The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Sat inside an XC60 you look down on most other road users in traffic. For many, that’s key to the appeal of high-riding SUVs. 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 on Momentum and R-Design models; full electric adjustment, with memory recall, is standard if you opt for the Pro Pack or go for upper trims. It’s worth mentioning that both central and door armrests are positioned near-perfectly for you to rest your elbows.
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 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 or dials would make the process far less distracting while driving.
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 slender windscreen pillars that make it easy to navigate roundabouts and junctions. Even the over-the-shoulder view is good by large SUV standards.
Every XC60 (bar the Edition trim) comes equipped with front and rear parking sensors, making it easier to pilot the car’s considerable bulk into tight parking spaces. You can also choose to add a rear-view camera, a 360deg bird’s-eye-view camera and even Pilot Assist, which can semi-autonomously perform parallel parking or back you into a supermarket space. At night, bright LED headlights are on hand to light your way clearly with adaptive ones (allowing you to keep main beam on without dazzling oncoming drivers) available as an option.
Sat nav and infotainment
There’s no doubting the showroom appeal of the XC60’s Sensus 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 like that of an iPad.
However, the fact that it’s a touchscreen means you have to prod accurately its icons — some of which are rather small — and swipe between menus. That is fine when you’re stationary, but it can be both annoying and distracting while driving. Physical controllers, such as Audi’s MMI system and BMW’s iDrive, are much easier for navigating menus on the move.
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 for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring on all models. 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, leaving 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.