Volvo XC60 Review 2023

Volvo XC60 At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Volvo XC60 shrugs off the idea that SUVs have to be sporty to drive. Instead, it delivers hugely on comfort and refinement, with plenty of technology to boot.

+Premium image, supported by handsome styling and a luxurious interior. Drives with refinement, and strong performance across the engine range. Lots of safety equipment included.

-Not particularly involving to drive. Lags behind key rivals for boot capacity. Infotainment touchscreen can be fiddly to use.

New prices start from £30,500
Insurance Groups are between 28–43
On average it achieves 72% of the official MPG figure

Volvo was traditionally known for building estate cars, but has become very experienced with SUVs since launching the original XC90 back in 2002. The smaller Volvo XC60 channels that know-how into a refined and calming vehicle that offers a credible alternative to the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.

First launched in 2017, the second-generation Volvo XC60 helped continue the Swedish brand’s march into the premium market. It channels the handsome styling of the larger, seven-seat XC90 – and borrows its mechanical underpinnings, too. 

The Volvo XC60 may not come with seven seats, but it is still aimed at families. That means a blend of space and everyday usability, with all-wheel drive fitted as standard across the range. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is included on all versions, too.

Although Volvo is working towards offering solely electric vehicles by 2030, the Volvo XC60 maintains a host of engine options. There is even still a diesel, which is useful for those covering bigger mileages, along with a pair of turbocharged petrol engines.

The plug-in hybrid Recharge models are particularly noteworthy, with the potential to cover almost 50 miles on battery power alone. The Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge boasts serious performance, its 455PS output helping to dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.9 seconds. 

When it comes to off-road ability, Volvo has tailored the XC60 to cope with farm tracks and slippery fields. Even so, SUVs such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport will be better options if you need more serious all-terrain prowess.

The Volvo XC60 is not the greatest off-roader, then, but this matters little when it drives so well on the road. Most versions come with a conventional suspension setup, which effectively filters out most ruts and bumps in the tarmac. The range-topping Ultimate version upgrades to air suspension, offering a number of different settings. Selecting Comfort mode gives the Volvo XC60 a genuinely limo-like ride quality.

With such a focus on comfort and refinement, the Volvo XC60 isn’t the most engaging SUV to drive. Its steering is light, but lacks feel, and there is slightly more body-roll than would be experienced in an Audi Q5 or BMW X3. Still, given the relaxing nature of the Volvo XC60, this is unlikely to be a deal-breaker. 

Inside, the Volvo XC60 is as well-made as it is luxurious, with a finely measured dose of Scandinavian minimalism. Everything majors on quality, with plentiful leather trim included as standard. Also helping to justify the premium price tag is a long list of equipment, with all versions benefiting from satellite navigation, a 12.3-inch digital dashboard and a 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. 

There is room for five people, at a push, although boot capacity is smaller than the Volvo XC60's closest competitors, including the Jaguar F-Pace and Audi Q5.

Even alongside other premium European SUVs, the Volvo XC60 stands out for placing its outright emphasis on comfort and luxury over sportiness and dynamism. It makes for a relaxing and refined driving

Ask Honest John

What's the best hybrid for towing a caravan?

"I have a twin axle Swift caravan of about 1.7t that I need to tow. In an ideal world I'd like an at least a 2.0 litre 4x4 with a high ride and diesel/electric that means I go electric most of the time, but diesel when towing. I'm getting very confused with all the details about SUVs. My budget is up to about £30K."
It sounds like a petrol plug-in hybrid might suit your needs. They can be charged and used like an EV for your day-to-day driving while having the ability to tow a caravan further afield. How about a used Volvo XC60 T8? It's a very desirable premium SUV with plenty of grunt for towing. It has an official towing capacity of up to 2100kg so should comfortably tow your caravan. An Audi Q5 TFSI e is worth a look, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Is there a smaller alternative that's still as good as a Range Rover Sport?

"We have a Range Rover Sport 460e PHEV on order with delivery next May. However my wife feels it is simply too big. Is there anything else, petrol or PHEV, with a high driving position, offering similar qualities that is smaller?"
The obvious choice here would be the Range Rover Evoque PHEV, which has many similar styling attributes and a similarly chunky nature, as well as a high driving position. Other smaller but prestigious SUVs worth looking at are the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Volvo XC60, both of which might fit the bill. The Stelvio is a particularly appealing option.
Answered by Administrator

I need a comfortable car with good ground clearance and lots of space, what should I choose?

"I would be grateful if you could help us in our quest for a new car. Currently we have a 2016 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso This is a great car as far as space utilisation is concerned, especially the boot which is large and suits us well. However, the ride is poor and is certainly not up to Citroens long term reputation for ride comfort. So, we are looking for a car with a boot no smaller than the Citroen's but with as smooth a ride as possible (not bothered too much about so called 'handling'!). We also like a higher driving position and good ground clearance. So probably an SUV or a high riding estate would be suitable but the ride quality followed by boot size are the priorities. Budget for new or nearly new (up to 2 years old), up to to £40,000ish for the right car but preferably less."
To keep the amount of interior space you have now without a bigger footprint and some ground clearance, we would suggest an SUV. As ride quality is also a priority, we would suggest a Volvo XC60. Go for an SE or SE Lux model rather than the R-Design trim, as the R-Design has larger alloy wheels that don't help the ride quality. You'd also have a choice of petrol or diesel engines, plenty of space and comfort and a high driving position. £40,000 would get you a very recent model with low mileage, but even £16,000 would get you a 2014 SE Lux diesel with less than 50,000 miles.
Answered by David Ross

Can you recommend a reliable used SUV?

"I currently have a 2017 Ford Kuga 1.5 petrol with 44,000 miles and a full service history. I’m looking at changing it for something with the same higher up seating position and like the look of the Audi Q5. Are they worth the money and reliable? It would be a used car and I’ve got a budget of around £16,000. Is this worth it and what sort of age would I be looking at? If not, what other brands should I look at? "
Audi Q5s are generally considered reliable if well maintained, but when things do go wrong the parts and complexity of premium cars like this can add to the cost quite a bit. For your budget, depending on engine and spec, you'd be getting a 2012-2015 car. We'd also be checking out the BMW X3, while the Volvo XC60 is also a good buy.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
More Questions

What does a Volvo XC60 cost?