Review: Volvo XC60 (2017)

Rating:

Very comfortable and refined on the move. High quality well designed interior. Strong performance from all engines. Great seats for long distances.

Not quite as sharp to drive as its rivals. Has one of the smallest boots in its class. Polestar Engineered version is expensive.

Volvo XC60 (2017): At A Glance

The Volvo XC60 provides a refreshing and luxurious alternative to the current crop of driver and performance-focused SUVs, like the Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan. Admittedly, the second-generation XC60 is not the most dynamic of things to drive, but for what it lacks in handling it more than makes up for in comfort and refinement.

Like its predecessor, the Volvo XC60 is aimed at family car buyers, with a spacious interior, low fuel costs and lots of safety kit as standard. All XC60 models gets automatic city braking with pedestrian (and animal) recognition. This means it scans the road ahead and will automatically apply the brakes or help the driver steer around an obstacle in an emergency situation.

There's an extensive engine line-up, including mild-hybrid petrols and diesels as well as pricey plug-in hybrid models. While the latter offer impressive performance, the XC60 is better in a mid-level trim with small wheels and an economy-focused engine.

Topping the XC60 range is the powerful Polestar Engineered plug-in hybrid T8. This offers the performance to match a Macan, with firm suspension and beefy brakes. It's expensive, though, starting around £65,000 - and it's not as fun to drive as you might expect.

Comfort and refinement are the XC60's strong suit. Its excellent ride quality (with small wheels) is backed-up by a luxurious and refined interior that is more than a match for anything from the competition. The suspension set-up is carried over from Volvo's 90 range and provides one of the best ride qualities of any car in its class. Even the diesels, under hard acceleration, struggle past a muted rumble, which means the XC60 is well-suited for long drives.

The only slight issue we have with the XC60 is its shallow boot, which is one of the smallest of any mid-sized SUV. The price for the entry-level models is also higher than the outgoing XC60, but it's clear to see where the investment has gone. If you value comfort and luxury over razor sharp handling and performance, then the XC60 will make a fine choice as your next family car.

What does a Volvo XC60 (2017) cost?

List Price from £38,110
Buy new from £30,257
Contract hire from £319.52 per month

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

Dimensions
Length 4688 mm
Width 2117 mm
Height 1658 mm
Wheelbase 2865 mm

Full specifications

Like the XC90, the interior of the XC60 is comfortable and spacious. It will easily cope with four adults, thanks to the abundance of head and legroom at the back. The cabin is also filled with high quality materials, while the overall build quality is first class, with no worrying creaks or squeaks from the plastics. This gives reassurance that everything has been bolted together with purpose.

All models get leather seats, with electric controls for height and lumbar adjustment in the front. Heated front seats are also standard across the range, along with central pillar-mounted ventilation for those in the back.

Head and legroom will seldom be an issue in the XC60 and the rear seats will easily accommodate two large adults, with room to spare for an equally large or tall driver to get comfortable in the front.

A powered tailgate is standard fit and provides simple access to the boot, with a click of a button. However the XC60 doesn't have as much storage space as its rivals with the shallow boot offering just 505 litres. This means it fills up surprisingly quickly when the load cover is in place. In comparison, the Land Rover Discovery Sport will provide 689 litres while the Audi Q5 has 550 litres.

As with the latest crop of Volvo cars, the XC60 features a minimalist dashboard with the highlight being the eye-catching tablet touchscreen. The TFD display is bright and straightforward to use, although the myriad of sub-menus can be a little confusing at first.

However, while its high-tech nature will undoubtedly impress passengers, the screen can become a little bit of a distraction, with the driver needing to take their eyes off the road to change something as simple as the ventilation.

Voice activation controls – for heating and audio – are included, however, which allows the driver to adjust the ventilation or temperature by telling the system to increase the heat or air con. Sensus Connect, which provides access to a range of apps, like the digital music service Spotify is also fitted, but can equally distract. Ambient interior lighting and massaging front seats are also available to those with a penchant for extras.   

As you'd expect from Volvo, safety has been comprehensively addressed, with all cars getting a whiplash protection system that's built into the front seats to prevent spinal injuries. Pretensioners are also fitted to the belts in the back and all XC60s get Volvo's run-off road protection system, which automatically tightens the belts to cushion the impact should the vehicle leaving the road.

Standard equipment (January 2020):

Momentum comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox featuring stop/start and manual change functions, all-wheel drive, height and reach adjustable steering column, speed sensitive steering, three-spoke leather steering wheel with chrome trim, steering wheel remote infotainment controls, cruise control, hill start assist, power parking brake with auto hold, hill descent control, drive mode settings, keyless start, dynamic chassis, automatic LED headlights with active high beam, autofolding heated power door mirrors, automatic windscreen wipers, electric tailgate, integrated roof rails, piano black front grille with chrome surround, twin exhaust pipes, roof spoiler, front and rear park assist, 18-inch alloy wheels, tyre sealent kit and compressor, two-zone electronic climate control, 12.3-inch active TFT driver's information display, leather upholstery, heated front seats, floor mats, driver and passenger seat with electric height adjustment, 60:40 split folding rear seat, rear armrest with storage and cupholders, nine-inch centre console touchscreen, voice activated control, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Sensus Connect sound system, Sensus navigation, Volvo On Call.

T8 Twin Engine models add a panoramic sunroof, auxiliary heater with pre-conditioning functions, subwoofer, electric rear axle driver, 11.6kWh Lithium-Ion battery, 87PS electric motor, 4.5m charge cable with three-pin plug.

Edition comes with dark tinted windows, rear park assist camera, 19-inch alloy wheels, chrome window surround, smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

Momentum Pro adds heated windscreen wipers, heated steering wheel, active bending headlights, keyless drive, head-up display, headlight cleaning system, handsfree tailgate opening/closing, front LED foglights with cornering function, power driver seat with memory for seat and exterior mirrors, puddle lights.

R-Design builds on Momentum specification with sports seats with leather/textile upholstery, front seat cushion extensions, high gloss black steering wheel remote infotainment controls, front LED foglights, dual exhaust pipes, 19-inch alloy wheels, sports steering wheel, sports pedals, dark tinted windows, lowered sport chassis.

R-Design Pro adds heated wiper blades, heated steering wheel, active bending headlights, keyless drive, power driver seat with memory for seat and exterior mirrors, handsfree tailgate opening/closing, 21-inch alloy wheels, headlight cleaning system, head-up display, front LED foglights, Active Four-C chassis with adaptive dampers.

Polestar Engineered models come with a Harmon Kardon premium sound system, black chrome exhaust pipes, floating front brake discs, Polestar Engineered front and rear brake calipers, gold seatbelts, 21-inch alloy wheels, metallic paint, front aluminium tread plates, Polestar Optimised engine and gearbox, Polestar Engineered chassis. 

Inscription features Nappa soft leather upholstery, power driver and passenger seat with memory for seats and exterior mirrors, front LED foglights, driftwood inlays, 19-inch alloy wheels, crystal gear lever, chrome window surround, dual exhaust pipes, multicolour theatre lighting, ambient door lighting, multi-directional lumber support.

Inscription Pro adds heated windscreen wipers, heated steering wheel, active bending headlights, keyless drive, Active Four-C chassis with adaptive dampers, 20-inch alloy wheels, headlight cleaning system, handsfree tailgate opening/closing, front LED foglights with cornering function, head-up display, front seat backrest massage, puddle lights.

Child seats that fit a Volvo XC60 (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 (2017) like to drive?

The XC60 wafts along with the air and grace of a luxury saloon, while the raised driving position provides a commanding view of the road that makes it easy to navigate this 2.1 metre wide SUV though narrow B roads or multi-storey car parks.

Admittedly, the steering doesn't boast much in the way of feel, but despite its numb nature it remains light and accurate, with compliant turns that will allow the car to complete a u-turn in just 11.4 metres.

As long as you avoid the largest wheel options, the XC60 is comfortable, with the suspension soaking all but the most violent of pot hole-related jolts.

