Used car tests

Used Volvo XC60 review

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

It’s almost a decade since we first drove the XC60, and our initial review was full of praise and criticism in equal measure. Practicality, comfort and interior design were excellent, and the styling very distinctive, but it was held back by woolly steering, disappointing fuel economy and a lacklustre driving experience. Numerous updates addressed some of these problems, and the XC60 is very appealing as family transport, because even now the car has some of the more advanced safety tech available. High running costs are the fly in the ointment as fuel economy tends to be poor, but hefty depreciation means you get more car for your money when buying used.

When Volvo introduced its first SUV in 2002 (the seven-seat XC90), the car proved a smash hit. The brand couldn’t make them quickly enough, so it was inevitable that for an encore a smaller, more affordable SUV would follow; and sure enough, that model arrived in 2008.

The XC60 was engineered to typical Volvo standards and came packed with cutting-edge safety tech, so was another big success for the Swedish company.

We’ve always liked the car in isolation, but the compact SUV market features some very talented choices, some of which put the Volvo in the shade. Still, as an overall package, the XC60 remains hugely likeable, and a worthy used buy. 

Models covered

  • • Volvo XC60 Mk1 (2008-2017) - SUV is stylish and practical, but can be costly to run.

Volvo XC60 Mk1

History

The XC60 arrived in May 2008, with 3.0-litre petrol (T6) or 2.4 diesel engines, the latter in 160bhp 2.4D or 182bhp D5 guises. In May 2009 the 159g/km DRIVe appeared, seven months before the R-Design variant brought a sportier look and sharper chassis to the range.

A new 2.0-litre diesel engine in D3 (160bhp) or D5 (201bhp) forms arrived in August 2010; at the same time, the T6 was boosted to 300bhp. The 237bhp 2.0 T5 turbo petrol engine appearedin March 2011, six months before the D5 engine was uprated to 215bhp.

A new nose, plus cabin and chassis upgrades came in March 2013, along with a 181bhp 2.0-litre D4. From April 2015, front-wheel-drive XC60s (D2, D3, T2, T3) got Volvo’s new, more efficient 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines. An all-new Mk2 model was launched in 2017. 

Volvo XC60 Mk1 reviews 

Volvo XC60 in-depth reviewVolvo XC60 DRIVe reviewVolvo XC60 D4 SE Lux reviewVolvo XC60 D4 SE Nav reviewVolvo XC60 D4 R-Design reviewVolvo XC60 D5 S reviewVolvo XC60 D5 SE reviewVolvo XC60 D5 R-Design reviewVolvo XC60 T5 R-Design reviewVolvo XC60 T6 review

Which one should I buy?

There are very few petrol XC60s around; a T6 converted to LPG could make sense, but diesels have the most appeal.

DRIVe models are front-wheel drive, so are less accomplished at towing but more economical. Manual cars are also significantly more frugal than their automatic (Geartronic) counterparts, and they’re also cheaper to tax; regular updates mean newer XC60 engines are significantly more efficient.

Even the entry-level S has alloys, all-round electric windows, a multifunction steering wheel, plus climate and cruise control. The SE adds electric seats, auto wipers and folding door mirrors, while the SE Lux also features leather trim, heated front seats and parking sensors. 

Alternatives to the Volvo XC60 Mk1

Range Rover’s Evoque is a very enticing rival, with its go-anywhere image, sharp looks and great cabin. But reliability is an issue and running costs are steep.

Less distinctive but more dependable is the Audi Q5, which is well built, gets some efficient engines and is good to drive, if not too engaging. Many of the same attributes apply to the BMW X3, but it’s more entertaining from behind the wheel. If you’re tempted, aim for a post-2010 Mk2 car because the original X3 wasn’t as impressive. Another contender is the Volkswagen Tiguan, but don’t overlook the reliable, keenly priced and plentiful Asian alternatives like the Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, plus the Kia Sportage

What to look for: 

Gearbox

The Geartronic auto box increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions significantly, on D3 models especially.

Brake

Electric parking brake not releasing can be down to a sensor making the car think the driver’s door is open.

Tyres

Have all four tyres balanced, even if only one is replaced. Vibrations that are hard to pin down can occur otherwise.

Door locks

Doors on some early cars can suffer from locking and latching problems if the temperature drops below zero. 

Interior

The Volvo’s stylish interior design doesn’t come across as functional, unlike many SUVs’. With comfortable seats, lots of head and legroom plus strong build quality, the XC60 is hugely appealing inside, and has a calm ambience. It’s well equipped, too. Boot space is pegged at 655 litres with the rear seats up, or 1,455 litres when they’re folded. 

Running costs

A service is needed every 12 months or 18,000 miles or, if Volvo’s long-life maintenance regime is chosen, every two years or 18,000 miles. Check-ups alternate between minor and major, priced at around £250 and £350-£400 respectively, for petrol as well as diesel.

All diesels have a cambelt, which needs changing every 10 years or 108,000 miles; pay around £400 to have the work done or, if part of a full service, budget around £800 to £900. Brake fluid should be changed every two years at £85, while it’s recommended that the air-con is cleaned each service, at £49 a time. 

Recalls

The XC60 has been recalled 33 times; more than any car we’ve featured in our buying guides. Some recalls concerned a few models; others affected thousands.

Some covered minor issues such as faulty fuel gauges, but most were more serious, including airbags not deploying, electrical failures, engines stalling or losing power, gearboxes jamming and fuel leaks. Others included seatbelts not working properly. 

Driver Power owner satisfaction

Ninth place in our Driver Power 2017 new car satisfaction survey puts the XC60 ahead of the Honda CR-V, Range Rover Evoque and Nissan Qashqai. Its top ranking was for safety, while comfort, reliability, build quality, plus the engine and gearbox were also highly rated. Owners’ only criticisms were fuel economy and running costs.

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