Volvo XC60 B5 AWD

Inscription Pro

Volvo XC60, side static
Volvo XC60, front static
Volvo XC60, front action
Volvo XC60, rear action
Volvo XC60, rear static
Volvo XC60, dash detail
Volvo XC60, dashboard
Volvo XC60, rear seats
Volvo XC60, speaker

POINTING the chunky XC60 down a narrow country lane and hoping not to meet anyone coming the other way, it surprises non car-savvy passengers to learn Volvo makes an even bigger one.

For the XC60 feels spacious enough to host a modest public meeting, with enough room in the boot to cater for the attendees' hunger and thirst too.

Happily, mounting miles at the wheel seem to shrink the car until it seems simply large in a (mostly) good way; generous with its space and comfort. You still take extra care on single track roads, though.

Smaller, in a surprisingly good way, is the car's thirst for diesel. Its engine is backed up by a modest electric motor which takes power from a battery charged when you brake (a mild hybrid, in other words) and the result was nearly 40mpg over a busy 600 mile week.

That counts as commendable in a car this big and one that pulls with real purpose when a swift overtake is needed, and in near silence, only grumbling a little as a town speed trundle uncovers its diesel origins.

But perhaps even more impressive, and rather harder to build into a car, is the sense that everything you see or touch is there to make your progress just a little more comfortable and keep you calm when all around are feeling flustered.

This feeling of serenity comes from a cabin that makes life simple for the driver, with big clear instruments and major controls precisely where you want them, and working with the sort of precision a research laboratory would be proud of.

The great big touchscreen does its best to maintain the mood, being a model of logical clarity even if (whisper it) some features like heating and ventilation still work better as knobs you grasp, not symbols you stab with a stretched finger.

There's more serenity on display in the very upmarket version of the XC60 you see here, with an interior finished not in the black that seems to come as standard these days but in soft perforated and ventilated nappa leather.

And very good it looks too, backed up by grey drift wood inlays, adding a crisp Sandi feel to dash and transmission tunnel.

If that makes the XC60 sound potentially expensive, you'd be right. The slices of cow and tree come as standard on this Inscription Pro level car, which also packs enough standard kit to keep most of us happy.

That includes automatic gears, air suspension, heated steering wheel (lovely on a chilly morning), fabulous bending headlights, fighter pilot-like head up display and a gear lever knob made of Swedish crystal, elegant, see-through and cold on a chilly morning.

But you can easily go further... with a crystal clear £2,500 Bowers and Wilkins sound system and a £2,000 Xenium pack with huge, powered glass sunroof, parking camera with all-round vision and auto parking.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC60 B5 AWD Inscription Pro

Price: £52,035

Mechanical: 232bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 7.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 46.3

Insurance Group: 00

C02 emissions: 147g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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