The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Sitting behind the wheel of the XC60 you look down on many other road users – for many, that’s key to the appeal of high-riding SUVs – but you're not as high up as you would be in a Land Rover Discovery Sport. In other respects, the XC60’s driving position is superb, thanks to plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and the extremely comfortable and supportive driver’s seat.
Seat height and lumbar adjustment are electric on all trim levels, but you have to slide the seat back and forth and recline it manually unless you fork out for the Power Seat pack or go for Inscription trim. It’s worth mentioning that both central and door armrests are in a near-perfect position for most drivers to rest their elbows on.
The standard digital instruments are clear and dashboard buttons are kept to a minimum for a clean and uncomplicated look. The only problem with this level of minimalism is that most of the functions are incorporated within the infotainment touchscreen. That means you have to take your eyes off the road and prod away at its small icons, even to adjust the interior temperature. Physical buttons and knobs, like you'll find in the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, would make the process far less distracting.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The excellent view out of the XC60 is partly down to its big side windows and door mirrors. However, it also has relatively slim windscreen pillars that make it easy to navigate roundabouts and junctions. Even your over-the-shoulder view is good by large SUV standards.
Every XC60 comes equipped with front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, making it easier to pilot the car’s considerable bulk into tight parking spaces. You can also choose to add a 360deg bird’s-eye-view camera and a self parking system. At night, bright LED headlights are on hand to light your way clearly.
Sat nav and infotainment
There’s no doubting the showroom appeal of the XC60’s infotainment system. Its large 9.0in touchscreen is wonderfully crisp and bright and, rather unusually, is set into the dashboard in portrait, rather than landscape, orientation, with a convenient home button at the bottom, like an iPad's.
However, the fact that it’s a touchscreen means you have to prod icons — some of which are rather small — and swipe between menus. That is fine when you’re stationary, but it can be distracting while driving. Rotary controller interfaces, like the one in the BMW X3, are much easier to use on the move and the X3's software is also more responsive.
Sat-nav is standard on all trims, but the map's graphics are a little tricky to follow. A DAB radio, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker stereo are also included, but you have to pay extra if you want wireless phone charging and Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto smartphone mirroring. The optional Bowers & Wilkins stereo delivers seriously crisp and punchy sound quality, but you’ll have to really love your music to consider it — it’s very expensive.
When it comes to interior quality, Volvo can now count itself among the best in the business; the XC60 is as classy and elegant inside as the larger (and more expensive) XC90. That's seriously impressive, and there really is precious little to grumble about.
The liberal use of wood or metal trims, especially from high-spec Inscription models, lends the XC60’s interior a wonderfully polished, premium feel. Okay, some of the interior panel gaps aren’t as millimetre-perfect as they are in the rival Audi Q5, but every surface you touch feels suitably upmarket and reassuringly solid.
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