15 Nov 2017 | 02.12 pm
Roadtest: Volvo XC60
Nappa Soft Leather option feels heavenly
15 Nov 2017 | 02.12 pm
Volvo’s XC60 has been a big success since its launch nine years ago. Mark Gallivan has been testing the new model
Volvo’s new XC60 replaces Volvo’s highly-successful original XC60, which in the nine years since its launch became the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe, with nearly a million units sold globally. The XC60 today represents around one third of Volvo’s total global sales and sits between the bigger XC90 and the smaller XC40, which has a new version on the way in January 2018.
Prices start at €53,950 for the XC60 Momentum diesel-powered D4 AWD with 190hp. There are three specifications to choose from – Momentum, Inscription and R-Design. Choosing your perfect XC60 is simple enough – ignore the R-Design versions, as the larger wheels ruin the ride and makes the suspension fidget on secondary roads. We’d recommend you plumb for the Inscription spec and tick the fabulous €2,340 Nappa Soft Leather option, as it feels and smells heavenly.
The XC60’s new design takes styling cues from the S90 saloon’s front grille, resulting in a car that looks reassuringly premium in the mid-size crossover sector. Climb inside and the supremely comfortable seats are a godsend for tired backs. Volvo prides itself on life-affirming seat comfort and they have done an excellent job again. Where other manufacturers offer endless seating adjustments, the XC60 seats just work straight out of the box.
A large 9-inch touchscreen houses menu functions that are accessed by sliding and up and down and left to right, minimising button clutter within the cabin. The issue with all touchscreens is that they distract from driving, as you cannot operate frequently needed controls like ventilation without having to look, touch and prod at the screen. Traditional rotating buttons or switches work far better and we see no good reason Volvo decided to ditch them.
That’s the only gripe in a cabin that is thoughtfully designed and a calming place to sit for hours on end. While the 190hp diesel engine we tested had sufficient punch, we found it harsh at idle but smoothened out sufficiently once at driving speeds. Our preferred choice would be the Hybrid powered XC60 starting at €69,950 in base Momentum specification. Go with that powertrain and you are nudging close to the optimum mid-size crossover.
On the safety front, Steer Assist has been added to Volvo’s existing City Safety system. A new safety system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation uses steer assist to help mitigate head-on collisions, while Blind Spot Indication System uses steer assist functionality to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions.
For such a big vehicle, the XC60 handles well and uses much of the suspension underpinnings from the bigger XC90 with a shortened wheelbase. Pilot Assist, available as an option, is activated by a button on the steering wheel. This offers semi-autonomous control by reading the road markings and steering the car for you. If you take your hands off the wheel, it steers the car but alerts you after eight or so seconds to put your hands back. Theoretically, you could drive from Dublin to Cork letting the XC60 do most of the work.
Model: Volvo XC60 D4 (190hp) AWD Inscription Geartronic
Price: €66,950 as tested. (Starting at €53,950 for Momentum D4 AWD)
Fuel: 5.2L 100km combined cycle
Road Tax: €280 per annum
Verdict: A brilliantly complete SUV.