Used Volvo XC60 (Mk1, 2008-2017) - How practical is it?

Competitive interior space, class-leading safety and a decent standard level of equipment across the range makes the XC60 Mk1 a practical family SUV

One of the first-gen Volvo XC60’s biggest plus points was its practicality. While it didn’t set new standards in the class for spaciousness, the Volvo XC60 Mk1 nevertheless offers good amounts of interior space for passengers, and the boot volume is also pretty good when compared with its period rivals.

Like all of its chief competitors at the time, the Volvo XC60 was only available as a five-seater family car. As a result, if you need extra seating capacity, you’ll be better catered for by larger SUVs like the Volvo XC90, or used examples of newer alternatives such as the Mercedes GLB or Land Rover Discovery Sport.  

Dimensions, cabin and boot space

The Volvo XC60 Mk1 is 4,644mm long and 1,891mm wide, so it takes up a similar amount of space on the road as a BMW X3, and is a bit longer and wider than a Range Rover Evoque.

As is the case with its exterior dimensions, the Volvo XC60 is in a similar ballpark space-wise on the inside. While rear-seat head room admittedly isn’t class-leading (especially on models fitted with a panoramic sunroof), the amount on offer is still respectable. In contrast, leg room all round is pretty good, and the wide cabin means there’s decent amounts of shoulder room for adult passengers in the rear seats. An assortment of storage spots is available in the Volvo XC60 Mk1, too, though we find the door bins to be a bit on the small side.

At 495 litres in size, the Volvo XC60’s boot isn’t the biggest you’ll find in premium family SUVs from around this time – an Audi Q5 of similar vintage will have a capacity of 540 litres, for instance. That said, that luggage volume should still be enough for most families’ day-to-day needs. If you need more space than that, the rear seats can be folded flat in a 40:20:40 split configuration, and there’s up to 1,455 litres of space on offer if you fold the entire rear row down.

As standard, the Volvo XC60 Mk1 came with Isofix mounting points on the rear seats that you can securely latch a child seat to. If you pick a used Volvo XC60 that was specified with the optional Family Pack, it will also have integrated booster seat cushions for the two outer rear seats.

Equipment and technology

For much of the Volvo XC60 Mk1’s lifecycle, the car was available in three core trim levels: S (which was later renamed to ES), SE and R-Design. Entry-level S and ES models were fairly well equipped, with standard features including climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and front fog lights. SE versions have the same kit, in addition to standard-fit extras like built-in sat-nav, a DAB digital radio and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

There was also a range-topping R-Design model, although this spec didn’t include that many equipment additions over SE models. Instead, this Volvo XC60 Mk1 spec gave the car a bit of a sporty feel, thanks to its subtly more aggressive redesign inside and out, and mildly stiffer suspension that helped improve the car’s handling. However, that firmer ride means R-Design models aren’t as comfy over bumpy roads as the regular Volvo XC60s.

When the Volvo XC60 was given a facelift in 2013, most of the changes were cosmetic, with a few tweaks to the spec sheet. For instance, all trims bar R-Design now came as standard with a powered tailgate, and interior tech upgrades included an updated sat-nav system and a new digital instrument display.

Safety

Volvo has a long-standing reputation for safety, so it perhaps isn’t a surprise that the XC60 Mk1 performed well in this area when it was new. Euro NCAP awarded the car five stars when it was assessed in 2009; scoring highly in the adult occupant, child occupant and safety equipment categories. Do bear in mind that the Euro NCAP safety procedure has become much more stringent in the years since the first-gen Volvo XC60 was assessed, though.

The Volvo XC60 Mk1 fares well when it comes to safety features, too. Dual-stage airbags, traction control, hill descent control and curtain airbags were fitted across the board, as was a City Safety feature that can automatically apply the brakes if the system detects an imminent collision. It is important to note the system only works below 19mph.

Other driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera, blind spot warning, lane-keep assist and adaptive headlights.

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