By Patrick James on 2018-01-14 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Volvo XC60 D4
IF you have driven the excellent Volvo XC90 then you might expect the smaller and cheaper sibling to be, well, like after the Lord Mayor's show.
My guess is you would be wrong. The XC60, revamped this year is smaller, but no lesser in quality and appeal.
Like its bigger stablemate, it is a luxury 4x4 SUV that has just about everything including excellent engines, off-road capability and stunning looks and state of the art technology, including for the first time on a Volvo, Steer Assist, which automatically provides additional steering input in an emergency to help avoid a potential collision.
The new car also gives the same nod to Nordic mythology with the signature ‘Thor's hammer' light design, theLEDs built into the front light clusters in the shape of the Norse god's hammer.
Cheaper, but not cheap, the model range starts at just under £37,000, but is lavishly equipped and has a real road presence.
There are a number of power units and the two litre diesel tested here, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox has pace to burn, while proving economical and relatively clean.
The 190bhp unit powers the vehicle to 60mph in under eight seconds, while delivering official economy of around 55mpg.
It's a Volvo, but nothing like the big but safe barges of old.
It does look good, Volvo says itcombines grace with power, featuring long bonnet, muscular wheel arches and short overhangs with stylish light clusters to front and rear and a choice of striking alloy wheels.
The interior is a thing of beauty, with leather upholstery, soft touch trim to doors and dashboard and neat chrome touches putting it right up there in the executive sector.
The dash is dominated by a nine-inch tablet style touchscreen which controls major functions like the Sensus sat nav (which has full European mapping with traffic information and map updates, infotainment), climate and phone connectivity as well as a number of apps and web browser capability.
All the dials and controls are beautifully laid out.
Standard kit on all models include leather-faced upholstery, heated front seats,60/40 split-folding rear seats, dual-zone climate control, power-operated tailgate, which can also be operated by kicking under the boot to activate a sensor and eight-inch active TFT driver's information display, plus a whole lot more.
It gets better, with classy touches like the starter knob, which is twisted rather than pressed and a knurled silver knob which allows you to select one of three drive modes of economy, standard or dynamic, depending on road conditions and what mood you are in.
Well equipped it may be, but like many of its competitors you can spends thousands on add toys and goodies.
The drive is superb and the car handles beautifully. Even at high speed, engine and road noise is muted, with just a hint of wind noise on the large, folding door mirrors.
Excellent torque means motorway driving is a comfortable affair, the key acceleration range of 50-70mph achieved with ease.
Handling for such a big car is excellent, while the ride is comfortable but firm.
Boot space is decent and the 60/40 split folding rear seats open up a cavernous space for larger loads.
Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design AWD
Mechanical: 190bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 55.6
Insurance Group: 29
C02 emissions: 133g/km
Bik rating: 31%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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