Review: Volvo XC60 (2008 – 2017)

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Very comfortable and refined. Makes a good long distance car. Stylish cabin. R Design models look sporty. Low emissions DRIVe versions available.

By 2017 D5 feeling dated. Geartronic automatic can be sluggish. Handling more SUV than sportscar. Serious issue of carbon build-up in pre-AdBlue EU6 D4 VEA engines that have not been run on high Cetane superdiesel.

Volvo XC60 (2008 – 2017): At A Glance

Volvo seems to be getting to grips with the art of making stylish yet practical and safe cars and nowhere is this more evident than in the Volvo XC60. It's certainly a striking design and really stands out, which is no easy feat when the competition includes cars like the sleek Audi Q5 and bold Land Rover Freelander 2.

It's less boxy and bulky than the larger XC90 and the sharp front end has even been the inspiration for facelifts of the convertible Volvo C70 and the Volvo C30 hatchback. But although it looks substantial, it's actually fairly compact - shorter than a Ford Mondeo for instance, so parking and manouevering in tight spaces isn't as tricky as you may think.

It's a good family car with a spacious and well laid out interior, along with a large boot. It's also well equipped as standard especially when it comes to safety equipment. The Volvo XC60 comes with a system called City Safety as standard - a clever system that is designed to prevent low speed impacts (or minimise them) by automatically stopping the car if a crash is inevitable.

On the road, the XC60 is a good cruiser and with the diesel engines, is affordable to run. It's not the best handling offroader of this size, but has plenty of grip and good off-road ability too. There's a two-wheel drive version, badged DRIVe, which majors on economy and low CO2 emissions, but doesn't sacrifice too much in the way of performance, while the R-DESIGN version gets a sporty look which really suits the sharp lines.

It's the well built and stylish cabin which is perhaps the Volvo XC60's biggest strength. The modern and unfussy layout is also user-friendly and makes a refreshing change from the usual German premium car interiors.

Volvo XC60 2008 Road Test

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What does a Volvo XC60 (2008 – 2017) cost?

List Price from £39,480
Buy new from £31,055
Contract hire from £329.28 per month

Volvo XC60 (2008 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4627–4644 mm
Width 1891–2120 mm
Height 1713 mm
Wheelbase 2774 mm

Full specifications

The interior is typical Volvo which means it's full of clean lines, wonderfully tactile surfaces and a choice of tasteful Scandinavian wood or aluminium trim. But even here you can appreciate new features. The now trademark 'floating' centre console is angled towards the driver, while the ‘X' motif on the seats helps it look less drab.

The build quality is very good and everything works with a feeling of durability. The dials are really easy to read but if you opt for the sat nav you may be disappointed that it's operated via a remote control which seems fiddly compared to buttons or a dial on the dash.

It's a remarkably practical cabin, though, with lots of space front and rear. The 40/20/40 split rear seats fold extremely easily, leaving a completely flat - if rather high-off-the-ground - load floor. The only real criticism is that the leather seats are a bit slippery around corners and could do with more side support.

Equipment from launch (October 2008):

S comes with 17-inch Segin alloy wheels, front fog lights, roof rails and a rear spoiler as well as the advanced safety systems you'd expect from a Volvo including City Safety and RSC (Roll Stability Control). Interior details include electronic climate control, an information centre, cruise control, a leather steering wheel with remote audio controls, aluminium trim and a performance sound audio system with aux input and a CD player.

SE adds Hill Descent Control, an electric driver's seat with memory and autofolding power door mirrors with ground lights, Eriksberg T-Tec/Textile upholstery, an autodimming rear view mirror with a compass and chrome window trim.

SE Lux adds to the SE specification with luxury features such as chronographic instrument dials, leather upholstery and Nordic Light Oak natural wood trim, while both front seats are be powered and heated. Further enhancements include luxury floor mats and chrome detailing, 18-inch Merac alloy wheels, active bending headlamps, a powered tailgate and rear park assist.

R-DESIGN (from January 2010)

The sports-inspired R-DESIGN adds all the sporty visual features to the ES specification including a specially tuned sports chassis and sharper driving characteristics. To enhance the R-DESIGN specification, a selection of options have been packaged together to form the R-DESIGN Convenience Pack. This includes an autodimming rear view mirror, autofolding power mirrors with ground lights, rain sensor, rear park assist, power operated tailgate, a high performance sound system and Bluetooth.

