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Premium SUV of the Year 2017: Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 is the 2017 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLC commended

Volvo’s XC60 not only edges ahead of last year’s overall Car of the Year, the Jaguar F-Pace, it also tops a brand-new category for 2017. The premium SUV market is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK, and Volvo has nailed it with this second-generation XC60.

The Swedish company has scaled down what made the excellent XC90 so amazingly successful and rolled all its know-how into a desirable, well proportioned and practical five-seat SUV body.

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As with any Volvo, the XC60 comes loaded with all the latest safety kit, making it a great family car, while the luxurious interior and its raft of advanced equipment gives the SUV premium appeal to rival the likes of the F-Pace, Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5.

The XC60 offers a variety of powertrain options – from the excellent D4 diesel to the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. There’s a more powerful D5 and a T5 petrol, too. All cars come with a slick-shifting eight-speed auto gearbox, and four-wheel drive is standard across the range. The engine line-up is also hushed at speed, offering excellent cruising refinement, and while the soft suspension has been tuned for comfort, the XC60 handles well for a mid-size SUV.

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But the first thing you’ll notice from behind the wheel is how well built the new car feels compared with its rivals. Volvo has moved the game on with its nine-inch portrait touchscreen, which is offered with tech including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as app connectivity and a 12.3-inch digital dash. There’s even a Bowers & Wilkins stereo on the options list.

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It’s not all about the driver, as there’s plenty of room for adults in the back, while the big, square tailgate reveals a 505-litre boot that offers more than enough practicality. The seats fold totally flat, and there’s even a reversible mat that protects the bumper from getting damaged when loading large, heavy items.

Volvo XC60 - rear

The Volvo is our undisputed premium SUV champion, but with updated rivals on the way – including a fresh BMW X3 – it will have its work cut out to stay on top in 2018.

Our choice 

Volvo XC60 D4 Momentum (£37,205)

The XC60 in entry-level Momentum trim comes with all the kit you’ll need, including 18-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation and cruise control. Plus, as you would expect from Volvo, there’s also an impressive level of safety tech. To smart styling, plenty of practicality and a top-quality cabin, the D4 engine adds power, strong refinement and efficiency, giving the XC60 an attractive list of overall talents.

Commended

Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar F-Pace - front

Last year’s overall Car of the Year only manages a commendation in 2017, but the Jaguar is still a fine premium SUV. It’s spacious, great to drive and has a wide engine range with two gearboxes and rear or four-wheel drive. Sharp styling, a 650-litre boot and plenty of dynamic ability make up for some average cabin quality. 

Mercedes GLC

Mercedes GLC - front

The Mercedes GLC gets a commendation for the second year in a row thanks to its upmarket interior, refined ride and stylish looks. It offers an incredible level of comfort on air suspension, and its spacious cabin will suit families. The ageing 2.1-litre diesel engine lets it down a little, but Mercedes now offers V6 diesels and AMG-tuned twin-turbo petrols, too.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2017

For complete, in-depth coverage of the 2017 New Car Awards, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...

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