New Volvo XC60 is quite

brilliant

THE new Volvo XC60 is so good it will steal plenty of sales from other SUVs like the BMW X3, Audi's Q5 and the Land Rover Discovery.

The previous model, which had been on the market since 2008, was Volvo's best seller - and the top selling vehicle in its class for the whole of Europe.

I recently drove the most reasonable new model available - the XC60 Momentum diesel - and sent it back to Volvo with great regret.

It is hugely refined, family and driver friendly, and packed with the latest safety and communications technology.

But it goes right to the top of the class when it comes to comfort, and that over all surfaces. This will make it a huge number of friends in this country and around the world.

The D4 I drove gets a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine with 190bhp on tap, and permanent four wheel drive (4WD) like all the models in the range.

Before I got behind the wheel, I thought performance might be lacking with ‘just' 190bhp in a big, heavy car, but I was completely wrong.

The 4WD helps get all the power down onto the tarmac through the eight speed automatic gearbox, and there is plenty of acceleration.

The engine is very smooth and quiet, with just an occasional gentle thrum revealing that it's a diesel, and there is plenty of urge both on kickdown and from rest.

The automatic ‘box can sometimes seem to hunt between gears, but I found that if you lift the foot off the accelerator a little, or push it a little further down, it will choose a gear without a problem.

There are also Manual and Dynamic settings for those who would rather have even better performance, and Dynamic improves both engine response and gear change points. However, unusually for me, the standard Drive setting was all I needed.

Considering the size of this machine, the economy is brilliant and emissions very good indeed. In general driving, expect around a real 40mpg, which has to be very special.

As well as the superb ride, where it wafts you along with the aplomb of a luxury limo, the excellent suspension allows decently fast cornering, but there is a fair amount of roll.

That said, huge tyres and all-wheel drive traction, combined with stability and traction control, meant that it never gave me a moment's hesitation when pushed unmercifully through some of my favourite corners.

As is usual with Volvo, there is a huge emphasis on safety, and this includes an autonomous emergency braking system that detects pedestrians, cyclists and large animals when they're not spotted by the driver.

The interior is modern, user friendly and high quality and the vertical nine-inch Sensus touch screen has to be one of the easiest to use on the market.

The whole inside is warm and inviting, with a Scandinavian feel of laid back quality.

In Momentum spec, equipment includes full leather upholstery, two zone climate control, powered tailgate and parking sensors

It also has heated front seats, sat nav, audio remote for the DAB stereo, cruise, alarm, loads of front seat adjustment and split folding rear seats.

FAST FACTS

Price: £37,200

Mechanical:187bhp, 1,969cc, 4 cylinder diesel engine driving all four wheels via an 8 speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph:8.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 51

Insurance Group:31

C02 emissions: 144g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3 yrs/60,000 miles

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