Long-term test review: Volvo XC60

Second update: the Volvo XC60 SUV’s ride quality is a breath of fresh airVerdict4.5Soft suspension in our Volvo XC60 is like sitting on air, even when driving on rutted roads, and the comfortable seats enhance the superb ride quality. It’s a shame the DAB radio is playing up, but we’re still able to enjoy the Volvo’s strong engine and practical interior without any problems.

Mileage: 4,914
Economy: 38.6mpg

I’ve been piling on the miles recently in our Volvo XC60, which means my attention has been drawn to one of the SUV’s most impressive aspects: the ride quality.

Our car is fitted with the £1,500 Active Four-C Chassis option that adds adaptive air suspension, and it really does feel like I’m driving along on a cushion of Swedish air.

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The Scandinavians didn’t fare too well against England in the World Cup, but there’s no doubt that Volvo’s clever suspension technology has English roads truly sussed.

Even the most rutted and potholed roads in my corner of the country, Essex, are no problem for the XC60 when its chassis is set to the softest mode, and after many miles of motorway travel I still hop out of the car feeling as fresh as when I got in.

The Volvo is also a massive help for me as a photographer, because once I arrive at our shoot location, I’m able to ride in the XC60 and get stable and sharp tracking shots easily; I’m never flung around by poor road surfaces.

It’s not all about the suspension, though, because the front seats are also among the most comfortable I’ve had in any of our fleet cars over the years. They’re padded enough to provide comfort, but they’re still supportive as well.

Sadly it’s not all good news from the XC60; I’m having some trouble with the infotainment system. When it’s set to DAB, any time the signal is lost it resets to Capital UK, which isn’t my preferred station. This means I’m having to stick with old-fashioned FM radio instead, so I’m limited on which stations I can to. It’s not the end of the world, but is still irritating nonetheless.

First update: Volvo XC60

Our Volvo XC60 SUV long termer is proving why it’s an award winning car

Mileage: 1,634
Economy: 29.0mpg

On top of the world; that’s the Volvo XC60. Earlier this year it was crowned World Car of the Year, a heavyweight title to match its heavyweight ability.

But why is it proving such a knockout? If our time with the car is anything to go by, a lot of its success can be attributed to the design. We’ve lost count of the admiring comments that have come our way while using the car.

Yes, Volvo’s styling cues are now well established since the launch of the XC90 four years ago, but this evolution of the clean Scandinavian look remains a breath of fresh air compared with bland or fussy rivals.

It’s the simplicity that really appeals; the Thor’s Hammer light signature, for example, is a straightforward piece of design that really works, despite its increasing familiarity.

The R-Design trim of our model adds a modest dash of sporty flair without veering into tastelessness, with 19-inch diamond-cut alloys and black gloss dual integrated tailpipes subtle but classy add-ons.

Inside, the ‘less is more’ theme continues, with a beautifully crafted dashboard that’s dominated by the portrait-style eight-inch touchscreen. All the information it displays is presented in a perfectly logical fashion.

Of course, all this would mean very little if the XC60 fell short in other areas, but it feels well built and is very comfortable. We’ve also found a solution to the sat-nav niggle we mentioned in our last report. Reader Paul Taylor pointed out that had we used a different menu, highlighted by a magnifying glass, to search for a landmark, the car would’ve recognised it. Thanks Paul.

First report: Volvo XC60

Classy Volvo XC60 SUV makes a great early impression as it joins our long-term fleet 

Mileage: 1,141
Economy: 40.1mpg

There can’t be a more fashionable type of car currently than a premium SUV. And we’ve just taken delivery of one of the very best in the shape of the Volvo XC60, which held off the likes of the Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLC to be crowned class champion at our New Car Awards last summer.

I headed over to Volvo West London in Chiswick, where sales executive Perry Lodge was delighted to hand over the keys. If first impressions count, the XC60 is off to a great start, because it looks absolutely fantastic in premium metallic Crystal White paint (£950).

While Volvo has succeeded in giving the car a simplistic, classy look, the name of the model we’ve gone for is anything but understated. So say hello to the – sharp intake of breath – D5 PowerPulse AWD R-Design Automatic.

The D5 sits above the entry-level 188bhp D4 model, and with 232bhp transmitted to all four wheels via an eight-speed auto, it promises to deliver 0-60mph in a punchy 6.8 seconds.

We’ve yet to stretch the XC60’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, but it’s clear that it has more than enough muscle for our needs, and is impressively refined, too. The PowerPulse label refers to under-bonnet tech that improves performance by reducing turbo lag.

Although our model is bedecked in the raciest trim, R-Design, don’t be fooled into thinking that the drive is overtly sporty. The focus is more on comfort, with the £1,500 adaptive dampers and electric air suspension taking the edge off any bumps that might catch out the special R-Design diamond-cut matt-black 19-inch alloys.

Inside, there’s the same sense of cutting-edge style. The dashboard is dominated by the nine-inch portrait-style touchscreen that has become a feature of all Volvos since the debut of the XC90 three years ago. All the car’s key functions are controlled via the display, and although on first use the set-up can appear quite daunting, it’s actually fairly straightforward to follow after a couple of outings. There are a lot of menus and sub-menus, but once you work out where everything is, operating them is absolutely logical.

And an example of the attention to detail that has gone into the XC60 is that there is even a branded cloth supplied to wipe away the inevitable grubby fingermarks that amass on the screen after regular heavy usage.

The touchscreen also displays the Sensus navigation with traffic info and lifetime map updates that come as standard on every XC60. But if I’m completely honest, it’s not my favourite sat-nav set-up.

The mapping could be clearer, although I like the fact the standard 12.3-inch active TFT driver’s information display also shows the routing. Yet the navigation got off to a less than auspicious start when it failed to recognise the very first postcode I tapped into it. I reached my destination of Woburn Abbey without any problems, but is it too demanding to expect better of a £50,000-plus car?

The £51,930 total as tested includes a number of options designed to make life with the SUV even more enjoyable.

First up is the £525 Winter Pack, which hopefully we won’t have to make too much use of as summer approaches. This comprises a heated front windscreen and washer nozzles, plus headlight cleaners. Yet the headline act  is a truly lovely heated steering wheel.

There’s also Volvo’s impressive Intellisafe Pro safety kit (£1,500), which includes adaptive cruise control, a blind spot information system, cross traffic alert and rear collision mitigation.

All in all, then, the XC60 is shaping up to be a wonderful addition to our fleet. Will it deliver? We’re looking forward to finding out.

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

Key specs

  • Model: Volvo XC60 D5 PowerPulse AWD R-Design Automatic
  • On fleet since: March 2018
  • Price new: £45,135
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl diesel, 232bhp
  • CO2/tax: 152g/km/£450
  • Options: Metallic paint (£950), Winter Pack (£525), Intellisafe Pro Pack (£1,500), smartphone integration (£300), panoramic sunroof (£1,200), Active Four-C chassis (£1,500), climate control (£550), Volvo On Call (£550), power driver seat (£600), power passenger se
  • Insurance*: Group: 35/Quote: £736
  • Mileage/mpg: 4,914/38.6mpg

For an alternative review of the latest Volvo XC60 SUV visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

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