- We like...City safety system
- We don't...Noisy engine
Upmarket off-roader has clever safety system that could save you from a crash. It's pretty good in other areas, too Just think. A car that ‘watches’ the road ahead and will jam the brakes on if you’re day-dreaming. That’s the XC60. This system, which Volvo has named City Safety, is there as standard on even the cheapest model.
It’s effective only up to 19mph but then Volvo says that 3 in 4 accidents occur at that speed or slower. The company’s research suggests that many such crashes happen without the driver even braking – which suggests that their eyes weren’t on the road. Volvo’s system cuts in when an impact is imminent. If you’re moving at up to 9mph, it should stop you from hitting another car or thing. Between 10 and 19mph, you’ll probably crash but less severely than you otherwise might.
No surprises then that we didn’t try this feature for real. But we’ve seen it demonstrated and will say that it’s impressive. Then, with Volvo’s reputation as a safety pioneer, you would expect as much.
But there’s a lot more to the XC60. It’s jostling for sales with the likes of Audi’s Q5, BMW’s X3 and the Land Rover Freelander, all cars brimmed with talent. Now for us it’s not as good to drive as the X3, Q5 or Freelander. Nor, we expect, would it be able to take you to all the off-road places that the Land Rover could. Yet, what it can serve up is a blend of charm and reassuring solidity that makes spending time with it a pleasure.
There’s the way it looks: a scaled down version of its range-mate the XC90, which to our eyes is the best looking big off-roader. And, inside it’s cool and definitely Scandinavian, with the pale Nordic wood inlay across the centre console which, as in other Volvos ‘floats’ free of the dash. It’s also quite spacious inside and feels it, even though the window line starts higher on the body than in some rivals. And our top-line SE Lux Premium gets heated leather seats and colour-screen satellite navigation as standard. There’s a good size luggage area, too, and the rear seats fold easily at the pull of a couple of catches.
On the move it rides softly unless you move the ride settings from ‘comfort’ and to ‘sport’ or ‘advanced’, and the car will sharpen its act. But whichever you choose it will feel slow in its responses – it isn’t the ‘sporty drive’ that Volvo promises in its marketing blurb. Still, it is comfortable, relaxed and pleasant, best enjoyed if you ease back and let the lazy push of the D5 diesel engine do its work. This motor roars when roused and is boomy. But it works well, even if it isn't especially clean or economical.
Should you buy one? It’s a stylish package, keenly priced against the competition, and its safety kit is intriguing and innovative, even if it’s something (we hope) you’ll never need to call upon.
To view and buy new and second-hand Volvo XC60s, go to motors.co.uk
- Engines2.4 turbodiesel
- 0-60 mph7.9sec
- Insurance groups15
Motors.co.uk value verdict: