Volvo XC60: the Goldilocks option

Riley Riley


What is it?

At the moment you can really only buy one of three Volvo models and they’re all SUVs.

The XC60 is the mid-sized model in the lineup. It’s not too big and not too small, making it in effect the Goldilocks option.

It’s a lot classier than we remember and was of course Wheels Car of the Year last year which has to count for something.

Maybe they should rename the award SUV of the Year, however, because it’s all everyone wants to buy these days — the sedan it seems has pretty much had its day.

Diesels and SUVs go hand in hand in our book, otherwise we’d be torn between this car and the smaller XC40, which isn’t by the way that small — but it’s no longer available with a diesel.


What’s it cost?

Prices for XC60 start at $64,990 for the petrol powered T5 Momentum.

The diesel kicks off at $61,990 for the D4 Momentum or you can step up to the more powerful D5 diesel model in R-Design trim which takes the bill to $75,990.

Or, if you feel like doing your bit to save the world from itself, there’s the hi-tech T8 R-Design petrol hybrid for $92,990.

Our test vehicle was the D5 with a few extras fitted taking the final figure to $87,340 plus on-road costs.

Those options include metallic paint at $1900 and a Panoramic Sunroof for $2950. Plus the $6500 Premium Pack which adds heated front seats, tinted rear glass, power folding rear headrests, power folding rear backrest, Bowers and Wilkins audio, and the Four-C Active Chassis with Air Suspension.

At the touch of a button, the latter means you can tailor the ride to your liking, either firmer and sportier, or softer and comfier — it’s your call.

Standard kit includes leather and 4-zone climate air, metal mesh decor inlays, auto lights and wipers, auto parking with front and rear sensors, active cruise control, LED lights with auto high beam, heads up display, power tailgate, satellite navigation and road sign camera updates.

Naturally, there’s also plenty of safety systems, including auto emergency braking (AEB).


What’s it go like?

It’s a good size and looks sportier than the previous model.

It’s finished to a much higher standard inside too, with some smart-looking metal garnishes.

The 2.0-litre twin turbo four cylinder diesel delivers a handy 177kW of power and 500Nm of torque, the latter from 1500-2500 revs.

Hooked up to an 8-speed auto, with paddle shifts, auto stop-start and drive to all wheels, it and can dispatch the dash from 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds.

Suspension is double wishbones at front and what Volvo describes as integral link at the rear and this one also gets the sports chassis, which means better handling.

In reality throttle response is a bit leisurely and there is too much body roll to really get into it.

If you want more performance, put it into dynamic drive mode and start using the gear change paddles for greater control — we’ve never been big fans of air suspension.

You also need to pay attention to the road because the car has a habit of wandering at the slightest movement of the steering wheel (good thing it comes with lane assist).

The brakes are strong and aggressive.

The drive modes include an off-road option, but we can’t really see the driver of this car going anywhere more challenging than the beach — not with 21-inch rims and low profile 40 series rubber waiting to be damaged.

A space saver spare is also a limiting factor.

The dash features two analogue style dials that flank a centre information screen where the map/navigation route can be projected.

Pride of place however is devoted to the huge tablet-style touchscreen which is vertically mounted and provides control of most features, swiping left right, up and down, to access more screens.

The 360 degree overhead camera is excellent and another camera records and reminds the driver of the current speed limit, even in temporary work zones, with warnings for speed cameras offered — although we couldn’t work how to enable audible warnings.

We couldn’t get the voice recognition to work either — it had no idea what we were saying despite repeated attempts to enter an address.

It’s worth mentioning the luggage area privacy screen too.

It pulls out and up to allow access to whatever is in the back, but forget to pull it down again and it blocks half your rear window — it happened a lot and necessitated pulling over.

After a wireless charge pad in the smaller XC40, we expected one in this model — but alas we were disappointed.

Fuel consumption from the 71-litre tank is a claimed 5.6L/100km.

We clocked up just over 600km at the rate of 7.3L/100km.


What we like?

  • Classier than we remember
  • Diesel fuel economy
  • Speed sign recognition
  • Camera warnings
  • Bower & Wilkins high end audio


What we don’t like?

  • Steeply raked roofline makes entry difficult
  • Wide opening front doors difficult to reach when fully open
  • Rear view easily blocked by privacy screen
  • Difficult to adjust satnav volume
  • Voice commands don’t work
  • No wireless phone charging
  • Can’t see heads up display with polarised sunglasses


The bottom line?

I told my doctor to have a look at a Volvo. He’s a bit tired of the non-touch touchscreen in his Benz and they way it depreciates so quickly.

“Doc. You wait ’til you see the touchscreen in this car,” I said. “It’s bigger than Ben-Hur and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the price. Don’t be alarmed that it costs so much less than a Benz. It doesn’t mean you’re getting less car for your money.”

“It’s safe too.”


CHECKOUT: Volvo XC40: what’s the big attraction?

CHECKOUT: Volvo puts the brakes on speed


Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design, priced from $75,990
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8.5/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 8/10

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