This mid-sized SUV is a dynamic, easy rider that’s equally at home on urban roads and dirt tracks.
Follow motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay on Instagram @tbarnesclay.
I love Volvos. So does my old man. He’s gone through a bunch of these Scandinavian motors over the years.
In my younger days, I admired their plush, comfy cabins, but I wasn’t so keen on the breeze block-like exterior. Volvos, notably the estates, were dubbed “wardrobes on wheels” for a reason a couple of decades back.
The Swedish carmaker is still making estate models, but they’re now handsome on the outside as well as inside. The V90, but especially the V60, are very attractive cars.
Yet, SUVs have become the bread and butter of Volvo in recent times. The all-wheel-drive capability of these high riders has given the product a different edge. The models fuse luxury and off-road aptitude in one platform.
The Volvo XC60 is a medium-size SUV, positioned between Volvo’s compact XC40 and its sizeable XC90. It’s the perfect compromise – not too little – and not so colossal that city driving becomes nerve-wracking. I mean, have you ever taken a large SUV into a multi-storey car park? It’s a sweat-on-the-brow provoking experience.
The XC60 B5 petrol, as tested here in snazzy R-Design form, makes it easy to munch miles. It floats over the blacktop, with its automatic transmission switching cogs so gracefully, you almost forget it exists. You also get an excellent view out, and there’s a lot of adjustment available on the steering column and seats to get the best driving position.
Performance-wise you can expect this five-seater, five-door SUV to get from nought to 62mph in just 6.5 seconds, and the top speed is 137mph. Perhaps less impressively, you only get 31.3-36.2mpg out of this Volvo – and that’s with some mild-hybrid tech thrown in under the bonnet.
Plenty of equipment
The XC60’s opponents are the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Audi Q5 and the BMW X5 – and prices are comparable. These are all vehicles with “kudos” badges, but the comfort of the Volvo’s seats is hard to outdo. The automaker seems to be able to produce the right measure of cushioning and support in its vehicles, no matter which model or grade you select.
Furthermore, the XC60’s equipment is plentiful, with more than enough safety technology to keep everyone protected. The only bit of kit I added to the car on my test drive was Groov-e’s Wireless Car Mount. It not only holds a mobile phone, but it also charges it wirelessly.
The best bit about this after-market bit of tech is that it features an automatic detection and release grip system, literally taking charge of any phone in seconds. Its suction window or air-vent mounts also enabled me to position it wherever I felt was most comfortable and safest in the Volvo.
Anyway, to sum up the car, it’s easy. Depending on your driving requirements, the SUV will switch from handling lively urban environments to meandering dirt tracks with ease. Because let’s face it, if you have a dynamic lifestyle, you’ll want a dynamic car, and the XC60 is built to make sure you get the best of both worlds.
Fast Facts – Volvo XC60 B5 Petrol AWD R-Design Automatic as tested:
- Max speed: 137mph
- 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
- Combined mpg: 31.3-36.2
- Engine layout: 1999cc, four-cylinder turbo petrol
- Max. power (PS): 250
- CO2: 165g/km
- Price: £43,235