The Volvo XC60 is a compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) that is also a well-heeled on-road family car with competent, off-road ability. It was introduced in 2008 and since 2009 it's been Volvo's best-selling car.
The Volvo XC60 is only available with diesel engines, but a model with automatic transmission is best as it makes especially light work of any distance driving. Acceleration is brisk too. In fact, you can really push the pace up on most XC60 models, but the price for that is fuel economy.
Ride and handling
The car is gracious and quiet, with very little wind or road noise entering the cabin at motorway speed. Still, the car has a fairly high-centre-of-gravity and it is not the most nimble, with all four corners tending to squeal if you take twisty country bends at speed.
The steering also feels slightly lumpy around town. But get the XC60 on a long commute or even off-road and it will fare very well. That said, it is not really designed for hard-core off-roading, but the XC60 has sufficient ground clearance and is available with two as well as four-wheel-drive.
The XC60 has lots of space inside for five-up and the boot will take all of the family’s luggage. Head and legroom is ample all around, but rear seat passengers get the best view out of the car due to a marginally raised rear seat.
Some used XC60’s may have the rear seat cushions already turned into booster seats. This is available as an option when bought new and is a handy feature for families with tiny tots. Back up front, the driving position is relaxed, meaning you won’t get uncomfortable driving long distances in one sitting. What’s more, the dashboard is clear and easy to navigate - and shows off the Swedish car company’s design flair.
What to know before you buy
The XC60 has seen some early recalls, but, generally-speaking, the model doesn’t appear to have many major faults. The first recall concerned an electronic glitch that caused the fuel pump to give up the ghost on petrol-powered XC60s, meaning the engine would stall. Most models will have had this fixed by Volvo dealers by now.
The other recall involved an issue that caused the driver's seatbelt to release in the event of a crash. Again, this will most likely have been rectified, but double check with the vendor and also online. Other minor setbacks can involve the iPod system developing gremlins and there can be issues connecting your mobile phone up to Bluetooth.
The XC60 is one of the best looking and safest used SUVs on the market and every one, no matter how low down the line, comes with automatic emergency braking. Its stylish Swedish design gives it a premium feel over competitor models like the BMW X3, Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Audi Q5.
The BMW or the Land Rover are slightly more engaging to drive, but the Volvo is the most comfortable by far.
The Volvo XC60 looks good in any environment, whether it is in the middle of the open country, or on your commute to your place of business. Granted - off-road, it is not as heroic as a pure mud-plugger, but the Volvo is talented enough to take the family off tarmac – or up a snow covered hill if you need to.