Road Test: Volvo XC60 D4 AWD Momentum Pro
Volvo’s best-selling nameplate has become a real threat to the German brands, says Alex Grant.
SECTOR Large SUV PRICE £39,500 FUEL 50.4mpg CO2 148g/km
Although the V40 has given Volvo a much-needed boost in the premium hatch segment, large cars are still a core offer. The first XC60, launched almost a decade ago, grew its global sales every year and – even on run-out and change-over to the new one – was Volvo’s best-seller, both globally and in the UK, where it accounted for a third of its 46,000 sales in 2017.
So, in theory, the new one can’t go too far wrong. Not only because it’s trading on what’s now well-known nameplate, but because it’s doing so wearing the same styling as its chic new S90, V90 and XC90 models, and underpinned by the same platforms, engines and technology. This is a seismic shift for a familiar product.
Volvo is well known for its capacious estates, and there’s a lot of that in its SUVs, too. So, while the XC60 looks smart with its new-generation Volvo design – even on its smallest, 18-inch, wheels – it’s also highly functional. The cabin is generously proportioned, with a sizeable boot extended over flat-folding rear seats, and accessed via an electrically operated tailgate, while there’s plenty of head and legroom for all occupants. But it’s also a masterpiece of upmarket materials and tactile switchgear, with accents of aluminium and subtle design cues that avoid any sense of it trying to feel German.
Momentum is the entry point for the range, but it’s not short of useful luxuries for regular long-distance drivers, or for pile-it-high family use. The seats are incredibly comfortable and leather-trimmed, the lighting is all-LED, and Pilot Assist is standard too, with active lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control. The £1,800 Pro upgrade, aimed at fleets, adds a heated wheel, screen and ‘bending’ headlights, as well as the useful Volvo On Call smartphone app, with remote control of vehicle settings and downloadable trip reports.
Curiously, it’s missing what would seem to be obvious add-ons. Front parking sensors are optional, and Volvo’s portrait-oriented infotainment lacks Android Auto or Apple CarPlay connectivity as standard – it’s a £300 option. You’d want for little else, though.
The driving experience is much like the 90-Series cars, aimed more at comfort than pin-sharp cornering and driver involvement. So the XC60 feels solid, stable and laid back, the 190bhp 2.0-litre D4 diesel delivering strong pulling power without hunting through the eight gears of its automatic gearbox to get there. It’s a blissfully luxurious way to travel, uncompromised by any pretence of sportiness, but also not heavy or wallowy once it leaves the motorway network. Just as a Volvo should be.
As is becoming the norm in this segment, there’s no two-wheel drive option available. Six-speed manual versions are marginally more efficient on paper, but the eight-speed automatic’s long gearing is likely to offer real-world benefits that the manual can’t match. Fuel economy of around 45mpg is easily achievable over long journeys, helped by the ability to coast at idle speeds on the motorway.
This is a corner of the market with plenty of choice, and – like the 90-Series cars – the XC60 has stepped up the premium-brand benchmarks in its latest generation. The XC40 might well take the top spot as Volvo’s best seller, but with a strong legacy and a new-found sense of style, this familiar nameplate can do little wrong.
What We Think:
The XC60 has matured into a genuine threat to the German premium brands, and one that looks and feels upmarket even in modest trim levels.