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The Top Gear car review:Volvo XC60
For:Safe. Relaxing. Good to ride in. Subtly decorated.
Against: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 and Audi Q5 are both right there, and both implacably competent. But the Volvo feels very different inside. Its decor is as Skandi as a Stockholm boutique hotel bar.
The generation-2 XC60 starts with 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.
The new one gives Volvo a chance to exploit the old buyers’ loyalty while fixing the faults. That means a 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 recent 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.
At launch at least, the range is all 4WD and automatic transmission. Diesels are the four-cylinder 2.0, in D4 tune giving 190bhp, and in twin-turbo T5 tune it’s 235bhp. The pure petrol option is a four-cylinder turbo T5 of 254bhp.
Final powertrain is the ‘Twin Engine’ plug-in hybrid T8 pack. That’s a 320bhp turbo-plus-supercharged front drive with 87bhp of electric rear drive. As a plug-in hybrid it can whisper along on that electric drive for 15-20 miles, so long as you treat the accelerator like an eggshell.
On the safety front the XC60 runs even more helping-hand systems than any other Volvo. Which means, to a reasonable approximation, any other car on the planet.
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