Safe. Relaxing. Good to ride in. Subtly decorated
It's not the most captivating driver's car
What is it?
The Volvo XC60 sits right at the heart of the big-selling mid-size crossover crowd. It's handsome and luxurious and it wraps you in a safety blanket as comprehensive as the Swedish welfare state.
It's not distracted by off-road ambitions. Neither is it wearing the pretence of track-lapping athleticism. So it's not hampered by the heavy and cumbersome hardware of the former, or the harsh inflexibility of the latter.
This middle-of-the-road approach of course lands it some stern rivals. The Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are all right there and implacably competent. But the Volvo feels very different inside. Its decor is as Skandi as a Stockholm boutique hotel bar.
The generation-two XC60 has a lot of momentum behind it. The old one wasn't only Volvo's best-selling car, it was also the best-selling vehicle of that type in Europe. Its suspension manners might have been pretty rough-and-ready but even that wasn't enough to hold the old car back.
This one, which was launched in 2017, gives Volvo a chance to exploit the old buyers' loyalty while fixing the faults. That means better suspension. It also brings more tech and even more safety features.
The platform, powertrains, suspension, seats, and interior operating system are unashamedly the same as other modern Volvos. In short the new XC60 is the XC90 reduced. Reduced but not diminished. For the loss of the XC90's third row of seats, it gains a handier-sized outline and a little extra agility.
The range is all 2.0-litre engines running on both petrol and diesel, mostly with some form of electrical assistance (mild- and plug-in hybrid, but no full-electric version) and all-wheel drive (though you can get straight front-wheel drive diesels should you so wish).
On the safety front the XC60 runs as many helping-hand systems as any other Volvo. Which means, to a reasonable approximation, any other car on the planet.
What's the verdict?
We’re fans of modern Volvos, and the XC60 is no exception. It’s most of the good bits from the bigger 90-series cars and SUVs, distilled into a smaller package. Relaxing to be in thanks to the superb, calming cabin (get it in a bright colour, you won’t regret it. Unless you have kids), and mostly relaxing to drive. Does things differently to the equivalent BMW, Mercedes and Audi, and good though those cars are, is all the better for it. Definitely worth looking at.