Volvo XC60 D5 SE

New oil-burner will be the big-seller in Volvo’s SUV range

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

THE XC60 will be hugely popular for Volvo. It’s a smartly styled machine that combines the practicalities and road manners of an estate with handy off-road ability. However, while this diesel makes more sense than the petrol car tested last week, it still boasts high emissions in auto form. We’d advise buyers to look at the manual variant, the 161bhp diesel or wait for the front-wheel-drive version of the latter, which is due next year and promises emissions of 170g/km CO2. Rival: Audi Q5 2.0 TDI SEOffers better dynamics and, due to a smaller diesel, is much more efficient, returning 42.1mpg and emitting 175g/km of CO2.

Whether it is due to concern for the environment or worries about the economy, justifying a thirsty, petrol-engined SUV is increasingly difficult for buyers – which is why we couldn’t recommend the six-cylinder XC60 driven last week.

With a 3.0-litre turbocharged unit it doesn’t lack performance, but 24mpg and 284g/km of CO2 emissions ensure the Land Rover Freelander rival will be a non-starter for many motorists. So we’re expecting better things from this 182bhp 2.4-litre D5 diesel. And we’re not alone: Volvo predicts it will account for half of XC60 sales. That will make it the best-seller.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Volvo XC60

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As well as a healthy power output, the D5 has 400Nm of torque from 2,000rpm. It sweeps past slower traffic with ease, but it’s not the quietest diesel around, especially under acceleration. Nor is it the greenest. Some of the blame must lie with Volvo’s Geartronic auto transmission, but the chief problem is the XC60’s 1,885kg weight, which means economy of 34mpg and emissions of 219g/km. The manual car is better, returning 37.7mpg and 199g/km.

Through corners, the XC60 drives like a raised V50. It isn’t as sporty as a BMW X3 or Audi Q5, but thanks to a controlled ride, subdued wind and engine noise when cruising plus supportive seats, it is very comfortable.

Of course, this car also feels just as a Volvo should: solid and secure. It’s first to feature the firm’s City Safety system, which brakes the car automatically to a halt if it senses an imminent collision. This only works at low speeds, and helps avoid minor town prangs. Indeed, there’s no shortage of kit on the XC60, with the mid-spec SE getting Hill Descent Control. Factor in ample cabin space and superb quality, and you’ve got a model with plenty of appeal.

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