Used car tests

Used Volvo XC60 review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Volvo XC60 covering the XC60 Mk1 (2008-2017) and XC60 Mk2 (2017-date)

Volvo will celebrate its centenary in 2027, and since the company launched, its focus has always been on safety, while also trying to be environmentally responsible.

However, potential buyers have sometimes been confused as to where Volvo sat in the market. Were its cars premium or semi-premium? And were they one-trick ponies that offered impressive safety credentials but little else?

For a long time the company struggled to compete with prestige rivals such as BMW and Mercedes, whose cars were invariably more desirable and better to drive. But over the past decade, Volvo has really got its act together – and the XC60 Mk2 is the proof. It’s a cracking, family-friendly, mid-sized SUV that’s about as well rounded and desirable as they come.

Models covered

  • Volvo XC60 Mk1 (2008-2017) – First generation SUV is stylish and practical, but can be costly to run.
  • Volvo XC60 Mk2 (2017-date) - Well-rounded Mk2 mid-sized SUV is a family-friendly option that makes a great used buy

History

The XC60 Mk2 arrived in July 2017, priced from £37,205. Buyers could choose from a trio of 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines: the 187bhp D4 and 232bhp D5 diesels, or a 250bhp T5 petrol. Within months a T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid was also available, which was upgraded in February 2019 with the addition of a bigger battery pack.

At the same time, a raft of new mild-hybrid options arrived: a 194bhp B4 diesel, a 296bhp B6 petrol, and a B5 option that confusingly came in either 247bhp petrol or 232bhp diesel forms. To add to the perplexity, a Recharge T6 plug-in hybrid petrol option joined the range in December 2020. A revised XC60 arrived in June 2021, with improved infotainment (including a bigger 12.3-inch touchscreen display), refreshed styling and extra safety kit.

Which one should I buy?

All XC60 engines provide decent power; the hybrids are ideal if you don’t do a big mileage – but, if you do, opt for a diesel instead. Even the entry-level Momentum has leather trim, LED headlights with active high beam, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a powered tailgate and 18-inch alloys. There’s also a nine-inch portrait touchscreen with navigation.

The R-Design adds 19-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension and sports seats trimmed in hide and Nubuck. Meanwhile, the Inscription brings Nappa leather, electrically adjustable, ventilated front seats, plus extra cabin ambient lighting.

Momentum Pro features powered front seats and a heated steering wheel and windscreen, as well as active-cornering headlights; R-Design Pro brings 21-inch wheels and adaptive air suspension. Inscription Pro has 20-inch alloys, upgraded suspension and a massage function for the front seats.

Alternatives to the Volvo XC60

The XC60 isn’t short of competitors – and some extremely talented ones at that. In particular, the Audi Q5 really impresses with its excellent powerplants, spacious cabin and superb build quality; as expected, the latter is something that is shared by all of the Volvo’s key rivals.

BMW’s X3 is one of the best cars to drive in the sector, but if fabulous dynamics are a priority for you, take a look at the Porsche Macan. As you’d expect from one of the brand’s products, it handles more like a sports car than any other SUV, and it is also incredibly refined. As with all of these cars, the Mercedes GLC isn’t cheap, but you do get a high-quality product for your money.

Turning to home-grown options, the Jaguar F-Pace is one of the most attractive SUVs on the road. It’s good to drive as well, but it is costly; these traits are shared by the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. And if you fancy getting behind the wheel of something a little less obvious, try the Lexus NX.

What to look for

Safety

The XC60 was the safest car tested by Euro NCAP in 2017. AEB with pedestrian, cyclist and large-animal detection is standard.

Equipment

The Xenium pack had a panoramic sunroof, around-view and Park Assist. A 1,100W 15-speaker B&W stereo was a separate option.

Towing

Most XC60 versions can pull up to 2,400kg. Some are rated at 2,300kg, while the T6 and T6 plug-in hybrids can tow just 2,100kg.

Performance

Find one of the Polestar Engineered XC60 T8 Twin Engines and you’ll get 400bhp, along with upgraded brakes, suspension and auto transmission.

Common faults

Make sure any potential purchase has no outstanding recalls, particularly the one for the inlet manifold. Some owners report the air suspension can be rather boomy, while as with any complex, premium car, check all electronic systems work properly.

Interior

The XC60’s cabin borrows heavily from the XC90, which means the fit, finish and quality are superb, as are the design and ergonomics. Some of the switchgear initially looks complicated, but you soon get used to it. There’s enough space for five adults, but as usual the middle of the rear seat is the short straw. Boot space is average at 505 litres (to the window line) with the back seats in place, or 854 with them folded (1,432 to the roof line).

The nine-inch portrait-style infotainment display looks smart and is feature-rich. Newer models will have Google integration, which improves the system and user experience further.

Prices

You can buy a Volvo XC60 from as little as £9,512 on our sister site BuyaCar.

Running costs

The XC60 needs maintenance every 12 months or 18,000 miles, with services alternating between minor/major. The former is £295; the latter is usually £465 (petrols) or £460 (diesels). The fifth diesel service is a really big one, though, since it involves a replacement cambelt, which is why it’s priced at £1,010. For petrols, it’s the eighth service that’s the big one, which is pegged at £1,195.

If you’re a low-mileage driver the replacement interval will be done on a time basis; the schedule for cambelt replacement on petrols is 10 years or 144,000 miles, whereas on diesels it’s 10 years or 90,000 miles. Included in the service schedule is fresh brake fluid every other year, which is £105 if done as a separate job.

Recalls

Volvo has recalled the XC60 six times so far, the first in November 2018 because some cars that were built in Sept-Oct 2018 featured faulty software in the connectivity module. Melting plastic engine-inlet manifolds on some XC60s made up to Sept 2018 led to a recall in Oct 2019, while problematic autonomous emergency braking systems on cars made between Feb 2019-Mar 2020 led to the third recall, in Mar 2020.

Next came recalls in Jul/Aug 2020, the first because of the possibility of the seatbelt anchoring point being weak, and the second because the windscreen wiper arms weren’t tightened up correctly on some XC60s manufactured up to May 2020. The most recent recall came in Jan 2021, because some of the XC60s made in Sept 2020 featured faulty airbags.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

The XC60 didn’t make it into the 2021 Driver Power new-car survey, but it did get a very respectable 30th place last year, having come 16th the year before. Owners were particularly impressed by the quality inside and out, the styling, all-round visibility and practicality. They also loved the safety kit, reliability and infotainment – but not so much the lack of refinement, indifferent handling or high running costs.

Verdict

The 2008 XC60 marked the start of a Volvo renaissance, which 2017’s Mk2 enhanced. We declared the T8 Twin Engine our 2018 Premium Hybrid Car of the Year, and readers named it Premium Mid-Size SUV in Driver Power 2019. Many further plaudits prove just how highly the stylish XC60 is rated.

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