First drive: Volvo XC60
You'll like Comfort; quality; safety kit; refinement
You won't Not the best for economy or emissions
Verdict A cracking family car that really hits the spot
Volvo hit the bullseye with its first ‘proper' 4x4 – the XC90 – and its aim is just as true with its second, the XC60.
As with its big brother, the key to the XC60's success is that it meets the needs of potential buyers just about perfectly. It's the right size, for a start; smaller and easier to park than big 4x4s like the XC90 or BMW X5, but usefully larger – and more practical - than rivals like the Land Rover Freelander.
Then there's the classy image, which should in turn guarantee rock-solid residual values. That brings us neatly to the pricing, which is also spot-on. At £24,750, the entry-level model – which is far from poorly equipped – costs less than a top-spec Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, but it's in a different league for desirability.
Okay, the XC60's styling doesn't quite have the ‘sporty charisma of a coupé', as Volvo suggests, but it's sleek and classy.
In the cabin
The XC60 is best appreciated from inside, however, because its cabin is a fantastic blend of practicality, comfort and style. Avoid the optional lemon green leather trim option and the range of materials is sophisticated, yet understated. We're especially keen on the ‘Nordic Light oak' inserts, which are standard on top-spec cars and a £250 option on the rest.
A simple dash, comfy seats and great visibility make you feel instantly at home and there's bags of space for four tall adults and their luggage. The rear seats fold in an instant, to leave a large, flat load area.
Although it's not the most fun 4x4 to drive, the XC60 has the surefooted, unflappable feel that buyers crave. There's plenty of grip and the ride is comfortable over all but the worst surfaces. Refinement is excellent, too, although the five-cylinder diesel engines are a little boomy when worked hard.
In fact, the engines are the only chink in the XC60's armour; whether you choose the 161bhp 2.4D or the 183bhp D5 diesels, both use more fuel and emit more CO2 than most rivals. Volvo acknowledges that the turbocharged six-cylinder petrol T6 will barely register on the sales charts. If Volvo could find a way of fitting the four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel that powers our favourite V70, the XC60 would be just about faultless. Over to them…
InsURANCE Group tbc
Dealers won't budge during the initial rush, but decent savings should soon follow