Volvo XC60 B4 Diesel

AWD R-Design

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

WHEN your best selling model has barely reached its second birthday most car makers wouldn't think of making changes.

But Volvo decided that its XC60 diesel was lacking one thing - electrification.

So the XC60 diesel is now available as a mild hybrid to give it that little bit of extra oomph, increase its miles per gallon and appeal to drivers who want to give at least a passing nod of approval to the battle to clean up the planet.

So with an electric motor coupled to the existing 2.0-litre, 197bhp engine the combined power train now offers drivers up to 15 per cent fuel savings and generous emission reductions.

The new brake-by-wire system interacts with the energy-recovery system and reduces fuel consumption and emissions by recovering kinetic energy under braking.

And if all that sounds complicated it's nothing to worry about because the whole thing works without any interaction from the driver, in fact you wouldn't even know it's there - it just delivers results.

There's no plugging in and no range anxiety you just get the benefits.

And making the second generation of the XC60 diesel a mild hybrid is very much a "gilding the lily" process, as this car is already one of Volvo's most sought after models.

More than one million of the original XC60s were sold making it the best-selling premium SUV in Europe and its successor, introduced two years ago, hit the ground running to quickly becoming the best selling model in the Swedish car maker's range.

Aesthetically striking the XC60 has clean, simple lines, a more upright stance than the original model and some nice features to set it apart from its competitors.

The signature headlights now extend right to the edge of the front grille while cleverly the large doors overlap the sills so you don't get mud on your clothes as you get in on a wet night.

The interior is a class act with contemporary leather and cloth sports seats and a minimalist yet striking cabin with brushed stainless steel panels across the dashboard and centre console to contrast with the surrounding black finish.

There are very few visible switches as most of the onboard operations are now carried out on the nine-inch central iPad-style touchscreen which also comes with full European mapping with traffic information and lifetime map updates.

And the virtual speedometer and rev counter can be configured to suit the driver, either in full size or reduced to allow a map of the route you are following to sit in between them.

With its seamless eight-speed automatic gearbox the XC60 offers refined, quiet driving with an abundance of torque always on hand.

And while its forte is mid range driving it's a car which is quick off the mark too providing a rewarding experience for whoever is driving, particularly if you use the paddles behind the steering wheel.

There's no sports setting on the auto box but you can alter the car's driving mode, with a choice of eco, comfort, individual settings, dynamic and off-road.

Fortunately for me the car driven here came with Volvo's winter pack (£525) which included heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated windscreen and heated wiper blades, So with that and the all-wheel-drive system I was definitely ready for winter motoring.

And being a Volvo it came with every safety feature you can think of and then some.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC60 B4 Diesel AWD R-Design

Price: £43,035

Mechanical: 197bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl diesel engine and electric motor driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 46.3

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions: 142 g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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