With fuel prices on the rise and financial hardship looming downsizing is the new black and the compact luxury S.U.V. is becoming the car of choice
What is it?
The Volvo XC60 was one of a host of compact luxury SUVs that emerged on the market over the last couple of years. Essentially they are a cross between an SUV and traditional estate car.
Who is it aimed at?
Anyone who has ever hankered after the bigger Volvo XC90 will love the look and design of the XC60. The reassurance of extra ground clearance giving it that go-anywhere quality and a higher seating position gives the XC60 a wide appeal.
The previous model was a handsome vehicle with an aggressive front and a modern Interior so it’s good to see that little changes have been made to the exterior styling of Volvo’s XC60 crossover. It has great road presence and there is a distinct Swedish coolness about the overall styling.
Under the Bonnet
Our test car was powered by a D3 diesel engine that outputs 163bhp (120kW) . In addition there is all the assurance of the all-wheel drive system. The manual gear box is slick and light and on the road the XC60 is good to drive with lots of extra power on tap .The sprint to 100kph takes 10.5 seconds and top speed is 190kph.There is also a D5 diesel that outputs 205bhp (151kW).
Inside the interior design is clean and the ergonomics are excellent. The seats are incredibly comfortable and the interior conveys a sense of luxurious well-being, never has such safety been delivered with such style. Quality materials are used throughout the modern interior and the beige and dark brown upholstery and trim finish off the look beautifully. Inside, there is more than enough room for five adults to ride in comfort. Load capacity is 495 litres with five aboard, rising to 1,455 litres with the seats down.
Our test car was the Volvo XC60 Ocean Race Edition which pays homage to the Volvo Ocean race and comes equipped with sail embroidered motifs and logos.
On the Road
The main attraction of the compact SUV is that they are far more carlike to drive than 4x4s but you still get the benefit of extra ground clearance and the higher seating position. But despite the compact proportions of the XC60 on the road it feels on the large side. The ride is not as good as it should be and while it deals with uneven and jagged road surfaces well it does so at the cost of comfort. It is also not particularly sporty to drive and the diesel engine is noisy. However, it is still a likeable car and one you will enjoy driving.
As expected of a Volvo there is no compromise regarding safety and the XC60 is equipped with Emergency Brake Assist, Roll Stability Control, and Side Impact Protection System are provided. Electronically controlled ABS braking system with EBD and traction control ensures whatever the surface the car stays put.
Fuel and Running Costs
The D3 AWD returns 6.8 litres per 100 km on a combined cycle. High CO2 emissions of 179 g/km means road tax is €677 annually. Interestingly the D5 with more than 40bhp more returns the same economy yet manages to dash from 0-100 two seconds quicker and has a top speed of 210kph. Upgrading to the bigger diesel though costs an extra five thousand so a mere €2,500 per second!
The Volvo XC60 is a likeable car and it makes an ideal alternative to a traditional estate and will appeal to safety-conscious drivers. But it is now under growing pressure from luxury SUV rivals such as the Audi Q3, Range Rover’s Evoque and BMW’s X1. It does everything well but the rivals do it all slightly better so it’s becoming difficult to justify the premium price tag. Unfortunately the XC60 is beginning to feels its age.
Why you’ll buy one?
Awash with safety features, spacious cabin, practical
Why you won’t?
Pricey, beginning to feel dated
LAST WORD: The XC60 is an impressive family car with lots to offer and is crammed with safety features but rivals have moved on and it is just not as good value as it was.
2012 Volvo XC60 facts
Engine: 2.4 common rail diesel putting out 120kW (163bhp) at 4,000rpm and 420Nm of torque at 1,500 – 2,500rpm
Max speed: 190 km/h
0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds
Emissions (motor tax): 171g/km (€677)
Starting price: 43,707 EURO (Test car priced at 47,757 EURO)
Model price range: €43,707 – 55,396
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: Five Stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Boot Capacity: Seats up (seats down): 495 (1455)
Length: 4627 (mm)
Width: 1891 (mm)
Height: 1713 (mm)
Wheelbase: 2774 (mm)
Service interval: 28,000km
Warranty: 3 years