Volvo XC60 review

Find out more about the Volvo XC60 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • - Rapid performance
  • - Beautiful design
  • - Luxurious interior

Cons

  • - Pricey to buy
  • - Not as good to drive as other SUVs
  • - Engine not particularly refined
  • MPG

    36 - 122

  • CO2

    47 - 181 g/km

Model review

 Following on from the success of the XC90, Volvo launched its first venture into the mid-size SUV world in 2008 with the XC60. The Swedish manufacturer ensured that the new model offered what buyers were after – comfort, practicality, a classy interior and safety. As such, it was little surprise that the model flew out of showrooms.

In fact, it’s been Volvo’s best-selling model for multiple years now, accounting for 30 per cent of the Swedish firm’s total sales and also being the best-selling premium mid-sized SUV across Europe.

A facelift in 2013 ensured it remained on par with tough competition from Land Rover, Audi and BMW, although a revitalisation of the model was overdue by the time the second-generation car went on sale in 2017.

Latest model

Volvo unveiled its new XC60 at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and it adopted a similar look to that of the larger XC90, which had set a firm precedent of what future Volvos should look like. The interior and exterior both followed the XC90, with a classy, clutter-free interior and a stylish exterior headed up by LED front and rear lights.

Safety is another hugely important factor on the new XC60, with Volvo claiming that its new SUV is one of the safest cars ever built. New safety tech includes a system to avoid head-on collisions, steering assist integrated into the blind spot monitoring and the usual suite of autonomous braking assists. A system known as ‘Pilot Assist’ is also available as an option, which can take control of the steering, acceleration and braking on clearly marked roads up to 80mph.

The XC60 was also offered for the first time with a plug-in hybrid powertrain – known as the T8 Twin Engine – which is the same powerplant seen in the larger XC90.

Since October 2017, buyers have been able to choose a power enhancement package from Volvo’s performance sub-brand Polestar. This adds 14bhp, which doesn’t make a lot of difference in the real world, but is a welcome enhancement to the XC60 T8’s line-up nonetheless.

Value for money

The standard XC60 starts from a fraction over £40,000 but the T8 is a much more expensive model with prices starting from £54,770—slightly more than a base model XC90. It’s a lot of money for a mid-size SUV but it looks like decent value when you consider the power on offer and the generous standard equipment list. LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and electrically operated and heated front seats are all offered as standard.

At the time of writing, the XC60 T8 had not been on sale too long, which means that prices still remain relatively high. A one-year-old R-Design example with around 10,000 miles on the clock can be had for around £45,000, which is still a good chunk off the original list price and a worthwhile saving to have on a nearly-new model. The T8 is a popular model new, even despite its high list price, which is helping to keep values high.

Looks and image

The XC60 has always been a classy-looking model, but the latest version is a huge improvement. Borrowing styling cues from the larger XC90, the XC60 features the same flat-nosed grille as its bigger sibling, as well as its distinctive front and rear LED lights. And as you can only get the T8 in high-spec R-Design and Inscription trim levels, it also means it comes with stylish 19-inch alloy wheels. The R-Design model is the sportier option, featuring revisions such as a gloss black styling kit, lowered suspension and dual-exit exhausts pipes, all of which help to complement the XC60’s look.

The interior design is equally as impressive, with Volvo offering some of the best cabins in the business.

The Swedish firm adopts a minimalist approach for its interiors, with few physical buttons to press. Instead, a portrait nine-inch touchscreen controls the majority of the car’s functions which can seem a bit intimidating at first as you have one screen controlling so much, but it’s quite easy to adjust to. The interior quality is also superb, and it feels plush, refined and luxurious inside which is to be expected on a £55,000 SUV.

If you’ve never driven a plug-in hybrid model, you will be very impressed by the sheer acceleration of the XC60 T8. Put your foot down and the power is instant, if not quite as quick as the acceleration figures might suggest.

