Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good In February 2009 the Volvo XC60 arrived in Australia, with an update in early 2011 bringing about a refreshed interior and a number of changes under its handsome bodywork. And, in August 2012 Volvo added a front-drive diesel variant, offering customers a cheaper alternative to the D5 and also raised the level of optional safety technology available across the range.

In true Scandinavian style, the XC60 features a deeply contoured V-shaped bonnet, waisted side profile and sexy rear tail lights. Volvo’s marketing spin claims the designers have successfully ‘blended the sporty dynamics of a coupe with the practicality of an SUV’, and for once we're inclined to agree.

We think this could very well be Volvo’s best looking product.

Not so good The top of the range XC60 models weigh in at 1900kg plus, making the Volvo XC60 a lot heftier than the smaller Volkswagen Tiguan for example.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Functional, stylish and beautiful – yes the XC60’s interior ticks all three boxes. This is a very appealing cabin. The ‘floating’ console is angled slightly towards the driver and we like its distinctive design, the layout of all controls is very intuitive, the soft touch plastics on the dash and door trims look and feel great and the front seats are some of the best in the business. There's plenty of storage options in the cabin and we appreciate the electronic park brake which is much better than a foot-operated parking brake and it takes up less space than the traditional hand brake lever. The second row bench seat features ingenious integrated child booster seats which are super easy to operate and a low centre tunnel ensures the middle passenger in the second row has decent foot room. The boot is a healthy 495 litres, or 1,455 litres with the 40/20/40 split folding rear seats down. On the move the cabin remains impressively quiet, even in the diesel variants.
Not so good Whilst the shallow glass house helps to create a great looking product, it does less for visibility, although it’s by no means unbearable. The slightly tight second row legroom means the XC60 can't match a number of its competitors.
Performance

Performance

Good Five different engines are on offer, three petrol and two diesels. The T5 features a four cylinder 2.0-litre petrol turbo with 177kW of power and 320Nm of torque. While the 3.2 AWD comes with a naturally aspirated in-line six 3.2-litre petrol engine producing 179kW of power and 320Nm of torque. The T6 AWD comes with a six cylinder 3.0-litre petrol turbo making 224kW of power and 440Nm of torque. The D4 comes equipped with a 2.0-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine that manages 120kW of power and 400Nm of torque when matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The D5 AWD comes with a five cylinder 2.4-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel that produces 151kW of power and 420Nm of torque. Official fuel consumption ranges from a low 7.6 litres per 100km for the D5 AWD to an average 10.5 litres per 100km for the T6 AWD. The entry level T5, whilst only 2.0-litres in displacement, with direct injection, turbocharging and variable valve timing technology is well and truly up to the task when you put the right foot down. It’s happy to be revved but stays refined, while the six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox shifts cleanly and smoothly. The D5 all-wheel-drive features a great motor that has plenty of torque on offer; from around 2300rpm through to 3500rpm. The diesel engine is a little noisy when pushed hard, but, you never really have to push the engine to get the best out of it. The D4 is a great little alternative to the D5 featuring a smaller powerplant and front-wheel drive. There is plenty of torque on offer even with the smaller engine.
Not so good The T5’s dual-clutch automatic gearbox felt sluggish on down changes while driving the XC60 hard. The T5’s official fuel consumption looks impressive on paper for a SUV at 8.7 litres per 100km, but during our test we managed on averaged just over 10 litres per 100km.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Unlike most of the competition, the XC60 strikes a good balance between ride comfort and handling capabilities. Great body control gives the driver a secure feeling on the open road, making it a very comfortable and relaxing SUV for travelling serious kilometres in. The chassis has been tuned by engineers who understand the Luxury SUV target market; the steering has good on-centre feel and the brakes work well on tarmac and gravel.
Not so good Whilst the handling is impressive for Volvo, it can’t match the level of driver enjoyment of the class best. However, we should add that enthusiast drivers might say it isn't as sharp and poised as one competing German player, we'd also say, hey if you want a bona fide sports car, why are you looking at a comfortable luxury SUV?
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The XC60 is a great daily driver that is very safe. Volvo has introduced the world’s first low-speed crash-avoidance technology; it has also picked up design awards thanks to the smart exterior and distinctive interior. We think the XC60 T5 grade is impressively good value, this least expensive XC60 is FWD rather than AWD and for most buyers this shouldn't be an issue at all. Option pricing is also notably better value than a number of competing German luxury brands.
Not so good As is the trend these days the XC60 opts for a space saver temporary spare rather than a full sized wheel, which favours urban buyers.