Volvo XC60 D5

PowerPulse R-Design

Volvo XC60, 2017, side, action
Volvo XC60, 2017, front
Volvo XC60, 2017, side
Volvo XC60, 2017, rear
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC60 R-Design, 2017, front
Volvo XC60 R-Design, 2017, rear
Volvo XC60, 2017, interior
Volvo XC60, front action 2

EVERY small boy compelled to study Latin at school will know - and I speak feelingly - that ‘Volvo' means ‘I roll'.

It was the name aptly coined by the two founders of the Swedish car firm back in 1911 when they made ball bearings.

Well, Volvo is certainly on a ‘roll' these days under the stewardship of Chinese giant Geely Holdings.

The big XC90 launched a couple of years ago put its mark on the prestige SUV sector and now its junior stablemate, the XC60 is making great headway in the fiercely competitive mid-size sector alongside Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC.

As always, there's a wide range of engine options taking in petrol, diesel and hybrid. But the pick of the bunch - in my view - is the D5 PowerPulse with sporty R-Design pack.

With 235bhp to call on from the 1,969cc diesel engine, together with all wheel drive, it provides an appealing blend of punchy performance with impressive 50mpg economy. Far more composed on windy roads than the previous XC60 and more manoeuvrable than the larger XC90, it is capable of competing on even terms with spirited SUVs like the X3.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox makes easy work of heavy traffic and is sufficiently engaging and intuitive to satisfy keen drivers on cross-country runs.

Happily Volvo goes its own way in cabin design, eschewing the heavy duty dark plastic mouldings favoured by German makes in favour of something lighter and more ‘lounge-like'. The approach works well and creates a comfortable but durable environment.

A nine-inch, iPad-style touch screen which works in tandem with a voice-activated control system forms the hub of the XC's control centre and is positioned in the middle of the fascia. It's functional and tactile but needs a precise touch, which isn't always easy when travelling over uneven ground.

There's ample space for five on board with decent leg and headroom. Luggage space at 505 litres isn't as generous as most rivals but this can be expanded to 1,432 litres when the rear seats are folded down.

A power-operated tailgate is standard and if your hands are full you can open the tailgate by putting a foot under the rear bumper.

Seats are perfectly contoured to keep you comfortably in place and the smallish leather covered steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach so the ideal driving position is found.

You don't generally buy a high-rider with the expectation of athletic handling and sporting road behaviour, but the XC60 comes close to matching best of breed in the road-holding stakes.

Communicative steering and well-damped suspension inhibit roll angles and allow it to be hustled through curves at speed.

With an emissions figure of just 144g/km, most owners will be able to match my average of around the 44mpg mark. The official combined average is 51.4mpg.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC60 D5 PowerPulse R-Design

Price: £43,205

Mechanical:235bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four-wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 144mph

0-62mph: 7.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: 35

C02 emissions: 144g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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