Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Volvo has given all engines in the XC60 range some form of battery assistance, with a ‘B’ designation for mild-hybrid versions. There's one diesel option, the B4, which has 194bhp and comes with four-wheel drive. While it won’t exactly squash you back in your seat, it has more than enough mid-rev oomph for easygoing pace, and is a perfect fit for private buyers. The 0-62mph in 8.3sec acceleration is a bit slower than the Audi Q5 40 TDI but slightly quicker than in the Land Rover Discovery Sport D200.
The petrol engine range starts with the front-wheel drive 194bhp B4. We’ve yet to sample this engine in the XC60, but it impressed us in the V60 estate with its punchy performance and decent fuel economy, so we’d expect it to be equally adept in the XC60. However, if you live in a weather-beaten part of the country you might want to consider stepping up to the 247bhp B5, which comes with four-wheel drive as standard for better traction in adverse conditions. It’s also pretty quick, with a 0-62mph of just 6.9 seconds.
Suspension and ride comfort
The standard suspension fitted to most trim levels does a good job of dealing with speed bumps and road imperfection with a smooth edge. Expansion joints and ragged potholes tend to send a nasty jolt through the XC60, though – a problem that's exacerbated with larger alloy wheel options. R-Design trim has lowered suspension that's slightly firmer, but the difference isn't huge.
If you opt for an R-Design Pro or Inscription Pro version, Volvo adds air suspension. That gives the car a generally composed and well-controlled ride that softens the edges off peaks and troughs at high speeds. An Audi Q5 Vorsprung on air suspension is still by far the best-riding car in the large SUV category. Strangely, if you want to be able to tweak the firmness of the suspension, you can only do so on Pro models with the T6 or T8 PHEV engine. It's an option in the Driving Assistant menu, but frankly it doesn't make a big difference to the ride comfort.
You’ll notice a slight boom from the XC60's suspension when you encounter a pothole. There's also a bit of road noise on a motorway, where you'll also hear wind noise from around the door mirrors. Again, it's not terrible, but the Q5 is a more peaceful long-distance machine. The brakes on all versions are pretty easy to use smoothly, plus there’s a one-pedal driving mode on the plug-in hybrids. That makes the car slow down (and eventually stop) from the moment you take your foot off the accelerator.