the road? On the Road the Volvo XC60 is refined and comfortable to drive, the engine pulls well and motorway cruising is aided by adaptive cruise control which adjusts the speed when approaching traffic. The suspension setting makes for a smooth ride and bumps in the road are barely felt. The steering does become heavy at times and after a junction or a sharp bend doesn’t self centre itself very quickly which can lead to oversteer. Overall the Volvo XC60 is a capable car both off road (in AWD spec) and on the road.
And Safety? Volvo literally invented the word and the XC60 with a five star EuroNCAP is certainly a safe buy. A Driver support pack is available as an extra which includes Collision Warning, a detection system that can pick up pedestrian and cyclists near to the vehicle. The pack also includes Blind Spot Information System, Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive cruise control with a distance alert.
What are my Options? Plenty of options are available for the Volvo XC60, but also be aware that adding these options can soon add thousands onto the purchase price, the test car itself came with over £8000 worth of optional equipment. The six speed automatic gearbox is £1485, metallic paint £625 and special load compensating suspension will set you back another £500. If a tow bar is required then expect to pay £735 extra.
Will it break the bank? Depending on whether you opt for the Front Wheel Drive (FWD) or the All Wheel Drive (AWD) the economy figures aren’t bad at all, the FWD manual option returns a combined figure of 62.8 miles per gallon and a CO2 output of just 117g/km (£30 per year car tax), compared with the AWD manual which does 54.3 mpg and 137g/km of CO2 (£130 per year road tax). The FWD option does offer better value for money and if you don’t intend on going off road or challenging terrain then the FWD option would make more sense, also its worth noting that the automatic option is less economical.
So the Verdict? The Volvo XC60 is stylish, well put together and as comfortable as anything I have ever had the pleasure of driving, it has great drivability and would easily fit the bill for many growing families. Volvo have produced a vehicle worthy of going up against the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, and potentially beating them, the XC60 looks better, is more practical and more efficient. But the one challenging factor Volvo must overcome is its safe and boring stereotype, the XC60 is a wonderful car that really does deserve a second look.
Why you’ll buy one? Safe; Stylish; Comfortable
Why you won’t? Image
Audi Q5 – prices start from £32,310
BMW X3– prices start from £33,945
Range Rover Evoque – prices start from £30,600
Watch the video of Hannah testing the XC60
VOLVO XC60 D4 AWD
Max speed: 127 mph
0-62 mph: 9.6 seconds
Emissions: 137 g/km
Model price range: from £31,660
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : 5
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 54.3 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 705 litres
Length: 4644 mm
Width: 1891 mm
Height: 1672 mm
Wheelbase: 2774 mm
16th February, 2016