The Premium upgrade remains available on XC60 SE, SE Lux and R-DESIGN models. The combination of leather-faced upholstery, satellite navigation, DAB radio and High Performance Audio System are all designed to compliment the existing high level of specification and is priced at £2,000 extra on SE, £1,250 on SE Lux and £1,500 on R-DESIGN.

ES (from May 2010)

The ES trim replaced the S specification and includes all the features and safety systems you would expect from Volvo such as 17-inch wheels, City Safety, ECC (Electric Climate Control), cruise control, a performance audio aystem, Aux input for MP3 players and CD player, leather steering wheel with remote controls and a rear spoiler.

Child seats that fit a Volvo XC60 (2008 – 2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Volvo XC60 (2008 – 2017) like to drive?

Although it will only account for a tiny number of cars sold, the T6 turbocharged petrol six-cylinder is a great top of the range engine. It's not the choice if you've got an eye on running costs, but for sheer enjoyment - it's great. It's very smooth and happy to be revved, packing a meaty punch at the same time. It's also a sublime motorway cruiser, with very little engine, road or wind noise at high speed. The downside is economy of just 26.4mpg. Ouch.

In contrast, the D5 diesel is frugal but frankly noisy. Volvo could really do with a more modern diesel than the five-cylinder unit that this one. That said, it does feel muscular and delivers plenty of torque for effortless motorway cruising and a decent turn of pace when required.

When it was first launched, all XC60s were all-wheel drive, but in May 2009, a front-wheel drive 2.4D model was introduced, badged DRIVe (Volvo's name for its green models). It produces 175bhp and certainly doesn't feel sluggish. It's good value too and economy of 47.1mpg is impressive for an off-roader like this.

Volvo isn't exactly renowned for the handling if its cars and the XC60 is no exception. It's not bad, it's just not that good. On more demanding roads, there's quite a lot of body roll, giving you the feeling that the whole thing is slightly top-heavy, which doesn't inspire confidence through corners. Coupled with steering that feels rather dead yet is over-sensitive as you begin to turn it, your progress can feel a little uncomfortable. Even the ride quality is disappointing, picking up all sorts of minor bumps. Still as a motorway cruiser it's smooth and relaxed. Volvo does offer its adaptable ‘Active Four-C' chassis as an option, which certainly improves the ride.

The one thing the XC60 does do well is grip. It feels very surefooted on slippery surfaces and is good on wet roads too, giving you good confidence in treacherous conditions. Speaking of safety, this is one of the XC60's unique features. It's the world's first car to be fitted as standard with a collision-avoidance automatic braking.

At speeds up to 9mph, the system will cut in to stop the car if its built-in laser detects an object immediately ahead. It will also slow - but not stop - the car from speeds up to 19mph. Given that Volvo's data says that 75% of all accidents occur at below 20mph, and that its system should prevent crashes in at least half of those accidents, as many as four out of every ten accidents could be avoided with this system.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.4 D 38 mpg 10.5 s 199 g/km
2.4D DRIVe 47 mpg 9.8 s 159 g/km
D3 DRIVe Start/Stop 50 mpg 10.3 s 149 g/km
D3 Geartronic Start/Stop 42 mpg 10.3–10.9 s 178–179 g/km
D3 Start/Stop 50 mpg 10.4 s 149 g/km
D4 53–63 mpg 7.6–9.8 s 117–139 g/km
D4 Geartronic 44–60 mpg 7.6–10.2 s 124–169 g/km
D5 38–54 mpg 8.1–9.5 s 137–199 g/km
D5 Geartronic 44–50 mpg 8.2–8.3 s 149–169 g/km
D5 Geartronic Start/Stop 42–44 mpg 8.3–8.8 s 169–179 g/km
D5 Start/Stop 50–53 mpg 8.1–8.4 s 139–149 g/km
T5 PowerShift 33–42 mpg 8.1 s 157–198 g/km
T6 AWD Geartronic 26 mpg 6.9 s 249 g/km
T6 Geartronic 26 mpg 7.3 s 249 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volvo XC60 (2008 – 2017)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

21–52 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Volvo XC60 (2008 – 2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What are the best tyres for my Volvo XC60?

What tyres would you recommend for a 2015 Volvo XC60? The car is presently on Pirelli Scorpion Verde 235/60/18.
It's already on very good tyres, presumably Scorpion Verde all weather? Alternatives are Continental AllSeason Contact, Michelin Cross Climates or Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons Gen 2. Check Tyres On The Drive ( and ( for sizes and prices and read our Tyre Buying Guide (
Answered by Honest John
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What do owners think?

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  • 5 star 17%
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  • 3 star 33%
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