Trawling through the engine line-up on many modern cars can leave you a bit bewildered. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the XC60 because there are really only two engines you need to worry about: the D4 and the D5. Both are 2.0-litre diesels, but the former has 188bhp while the latter pumps out a healthier 232bhp.
We’ve only tried the D5, in which acceleration is more than adequate, to the point that we suspect the cheaper D4 will be all you really need. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is sometimes a little hesitant to change down, leaving the XC60 labouring in too high a gear – when you want to enter a roundabout briskly, for instance. However, outright performance is more than a match for any Land Rover Discovery Sport or Audi Q5 currently on sale.
If you’re dead set against a diesel, there’s also a T5 petrol. We’ve yet to try this turbocharged 2.0-litre, but with a punchy 250bhp acceleration should be brisker than in either of the diesels. However, given how much thirstier this engine is, Volvo understandably doesn’t expect to sell many.
Volvo XC60 ride comfort
Firstly, it’s important to stress that our experience of the XC60 is limited. We’ve only sampled it on optional (and expensive) air suspension, and even then only on the super-smooth roads around Barcelona. Put simply, how comfortable it’ll be down a beaten up British B-road on its relatively rudimentary standard suspension remains to be seen.
However, there’s no doubt the air suspension delivers a soft and supple ride the majority of the time, particularly at high speeds. Dial in the more comfortable of two settings (aptly labelled ‘comfort’) and the XC60 positively wafts over lumps, ripples and speed bumps.
Hit a sharp-edge ridge or a pothole, though, and all of a sudden that serenity is replaced by a loud jolt – bigger than you’d experience in an Audi Q5 or a Land Rover Discovery Sport. This trait suggests the XC60 might struggle to cope with some of Britain’s poorly maintained roads.
Volvo XC60 handling
You’ll only need to drive the XC60 round a couple of corners to realise Volvo’s claims about sporty handling are a bit misleading. Don’t get us wrong: it’s no wallowy barge, but if you’re hoping for an SUV that grips and changes direction like a Porsche Macan, or even a Jaguar F-Pace, you’ll be somewhat disappointed.
The thing is, though, the majority of buyers won’t care about that because SUVs aren’t supposed to be sports cars. The XC60 grips well enough and doesn’t tip over onto its door handles around tight twists and turns, and its steering is precise with enough feedback to give you confidence along bucking and twisting country roads. In other words, it’s more than fit for purpose.
Better still, the XC60 is surprisingly easy to manoeuvre around town and feels incredibly stable and planted at high speeds.
Volvo XC60 refinement
Volvo’s diesel engines aren’t the quietest around, but seem more subdued in the XC60 than they are in the S90 saloon or V90 estate. True, the drone when you accelerate hard would raise the eyebrow of any Audi Q5 owner, but the XC60 actually isolates you better from engine noise and vibration than a Discovery Sport or Mercedes GLC.
The suspension goes about its business quietly the majority of the time, although there is a loud bang when you hit a pothole and the XC60’s mirrors also whip up a fair amount of wind noise on the motorway. There’s some road roar, too, so all things considered, there are more refined large SUVs to choose from.