Most XC60s feature all-wheel drive, meaning the 1800kg SUV can carry itself through demanding turns without any sign of scruffiness in the handling department. Those wanting limo-like comfort can fit air suspension as an optional extra, with a soft cushioned ride that will match that of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

While there's a long list of engines available in the XC60, the good news is you can't really pick a bad one. It's worth taking time to understand the differences, though, and working out which one best suits your needs.

There's the entry-level T4 petrol which we're yet to drive and sells in limited numbers, only available with front-wheel-drive in Edition trim. If you're after a petrol, you'd be better opting for the mild-hybrid B5, available with two- or four-wheel drive and capable of returning up to around 39mpg depending on things like the size of the alloy wheels.

The T6 is an amusingly powerful 2.0-litre petrol without the faff of a plug-in hybrid, providing 310PS. It's thirsty, though, officially returning 31.7mpg on the combined WLTP fuel economy cycle. 

Many XC60 buyers will be better catered for with a diesel, particularly if you cover a lot of motorway miles or are looking to tow regularly. The mild-hybrid B4 is so good that it almost makes the more powerful B5 irrelevant, unless you really need the extra torque on offer. It's efficient, too, returning more than 45mpg.

If you can justify the B5 diesel, though, it's a lovely engine and well suited to the XC60. It offers effortless performance, with excellent refinement on offer. You won't really notice the mild-hybrid side, although it'll quietly recuperate energy under braking, on hand to provide a useful amount of power on hand when you look to overtake.

Then there's the plug-in hybrid T8. If most of your journeys are within its 27-mile electric range but you need a car capable of travelling further when required, an XC60 T8 is a true Jekyll and Hyde car. Around town, with a full charge, it's a quiet and serene electric car. But when the 2.0-litre petrol engine kicks in, it's got a combined 390PS and can sprint to 62mph in 5.5 seconds.

If that's not quick enough, you can spec the T8 in Polestar Engineered form. This has an extra 15PS, shaving a tenth of a second off the 0-62mph time, along with upgraded brakes, firmer suspension and lightweight alloy wheels. While the Polestar Engineered XC60 can certainly be chucked around in a manner unbecoming of its size, it's extremely firm on anything but the smoothest of roads.

It's not as fun as the figures suggest either. If you're happy to spend £65,000 on an SUV the size of an XC60, you'd be much better looking at a Porsche Macan if driving enjoyment is high on your wishlist.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
B4 Automatic AWD - 8.3 s 139–145 g/km
B5 Automatic AWD - 7.1 s 139–145 g/km
D4 Automatic 49–51 mpg 8.4 s 129–136 g/km
D4 AWD 51–53 mpg 8.4–8.8 s 131–139 g/km
D5 Automatic 47–49 mpg 7.2 s 144 g/km
T4 Automatic - 7.9 s 167 g/km
T5 Automatic 39 mpg 6.8–6.9 s 165–169 g/km
T5 Automatic AWD 37–39 mpg 6.8 s 169 g/km
T6 Automatic AWD - 5.9 s 174–181 g/km
T8 Automatic AWD - 5.4–5.5 s 50–52 g/km
T8 AWD - 5.3–5.5 s 49–55 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volvo XC60 (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

72%

Real MPG

20–81 mpg

MPGs submitted

178

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 (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

Which £30k SUV is best for comfort and refinement?

I am in the market for a new SUV and (at 70) comfort takes precedence over power these days. Which SUV smooths out the bumps and gives a quiet and comfortable ride? I have a budget of £30,000.
I'd look at a Citroen C5 Aircross. It's got extremely comfortable seats and the soft suspension means it rides exceptionally well. Your budget will get you a high-spec Flair Plus model. There are some good pre-reg deals to be had too, if you're not fussy about specification (https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/best-pre-reg-and-nearly-new-car-deals/). Also consider a Volvo XC60 on small wheels. Your budget will get a year-old example.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Volvo XC60 (2017)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Diesel engine, Four-wheel drive, Crossover, SUV and Premium crossover.

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