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Car Review

Volvo XC60 review

£44,170 - £69,330
810
Published: 15 Dec 2023
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Handsome, luxurious and with the reassurance of Volvo's reputation for safety. What's not to like?

Good stuff

Looks stylish without even trying, pleasingly simple and relaxing cabin, typically Volvo safe

Bad stuff

Nothing special to drive, poor economy in the PHEVs if you run out of charge, minimal physical interior controls

Overview

What is it?

This is the middle child of the Volvo SUV range – smaller and less fancy than the large XC90, but roomier and more family oriented than the diminutive XC40. In the wider car market it sits smack bang in the middle of the most crowded and competitive segment there is, the mid-size crossover.

Still, whatever the competition, Volvo’s XC60 comes with enough of the Swedish firm’s solid safety, pared back elegant design and the sort of alternative luxury that drew fans to Saab to help it stand out.

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Neither is it distracted by any of that nonsense around pretending to be a lifestyle oriented off-roader. Does anyone still want their SUV to pretend it’s a 4x4? Surely we’re long past that. 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 Audi Q5BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC are all right there and implacably competent. But the Volvo feels very different inside – while the Germans go off in one direction, the XC60 has the confidence to follow its own path.

It’s been around a while, hasn’t it?

This is the second-generation version of the XC60 – the first one was launched in 2008 and lasted for a solid nine years on sale. It was Volvo’s best-selling car, so you could understand why they’d be reluctant to take it off sale. This current version has been around since 2017, with a mid-life facelift in 2021 helping keep things fresh.

With the second version of the XC60, Volvo made efforts to retain what made the car appealing to buyers while improving on some of the weaker areas – so it got better suspension, fancier tech and more of the sorts of safety features that Volvo buyers find so reassuring.

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So what engines does it offer?

It’s actually a fairly simple choice – you can opt for a 2.0-litre petrol (no diesel options now) with 48V mild hybrid tech, or there’s a plug-in hybrid set-up that comes with two levels of power from the petrol engine and an 18.8kWh battery that’s good for up to 47 miles of electric range.

The mild hybrid petrol offers 247bhp, 0–62mph in 6.9 seconds, slightly disappointing official fuel economy of 31.7mpg, and 180g/km CO2 emissions.

The T6 PHEV set-up brings 345bhp and a 0–62mph time of 5.7s, and the perkier T8 offers 449bhp for a 4.9s sprint. Both PHEVs are rated at 217mpg (a meaningless figure – keep it juiced up with electricity and you’re laughing; let the battery run out and you’re looking at sub-30mpg), 24g/km CO2, and a tax-friendly eight per cent BiK.

Gotcha. How much does it cost?

Prices start from £44,820 for the mild hybrid, while the T6 PHEV starts from £52,359 and the T8 PHEV from £59,606.

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

The Volvo XC60 does things differently to the equivalent BMW, Mercedes and Audi... and it's all the better for it

We’re big fans of modern Volvos, and the XC60 is no exception. It takes most of the good bits from the bigger 90-series cars and SUVs and distils them into a smaller package.

It’s 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. It does things differently to the equivalent BMW, Mercedes and Audi, and as good though those cars are, this one's all the better for it.

We’d argue it’s a much cooler, less offensively aggressive-looking thing to potter about in too. It’s not the sportiest nor the cheapest SUV, but it’s probably the most socially acceptable.

The Rivals

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