Volvo XC60 Crossover full 9 point review
Confusingly, there are two D4 diesel models; one with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, and one that gets a 2.4-litre five-cylinder unit and four-wheel drive. The D5 gets the same 2.4-litre engine but with more power. There's also a T6 petrol, which has enough oomph to trouble hot hatches. If you can live without all-wheel drive, the 2.0 diesel is our pick of the range; it accelerates strongly and smoothly from low revs, so makes the faster models look a bit pointless.
Ride & Handling
Standard models have a smooth ride and plenty of grip, although their steering is a little slow. The XC60 keeps everything well controlled in corners, but most rival SUVs suffer from less body lean. R-Design models sacrifice some comfort for tighter body control and sharper steering, but we reckon the standard car provides the better compromise for family buyers.
You won't find many more refined cars in this class than the XC60, thanks to low levels of wind, suspension and road noise. It’s a shame that the diesel engines are a little gruff when revved hard, but the noise is kept distant enough to stop it becoming annoying. The four-cylinder diesel engine is quieter than the five-cylinder ones, particularly at motorway speeds. An automatic gearbox is optional or standard on most models; it changes gear smoothly, but can be a little slow to respond.
Buying & Owning
The XC60 isn't cheap, but big discounts are readily available and resale values are almost as good as the best in the class. The standout model is the 2.0 D4: it has exceptionally low costs and makes an excellent choice as a company car. The four-wheel-drive models will cost you substantially more, but still have competitive buying and running costs. The T6 will be extortionate to own, so is best avoided.
Quality & Reliability
Dense, high-quality plastics give the cabin a real feel of classiness, and the XC60 appears built to last and should withstand the rigours of family life. Many components are borrowed from the rest of the Volvo range, so the mechanical bits should prove hardy – a feeling that was borne out by the 2012 JD Power survey, in which the XC60 finished inside the top 20 overall.
Safety & Security
The XC60 scored a full five stars in crash tests, and its standard kit includes twin front and side airbags, cabin-length window airbags, and anti-whiplash front head restraints. It also includes Volvo’s City Safety system. At 20mph or less, sensors tell if you're likely to hit the car in front and activate a warning buzzer. If you don’t respond, it will brake for you. It won't recognise pedestrians and struggles with motorcycles, but it should prevent, or at least minimise, low-speed shunts.
Behind The Wheel
There's plenty of leg-, head- and elbowroom, and the superbly supportive seats and two-way adjustable steering column make it easy to find the right driving position. Most of the controls are located on Volvo's snazzy ‘floating’ central instrument stack, which looks cool, but some of the buttons are a bit small to be easily found on the move.
Space & Practicality
The rear bench is elevated to give a good view of the road ahead - even for little ones. Specify the 40/20/40 split/fold rear seats with built-in child booster seats and a central picnic table, and add a pair of DVD screens, and we're talking nirvana for fractious nippers. Whip down the rear-seat backs and you're left with a flat floor and a cargo space that goes from a useful 495 litres to a mountain bike-swallowing 1455 litres.
Every XC60 gets a good standard kit list, including climate and cruise controls, automatic lights and wipers, a DAB radio, USB socket and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Similarly priced rivals come with leather (or fake leather) upholstery as standard, however. SE trim offers the best blend of price and equipment, so that’s what we’d go for. While there's a long list of optional extras, various option packs bundle together key bits of kit for less than it’d cost to add them separately.