All this power does somewhat clash with the XC60’s focus on comfort, rather than outright speed. The XC60 is by no means a bad car to drive, but it’s not involving in the same way that rivals from BMW and Jaguar are. It just means that the power can feel at odds with the T8’s powertrain, but should you want something that offers excellent refinement and comfort but also with impressive grunt when overtaking, the T8 is ideal.

Video Review

Space and practicality

The downside with most plug-in hybrids is that they’re not as practical as the models they’re based on, and the XC60 T8 is no different. Boot space has been reduced by 10 per cent compared to the standard SUV, which leaves 505 litres to play with. That’s by no means a small load area, but it’s not as spacious as some rivals, which can also offer more seating flexibility. Rear space is uncompromised, with plenty of room for taller adults in the rear, but with that said, five adults in the back can be a bit tight with not all that much shoulder room. Overall, the XC60 is a superb family car, which is also helped by its impressive safety rating.

When tested by Euro NCAP in 2017, the XC60 was dubbed for the safest new model you could buy today. That’s high praise indeed, and unsurprisingly the XC60 was awarded a five-star safety rating with exceptionally high scores recorded in all categories.

Standard safety equipment is hugely impressive; it includes an advanced autonomous emergency braking system, a driver attention alert, lane-keep assist and a system to swerve out of the way of oncoming traffic featuring.

Engines

The XC60 T8 is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 316bhp, which is further supplemented by an 85bhp electric motor to produce a total of 401bhp. As mentioned already, it’s rapid and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds and keep going to a top speed of 140mph. Power is delivered to all four wheels by a fantastic eight-speed automatic transmission.

The electric range isn’t the best, with Volvo claiming 23 miles between charges, but it should be enough for drivers covering short distances to get from A to B without having to majorly tap into the petrol.

Charging times vary between one hour using a fast 16A charger and seven hours using a normal domestic plug socket.

 

Running costs

For those drivers who don’t cover a lot of miles, there’s the opportunity to save quite a lot of money by running the T8 compared to a standard petrol or diesel XC60.

Volvo claims a fuel economy figure of 100.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 51g/km, although figures like these will rarely be accomplished in real-world conditions. Company car tax rates will also be much lower with the plug-in hybrid model next to regular XC60s, thanks to its lower Benefit-in-Kind banding. As with all XC60s, the T8 incurs an extra £310 in road tax between its second and sixth year of registration.

Be aware that the T8 will not be a cheap model to insure as it sits in insurance group 48 out of 50.

Things to look out for

Volvo hasn’t always had the best reliability reputation, but its latest models – including the XC60 T8 – seemed to have ironed out any past issues. As the latest variant is such a new model, there’s still not a lot known about its reliability just yet, but with every T8 covered under warranty until the end of 2020, there should be very little to worry about.

Rivals

At the time of writing, the XC60 T8 has very few premium plug-in hybrid models in its class. Larger SUVs – such as the range-topping XC90 T8, for example – have no shortage of rivals, but plug-in hybrid models don’t seem to have trickled down to the mid-size SUV sector yet, other than the cheaper and less prestigious Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

In this sense, the XC60 T8 almost sits in its own class for the time being until rival firms expand their offerings. Non-hybrid rivals include the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Jaguar F-Pace.

Depreciation

The XC60 T8 is proving to be a popular model, which is helping prices to remain high. That said, there’s still discounts of around £8,000 available off nearly-new models, which makes the model much better value on the used market, as new versions are quite expensive.

Which XC60 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

2.0 T4 190 Edition 5dr Special Editions

Most MPG

2.0 T8 [390] Hybrid R DESIGN 5dr AWD Geartronic

Fastest Model (0-60)

2.0 T8 405 Hybrid Polestar Engineered 5dr AWD Gtrn Special Editions

Summary

  1. Superb interior quality
  2. Classy design throughout
  3. T8 powertrain is hugely powerful
  4. 23-mile electric range
  5. Rivals are more enjoyable to drive
  6. Smaller boot than the standard XC60
  7. Expensive list price…
  8. But you have to factor in fuel and tax savings
  9. One of the safest cars ever built
  10. Safe, luxurious and potentially very cheap to run

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