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Safety first: Volvo's XC60 SUV is a tech-focused choice for families


Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60

Volvo's XC60 is the company's best-selling SUV and is a former World Car of the Year winner. 

What's new?

The Volvo XC60 sits in the lucrative mid-sized SUV market, and has thus far proved to be hugely successful for the Swedish manufacturer with over a million units sold since it was introduced nine years ago.

The SUV, which was reinvented in second-generation form a couple of years ago, continued the trail-blazing trend of its predecessor. Indeed, it did even better, scooping the World Car of the Year Award in 2018, the first time a Volvo has won the coveted gong.

What does it look like?

The XC60 looks fresh and modern, boasting Volvo's 'Thor's Hammer' headlights and a chunky grille, both helping to lend it a classy, contemporary air.

Gone are the days when Volvo was all about pure practicality. It's still big on safety, but there's a real focus on being premium that's immediately evident. The revamped front end gives the XC60 a real elegance that was lacking in this segment - save for the Jaguar F-Pace - back in 2018.

Slide into the driver's seat and poke around and you'll find nothing but soft materials. The clean design is helped by the tablet-like touchscreen infotainment system that declutters the dashboard of unnecessary buttons.

Along with most of the interior fittings, it is angled towards the driver to make the SUV feel smaller and more car-like - it works.

Hold the boot button on the key for a couple of seconds and the tailgate lifts to reveal a large and useful boot - at 505 litres it is below the class average but will easily swallow a large shop and some suitcases.

What's it like to drive?

It's immediately apparent that Volvo has put comfort at the top of the XC60 agenda. Our car was riding on optional air suspension and it rode beautifully with surprisingly little body roll in the corners.

The SUV is at home on the motorway, munching through miles in quiet comfort with ease.

At the top of the engine range sits Volvo's award-winning T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid, delivering 407hp and acceleration from 0-100km/h in just 5.3 seconds.

There's also a D4 diesel engine at 190hp and a D5 unit with PowerPulse technology delivering 235hp.

Volvo XC60

The petrol line-up includes a T5 unit delivering 254hp and a T6 which, with both turbo and superchargers attached, delivers 320hp and 400Nm of torque.

The D5 in our test car engine was a highlight, pulling hard when required but delivering easy economy in everyday driving.

If relaxation is key, there are few in the class that can touch the XC60. However, it does pay for it a little in the corners. The steering is direct but lacks feel and although the air suspension deals with most of the body roll it can't quite hide its bulk on a twisty back road.

How safe is it?

Safety is high on the agenda for Volvo, and as such the XC60 comes with loads of safety kit straight out of the box.

There are plenty of sensors on the car that can help the driver brake if it senses a collision is imminent, while new for the XC60 is steering control that aids wheel inputs and uses the brakes to improve the car's ability to swerve around danger.

The second-generation XC60 is one of the safest cars you can buy, coming fully loaded with new technology. Steer Assist has been added to the innovative City Safety system.

Oncoming Lane Mitigation uses Steer Assist to help mitigate head-on collisions, while Volvo's Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS) now uses Steer Assist functionality to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions.

Pilot Assist, Volvo's advanced semi-autonomous driver-assistance system, which takes care of steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 80mph, is available in the new XC60 as an option.

Value for money

The standard specification is highly impressive, with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and a leather-style upholstery all standard, not to mention the impressive City Safety driver aid package.

The Sensus infotainment system is responsive and the high-definition screens are easy to read, though the layout isn't particularly intuitive.

This will be less of a problem for owners as Volvo says the system learns what menus you use regularly and puts them on the main screen to make navigation quicker and easier.

Volvo XC60

Current models and trim levels

The line-up at the moment is straightforward: three trim levels called Momentum, R-Design Inscription and Polestar Engineered, although there are further specs within those trim-levels. All are well equipped and bristle with technology.

Momentum, priced from £37,785, comes with 18-inch silver alloys, dual tailpipes, and textile/T-Tec seats.

R-Design is more sports-focused with a lowered chassis for better driving dynamics and 19-inch alloys.

Inscription trim, from £43,165, ratchets up the comfort and looks with 19-inch alloys and Nappa leather seats.

The performance-orientated Polestar Engineered, which weighs in at a hefty £64,545, has 21-inch alloys and a special Polestar Engineered chassis (Polestar is half-owned by Volvo and now produces its own range of cars as well as performance trims under the Polestar Engineered badge.)

Who would buy one?

The target market for the XC60 is families looking for something more interesting than rivals from more mainstream brands such as Audi and BMW.

It has proved hugely successful in doing this, and with the updated styling and impressive safety kit you'd have to be brave to bet against sales continuing to rise.

Belfast Telegraph