2013 Volvo XC60 D4 FWD review

  • New four-cylinder diesel XC60 driven
  • Lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
  • On sale now, priced from £31,110

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The Volvo XC60 has been given some mid-life revisions, including a fresh new look on the outside and some classier materials inside. However, the biggest news is a new four-cylinder D4 diesel engine that’s available on front-wheel-drive models.

This produces 178bhp and averages up to 62.8mpg (compared with its predecessor’s 52.3mpg). Unfortunately, it won’t go into four-wheel-drive D4s until next year; these continue to use Volvo’s old five-cylinder engine for now.

Other options include a 212bhp 2.4-litre D5 diesel and a 300bhp 3.0-litre T6 petrol, both of which are four-wheel drive.

Volvo’s Corner Traction Control torque vectoring system, which helps the car change direction by braking and accelerating the appropriate wheels, is now standard, whichever model you choose.

What’s the 2013 Volvo XC60 D4 FWD like to drive?

The new D4 diesel has easily enough power and torque to feel comfortable when hauling around a family and their possessions, plus it’s happy to pull from low revs and responds pretty quickly to accelerator inputs.

Unfortunately, the optional Geartronic auto gearbox that was fitted to our test car does its best to undermine the engine; it’s slow to change gear and often chooses the wrong moment to do so.

Despite, the standard torque vectoring system, the XC60 also feels more ponderous in corners than rivals such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

The steering doesn’t help here, because it’s rather slow and heavy, but the XC60 does compensate by providing a supple ride at all speeds. Just make sure you avoid R Design trim, because this brings stiffer suspension that reduces comfort without transforming the XC60 into a particularly agile car.

Wind and road noise are very well suppressed, and the new D4 engine is quieter than the four-cylinder diesels in BMWs and Mercs – although it does produce a bit more clatter around town than the equivalent Audi engines.

What’s the 2013 Volvo XC60 D4 FWD like inside?

The XC60’s face-lift has brought only minor changes in the cabin, including different dashboard trim and headlining materials.

The dashboard feels solidly built and its ‘floating’ centre console design (with storage space behind it) still looks stylish, but there are too many small buttons grouped closely together.

More positively, there’s lots of head- and legroom in the front, and the seats are some of the most supportive in any car.

The rear of the cabin is just as spacious as the front, with more than enough room for two adults or three children to sit comfortably on long journeys.

What’s more, the XC60 has a huge 495-litre boot with a wide opening, and the rear seats split and fold flat 40/20/40.

Every model gets an impressive list of standard equipment, including six airbags, climate and cruise control, alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, a DAB radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity and music streaming.

While there’s a long list of possible options to add, Volvo is offering 10 different option packs to XC60 buyers, designed to offer greater luxury, performance, safety or security for a lower price.

Should I buy one?

There’s a lot to like about the XC60. Despite its age, the cabin is still extremely practical and well put together, while the new D4 engine is both quieter and stronger than the one it replaces.

If only the XC60 had a better automatic gearbox, it would be right up with the class leaders. However, until it gets this, the BMW X3 is a better option.

What Car says…

Rivals:

Audi Q5

BMW X3

Specification D4 FWD manual (auto)
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from £31,110
Power 178bhp
Torque 295lb ft
0-62mph 8.5 seconds
Top speed 130mph
Fuel economy 62.8mpg (60.1mpg)
CO2 emissions 117g/km (124g/km)

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