Volvo XC60 D4

R-Design AWD

Volvo XC60, front
Volvo XC60, front
Volvo XC60, front
Volvo XC60, front
Volvo XC60, side
Volvo XC60, rear
Volvo XC60, rear
Volvo XC60, interior
Volvo XC60, boot

VOLVO'S SUVs are asserting themselves as worthy successors to those classic boxy and dependable family estates beloved by many throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties.

While there were saloon versions of the classic 145 and 245 models and others, the estates essentially defined the brand and SUVs like the XC90 and the XC60 are doing the same for Volvo in the modern age.

No doubt the recently launched XC40 will follow suit in due course, if first impressions are anything to go by.

With everyone getting in on the act now as regards SUVs, Volvo spotted the trend fairly early on and got pretty much everything right with its original XC90.

Arguably the smaller XC60 which followed was even better - it certainly managed to combine good looks, practicality and driveability into a single package and won plenty of awards in the process.

The original XC60 was to my mind one of those ‘if it ain't broke don't fix it' cars and wisely Volvo's designers have not strayed too far from its original blueprint.

It's still one of the best looking SUVs out there, characterised by classic but simple lines with curves in all the right places.

Interestingly although the XC60 is significantly smaller than the XC90 it shares the same platform.

The key differences are it's shorter and has five seats rather than seven.

Volvo's cocooned cockpit-style cabin certainly feels different to other cars, more so for the driver and front seat passenger. You really feel as if the console is designed around you rather than in front of you.

The dominating feature is the large nine-inch touchscreen which is rather like an integrated iPad.

Volvo like to be different and it is positioned in a portrait rather than a landscape position, which in many ways makes more sense.

The only criticism might be it doesn't seem quite so intuitive when it comes to following the satnav, which is standard on all models.

But visually it is easy to read and it's remarkably intuitive too and easy to use both at a standstill and when on the move.

All XC60 buyers also get a DAB radio, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker stereo.

Not surprisingly there are lots of the kind of safety features one would expect in a Volvo, though perhaps the marque doesn't have the edge it might once have had in this regard.

On the technology front making its debut is a feature called Steer Assist, which sees additional steering impact kick-in in an emergency to avoid an accident.

You also get autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection and front collision warning.

Volvo offers a relatively simple choice of engines these days, after committing to making nothing larger than a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit some time back.

Buyers have four options - 190bhp D4 and 235bhp D5 2.0-litre diesels, a 250bhp T5 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and a T8 plug-in hybrid, which combines a 299bhp version of the 2.0-litre petrol with an 86bhp electric motor.

The 190bhp D4 diesel in this car felt capable and smooth, with plenty of power available for most motoring needs.

While the XC60 is no hot hatch when it comes to handling it manages to be car-like enough and R-Design models have firmer suspension, which does make a difference.

That said there's no escaping the fact the XC60 is still a fairly large vehicle, so there is some noticeable pitch and roll, particularly if and when you drive it hard.

The ride is noticeably comfortable overall, even on standard suspension, though the air suspension on this car ensures a super-smooth ride and has the added attraction of different modes (Dynamic and Comfort) which really change the feel of the car and how it performs.

The XC60 feels good around town and not overtly big and bulky while cruising on the motorway it has a plush executive kind of feel.

As with any SUV you're sitting fairly high with a commanding view of the road.

If you're not overly comfortable with the idea of parking it, or are attracted to self-parking gizmos, then the Park Pilot Assist feature, which comes as part of a £3,000 Xenium pack (which also includes a panoramic tilting sunroof and surround view parking camera, will do automatic parallel and 90 degree parking for you.

Standard kit across the range is fairly generous but with a starting price for the range of £35,655, the XC60 is very much up there in premium territory.

To be fair though, whereas Volvos sometimes sat precariously between mainstream and premium offerings the XC60 is premium in quality and not just price.

All models feature 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 a kicking gesture under the boot that iPad-style screen and plenty more besides.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design AWD

Price: £35,655

Mechanical: 190bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 137g/km

Bik rating:33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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