site search by freefind
MotorBar: 1200+ unique in-depth car reviews. Plus travel & destinations, and 1000 DVD and CD reviews. Online for 14 years. Written by experts.
Volvo XC60 D4 SE Lux Nav

Click to view picture gallery“The mid-sized XC60, available
  in both two- and all-wheel drive, is
  one of Volvo
s most popular models.
  With premium quality, comfortable
  seating for five, versatile cargo space
  and prices kicking off from just over
  £30K, it
s got a lot in its favour...”


A HANDSOME LOOKING BEASTIE, £35K is what you'll need to acquire one of the higher-specced, SE Lux Nav XC60 models we've been driving this past week — hold that figure for a second because our press car came fitted with a selection of appealing options that edged up the drive-away price to £41K.

For this kind of money you're in Audi, BMW and Land Rover territory but even so the family-sized XC60 represents a serious entry on your shortlist — particularly if its brilliant bigger sibling, the XC90, is out of your price range.

Judging by the number of XC60 Volvos we see all over the place when we're out road-testing, the price is secondary to the badge in the appeal stakes. For many buyers it's the SUV 'look' that appeals and for them the two-wheel drive versions are fine and help keep the purchase price down and economy up.

Inside you can relax
in a classy interior that’s
both spacious and
notably comfortable —
just as important whether
you’re picking up
the kids from school,
doing a 50-mile commute
to work
or undertaking a 400-mile
round trip for business
or pleasure...”
However, if you're after the full spread of SUV abilities then all-wheel drive is available to enhance the XC60's multi-role character although even without it it's fine for everything from the school run to towing and weekend adventuring.

One of the XC60's strongest cards is its ability, particularly in four-wheel drive spec, to compensate for the UK's deteriorating roads and cope with the increasingly erratic British weather — not just the expected ice, slush and snow in Winter but flash floods and slippery country lanes during the Summer.

Inside you can relax in a classy interior that's both spacious and notably comfortable — just as important whether you're picking up the kids from school, doing a 50-mile commute to work or undertaking a 400-mile round trip for business or pleasure. Whatever it is being used for, the XC60 driver enjoys a high-set seating position that ensures superior visibility as well as more interesting views to keep passengers occupied — well, at least those not glued to their smartphones.

The saying is that there's no substitute for cubic centimetres under the bonnet… or, perhaps more usefully, litres in the boot. And the XC60 isn't wanting when it comes to swallowing cases — when not engaged in carrying its full complement of five adults the versatile 40:20:40-split rear seats of the second row can be folded down to increase the normal 495-litre luggage space to a totally flat cargo bay of 1,455 litres (and there's no awkward lip to load over, either). That's some seriously useful real estate and big enough for white goods, a posse of dogs or even a mountain bike.

However, if you really do need those three rear seats then you can always tow a trailer of up to 2,000kg braked. Another well-considered feature is the rigid divider that folds up from the floor to segregate the boot widthways — especially handy for keeping smaller items of cargo or luggage in place.

The interior is more than wide enough to accommodate a pair of extremely accommodating front seats (heated, naturally) with a very sociable air-gap between them; so no banged elbows and room for your passenger to make good use of the central armrest.

Upholstery is, naturally, leather (smart parchment-coloured in our test car) which is fitting given the overall high-end ambiance permeating the cabin — and it stands equal comparison with what you'd find in an Audi or BMW.

The saying is that
there’s no substitute
for cubic centimetres
under the bonnet...
or litres in the boot.
The XC60 isn’t wanting
when it comes to
swallowing cases thanks
to up to 1,455 litres
of load space...”
The classic Volvo 'floating' centre console arrangement is home to a master panel housing the switchgear and controls including those for the 2-zone climate control, SatNav and HiFi; all within easy reach and clearly visible thanks to the centre stack being angled towards the driver.

You'll find a straightforward electronic parking brake positioned on the fascia, to the right of the steering wheel and close to the Start/Stop engine push-button. The steering wheel with remote control buttons is a thick-rimmed, good-to-grip item.

Overall it's a cabin that makes you feel immediately at home and at ease. Of course, it helps that you'll be sitting in some of the best seats in the business, designed to keep you comfortable however long the journey. Given its sporty, thrusting-nose stance you'll probably be surprised at the amount of headroom on offer.

You'll also enjoy the raised driving position so coveted by SUV drivers — getting it just right takes but seconds, helped by the powered driver's seat adjustment and plenty of steering wheel adjustability, and which, combined with slim A-pillars, makes the XC60 a doddle to place on the road. Reversing sensors are welcome for parking although all-round visibility is good enough to manage without them.

