Excellence is the Volvo XC60

According to FCAI VFACTS, in 2019 Volvo achieved a 16.2% increase in new car sales in Australia at a time when the overall new car market fell by 7.8%. The XC60 was the most popular Volvo model purchased in 2019 here, accounting for 44% of all Volvos sold. After spending a week with the top of the line T8 Polestar Engineered variant I can certainly understand why.

The best way I can describe my time driving the XC60 is ‘relaxing’; it’s a car that soothes you, but not any particular way rather in a holistic way. The cabin is very quiet, even when the internal combustion engine is running, enabling you to thoroughly immerse yourself in the premium Bowers & Wilkens Stereo. Even the warning bong is polite in the XC60 for when the children unclip their seatbelts before the vehicle has come to a complete stop. The XC60 has lovely ride comfort whether in Polestar Engineered or Hybrid Everyday Use, the two drive modes I spent all of my time in while reviewing the XC60. The other drive modes available include Constant AWD, Pure-Eco Drive and Off-road.

The XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered comes with a 2.0 litre supercharged turbocharged engine with an electric motor to extract every last kW out of the fuel you are burning. When the electric motor is operating the T8 has 311kW and 670Nm of torque and I could really feel the extra shove compared to the XC90 I drove the previous week that had the same engine, but without the electric motor. The added spark means that the XC60 can do 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds and the other big improvement is with fuel economy. The official combined economy for this XC60 is just 2.2L/100km and for my week I used only 5.3L/100km. This is considerably less than the XC90 I drove the previous week which averaged 12.4L/100km and actually weighed less than the XC60.

When the plug-in battery is fully charged the range in full EV mode is 35km and the XC60 has the ability for you to hold onto that battery and use it at another time. Or you can use the battery power and charge the battery while driving if you select ‘B’ gear from the 8-speed automatic adaptive Geartronic gearbox. Doing this allows the battery is charged when you lift off the accelerator via regenerative braking giving you greater range.

The interior design of the XC60 is very stylish and the R-Design Nappa leather/textile front seats are comfortable and have power adjustment with two memory positions. For winter you will also appreciate that the front seats are heated as well. I didn’t like the yellow seat belts though, so hopefully you can option these out when you speccing the SUV.

Some of the practical interior design elements include the large water bottle area in the front door cubby and the cubby extends back for storing longer items and the ticket holder on the right hand side of the windscreen to display your parking ticket. Under the arm rest there are two USB ports and you can even remove the rubber mat on the base of the cubby for easy cleaning. The sliding cover conceals two cup holders including a wireless car key charger and there is a spot for your phone with a 12V outlet for charging.

There are three screens to flip through via the 9”vertical infotainment touchscreen with the first allowing you quick access to media info, apps like weather, TuneIn and Spotify, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. The second screen displayed has media, nav and phone info and you can expand these when selected for more options. The voice control in the XC60 works well for making calls, but is a bit hit and miss for setting a destination on the navigation.

Media options in the XC60 include FM, DAB, Bluetooth, USB and iPod and the XC60 comes standard with a 15 speaker Premium sound system by Bowers & Wilkins and you can adjust you sound experience and you can also configure whether the whole car hears music or just the front passengers, which is good if your children are asleep in the back and you still want to listen to music.

The third screen gives you access to quick links for things that you want to adjust on the go like auto start/stop, cameras and parking assistance. The XC60 has an excellent 360o view camera with 360o sensors or you can select individual cameras to get a closer look.

You can configure the 12.3” digital driver’s dash display for look and colour and also what is shown between the speedo and taco/drive mode indicator, it can show either the map, current media playing or it can be left blank. The head-up display can show info like navigation, road sign info, phone call info and driver support and it can be adjusted for position and brightness.

The rear seats have ample head and leg room for two adults to comfortably fit, but the seats are firm. There are only air vents in the B-pillars with speed control and behind the centre console is one 12V outlet. Conveniently to prevent wear on the carpet over the transmission tunnel there is a rubber mat covering it and on either side two carpet mats that are easy to remove for cleaning.

Both of the outer seats in the XC60 can be folded up into booster seats, but it’s a narrow window for children that are recommended to use them. Children need to be either 95-120cms tall and between 15-25kg of >115cms tall and between 22-36kg and not less than three years old. My daughter tested it out and said that it was not comfortable to sit on.

There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but in reality you would only fit two child seats in the XC60. This enables you to fold down the centre seat to create an arm rest and it has a shallow storage cubby, a ledge, and two good drink bottle holders that would accommodate various sized bottles. There is another drink bottle holder in the door cubby, but this is only big enough for a medium sized drink bottle. The rear seats have a 40/60 split folding mechanism or you can open up a little door in the centre seat for carrying long items.

The boot is a good size and has gesture opening, but not closing. There are two hooks, four tie down points and one 12V outlet in the cargo area. A couple of great features I really liked included cargo cover that slides up and back when you push it out of the way, so it is easier to load in the shopping. Secondly under the boot floor is a storage area for the cargo net that can either be installed behind the rear seats or behind the front seats if you have all of the rear seats folded down.

Volvos are renowned for their safety features and the XC60 is no exception. The features on the model I drove included City Safety, which is essentially emergency braking and steering assistance. Intellisafe Assist, Volvos adaptive cruise and pilot assist system, which makes motorway driving very relaxing and as noted in my XC90 review this system is one of the best that I have used. Then you have Intellisafe Surround which includes Blind Sport Assist with cross traffic alert and rear collision warning. Airbag protection comes in the form of front airbags, side airbags with side impact protection system, inflatable curtains and whiplash protection system. All variants of the XC60 from October 2017 onwards have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating with an adult occupant protection rating of 37.3 out of 38 (98%) and a child occupant protection rating of 42.9 out of 49 (87%).

All new Volvos come with a three year/unlimited km warranty, which includes 24 hour road side assistance. You can also purchase a service plan that covers scheduled servicing for the first three years or 45,000km, whichever comes first and for the petrol XC60 models this costs $1,795.

The XC60 model range starts at $62,900 for the D4 Momentum and as tested the top of the line XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered was $99,990 plus on-roads and it had no optional extras fitted. The XC60 essentially does everything right; it’s a premium mid-sized SUV, with a lovely ride and great fuel economy. Visit you preferred Volvo dealer to drive this all-round excellent vehicle for yourself before you buy your next mid-sized SUV.

Pros Cons
Exceptional fuel economy Yellow seat belts
Quiet, comfortable and relaxing ride No separate climate control for rear seat passengers
A stylish looking SUV with many thoughtful design elements Limited dealer network

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.