Volvo XC60 2014 review

Revised Volvo XC60 gets sleek new look and remains a comfortable and practical SUV

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The Volvo XC60 is the brand's biggest-selling car in the UK. And while this facelift doesn’t improve its ageing drivetrain, the SUV remains comfortable and practical. The updated exterior looks classy, while new cabin tech maintains the appeal.

The Volvo XC60 has been given a facelift, but Volvo has taken a rather literal approach, opting to change only the compact SUV’s looks rather than tweak the mechanicals.

Still, at least that means the car is as easy to drive as ever. Our test car was the D4 FWD in SE Nav tri. Its progressive and lightly weighted steering is paired with pedals that aren’t too heavy, while the high driving position allows great visibility. We’re just not so keen on the long clutch travel and the imprecise six-speed box.

The loud, gruff, five-cylinder engine is showing its age. There’s a lot of lag, and not much low-rev response. When the turbo does kick in, the 400Nm of torque makes the steering wheel squirm in your hands – the new range of small-capacity four-cylinders set to debut in Volvo’s next XC90 late in 2014 can’t come soon enough.

There’s decent grip, however, and while the drive isn’t as sharp as, say, a Range Rover Evoque or BMW X3’s, you do get a soft, comfy ride and great seats that make for easy long-distance trips.

Volvo is hoping the car’s fresh look will lure in buyers. There’s a new bonnet with a big, U-shaped furrow running from the A-pillars down over the new grille. It’s a cleaner, sleeker design, helped by the fact that the washer jets have now been hidden away.

The sculpted new bumper has larger, wider-set daytime running lights to make the car look more planted on the road. The tidier grille gets a bigger Volvo logo and a less obvious radar sensor design. This controls the adaptive cruise and is part of the pedestrian detection system that can now autobrake for cyclists.

Modern-looking headlights have prominent main-beam bulbs that add some visual aggression. The final touch is the addition of body-coloured trim – this even extends to the matt grey plastic lower cladding, and gives the car more of a premium feel.

As the XC60’s cabin has always been a strong point, tweaks here are minimal – the most obvious change is the use of the TFT dials from the V40. There’s also a new gearknob, while options include ambient lighting and a heated steering wheel – no surprise for a car developed in Sweden.

So although the individual updates are quite small, they add up to a large number of changes. And together they make the XC60 a far more upmarket proposition than before.

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