The SE Lux Nav model's kit-list provides a comprehensive stock of must-have features, including leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a respectable entertainment system (that also incorporates SatNav, DAB radio and a Bluetooth hands-free phone connection with music streaming features), a comprehensively multifunction leather-rimmed wheel, a reconfigurable three-mode digital instrument display, rearview camera, power windows and door mirrors, on-board computer, cruise control, auto lights and wipes, heated door mirrors, rear parking sensors, etc.

Your physical safety is well-covered by a five-star Euro NCAP rating, six airbags and Volvo's City Safety system is fitted to prevent you ever running into the car ahead of you. The Volvo brand is a recognised leader in car safety and 'safety' is a defining strong point that ticks all the boxes although if you want the full spectrum of high-tech driving aids you should check the box for the optional (£1,900) Driver Support Pack.

Many XC60 buyers will
have family-use
on their agenda.
There’s ample room in
the rear cabin to make
it a practical family car
even if your kids
have grown up but are
still living at home —
quite likely, apparently,
if they’re not
yet forty!”
For that you get a heap of useful safety kit: Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert, Queue Assist (only on Automatic versions), Lane Departure Warning, Driver Alert Control with Active High Beam, Road Sign Information Display, and Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert.

Other 'packs' include the Security Pack (£700) which adds Keyless Drive (includes Keyless Entry and Keyless Start), Personal Car Communicator, laminated windows, and water-repellent front side windows.

At a 'can't argue with that' £675, the Winter Illumination pack provides heated front seats, heated windscreen, active bending Xenon headlights with a headlight cleaning system and heated washer nozzles, autofold power door mirrors with ground lights, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors and rear theatre lights, front door pocket, side step and front cupholder illumination.

Other popular options include a rearview camera (£375), dark tinted windows to the side back doors and cargo area (£350), and a panoramic roof with a laminated glass tilt-and-slide powered sunroof (£1,200).

Many XC60 buyers will have family-use on their minds — and there's more than enough room in the rear cabin to make it a practical family car even if the kids have fledged but not left the nest and are still living at home (quite likely, apparently, if they're under forty!). Even for grown-ups there's plenty of headroom and decent leg-room — much more of it than in some of the XC60's closest rivals. Getting in and out is no chore either — the XC60 is pretty tall and the door frames ensure no head-banging, even for six-footers.

Once on the move, rear seat passengers will enjoy uncluttered views out and even a fifth travelling in the centre rear seat can see forward clearly. And because the rear seats are set high off the floor, shorter younger passengers will also be able to see out. Talking of youngsters — if they're regular back-seat riders, Volvo's built-in child booster seats are a worthwhile option.

For a tallish crossover the XC60 delivers a civilised ride, one that's forgiving enough to keep the family happy even on fast moving routes along secondary roads and country lanes. And because wind and road noise are well suppressed, it's also a pretty quiet place to be.

For all its
‘high-riding’ looks,
the XC60 feels
sure-footed
and is unexpectedly
well behaved
dynamically, with good
body control
and more than enough
grip...”
With its noticeably high rear haunches (topped by Volvo's trademark snaking hi-rise and hi-vis taillights), rising waistline and wide stance, there's a distinct hint of a big predator tensed-up, waiting to pounce; most noticeable when seen from the front. Yet for all its 'high-riding' look it feels sure-footed and is unexpectedly well behaved dynamically, with good body control and more than enough grip.

The feeling from behind the wheel is consistently one of reliable competence, both at fast speeds loping along on the motorway as well as when making tracks over rougher surfaces or for some one-on-one, family-free, press-on driving.

Two litres is the capacity of the turbodiesel under the XC60's shapely bonnet. This inline
four-cylinder unit is good for 187bhp and a muscular 295lb ft of torque that it puts under the control of your right foot from low down the rev-range. The result is an engine that keeps the power coming whenever you step on the pedal.

The six-speed 'stick shift' is a clean changer and between it and the torquey turbodiesel makes for fluent progress. On the right road (and where it's still legal), the D4 will run to 130mph so cruising at the UK's 70mph is a laid-back affair. More relevant to real-life is the 8.1 seconds it takes to get off the line and pass the benchmark 62mph.

The D4's 'official' combined fuel economy is 62.8mpg. At the end of our week-long review, the driver's information screen was showing an overall average of 47.9mpg — not at all bad for a spacious, family-friendly, well-appointed crossover/SUV in real-world driving conditions. And we'd expect all the John and Jane Does out there to better that.

Practical and desirable, Volvo's family-sized XC60 rides tall and fits its 'premium brand SUV' label perfectly. Its classy and versatile interior is cossetingly comfortable for all and, for the driver, its torquey engine is responsive and knows how to stretch a satisfying number of miles out of every gallon. ~ MotorBar

Volvo XC60 D4 SE Lux Nav | £32,385
Maximum speed: 130mph | 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds | Test Average: 47.9mpg
Power: 187bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 117g/km