Middle England

favourite is top

class

Volvo XC60, side, action, cornering
Volvo XC60, front, action
Volvo XC60, side, static
Volvo XC60, side, action
Volvo XC60, rear seats
Volvo XC60, interior
Volvo XC60, rear, action
Volvo XC60, side
Volvo XC60, boot

VOLVO'S XC60 has been Europe's best selling mid-sized premium SUV.

Hardly a difficult one to get your head around given that it represents the thinking purchase for people who care about comfort and safety rather than out and out image.

The other attraction is that it also represents a styling masterpiece, something the new XC60 takes even further.

The headline story is that this is the first 60-series built on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture which is a modular system allowing components to be adapted across a range of different sized models. Expect to see it applied to a smaller XC40 later this year.

Inside the XC60 now reflects the high-end style and finish of the latest 90-series with premium natural materials and obvious craftsmanship.

It also incorporates the Sensus entertainment and control system which essentially keeps the driver totally connected and able to set up the car to individual needs.

What lies beneath in terms of propulsion is the Volvo Drive-E units with D4 and D5 diesels, a T5 petrol and the T8 twin-engine plug in hybrid. The power range is from 190 to 407bhp and hybrid emissions are 49g/km.

This is the first Volvo with Steer Assist with technology which takes over the steering if the car is headed into danger.

All models are AWD and have automatic gearboxes.

Prices start at £32,205 for the Momentum rising to £57,895 for the twin-engine hybrid. T8. Yes, they have risen compared to the outgoing model but the car has been moved further up market without a doubt.

I took the opportunity to drive two of the new 60s around the wilds of Cheshire where the XC should sell well, 235bhp D4 Momentum but in Pro guise which hikes the price up to £39,000, and the D5 PowerPulse R-Design which comes in at £42,202 but when you have fitted the options such a car demands is going to be in the region of £56,000.

Both are good performers unless you have a hankering for out and out brutality; the Momentum Pro hits 62mph in 7.9 seconds and the tinkered-with Pulse shaves a second off that. Fuel consumption averages are claimed across the diesel range at around 50mpg, the petrol T5 dropping away below 40mpg and the hybrid T8 hoping for over 130mpg.

More important is the motorway responsiveness and the utter refinement via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

As is usual with Volvo there are sensible add-on packs to be had from parking assist which includes an all -round camera, parallel and 90 degree parking.

This last feature is surreal, putting you above the car to view a space. But then it's well-used on other models.

Similarly we all know about the Intellisafe Pro pack with Pilot Assist which all but eradicates the likelihood of collision, front or back always assuming you did actually get up that morning.

Now as if that is not enough every car in the XC60 range gets a brilliant touchscreen, navigation system, voice control, app connection ability, City Safe which detects wandering minstrels, large animals and cyclists and there is a system which takes over your steering should you wander out of lane. Autonomy is not here yet but it is on its way.

Setting up the car to do what you wish of it could not be more simple via the touch screen menu.

As should be expected in an up-market package there is leather trim and an automatic tailgate.

And a space under the rear seat squabs provides a useful hiding place for valuables like an iPad.

Much as I have enjoyed a love affair in the privacy of my own financial delusion with the XC90 it must be said that unless you must have seven seats the new 60 is big enough and technologically advanced enough to make the larger model a questionable need.

Dare I say it but the SUV doyen of the middle-England school run just went to the top of the class.

LATEST Volvo NEWS

WITH the practicality of an estate car, the robustness of an SUV and all the...

Read more View article

THERE appears to be no letting up on the new model Volvo conveyor belt now that...

Read more View article

VOLVO'S new XC60 mid-sized premium SUV is a very well-connected car.In keeping...

Read more View article

LATEST NEWS

Google+