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In-depth reviews

Volvo XC60 review - Engines, performance and drive

Performance is good, but the XC60 is more about relaxed progress than sporty handling

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£47,465 to £69,720
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The Volvo XC60’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform means it shares a lot of parts with the larger XC90 SUV, and both models also use the same set of four-cylinder engines. There are no six-cylinder versions of the XC60, with Volvo instead relying on hybrid power and big turbochargers to compete with larger-engined rivals for pace. 

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At the front, double wishbone suspension helps improve agility and comfort on the road, while the integral-link rear setup with a transverse leaf spring helps to keep weight down and improve boot space. Volvo offers an Active Four-C Chassis system as standard on the Ultimate trim, which adds adaptive dampers and air suspension at the rear.

Bumpy British roads provided a tough test when we drove a XC60 with the air suspension, but it handles this sort of tarmac with a reasonable level of composure. 

In the suspension’s Comfort mode, the XC60 balances agility and comfort well. It’s not perfect, and on larger alloy wheels the Volvo can lose its composure when it hits a bump while cornering. But overall the car still provides a good balance between involvement and ride comfort. 

The steering is lighter in the Scandinavian SUV than in its rivals, but it’s well weighted and gives you confidence in placing the car. It does lag behind rivals such as the BMW X3 and Jaguar F-Pace when it comes to dynamic ability and enjoyment, but in this class, that’s not such an issue, because owners will be more interested in ride comfort. It’s a shame, then, that the XC60 feels a little harsher than the X3 on rougher roads.

Most XC60s come on steel springs which Volvo says will translate to a firmer ride. Visibility all around is good, making the car easy to drive around town, although myriad sensors and cameras are there to protect you.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

It might be a premium mid-size family SUV, but the XC60 is surprisingly no slouch. Every XC60 features all-wheel drive, has a top speed of 112mph, and even the mild-hybrid B5 petrol model can do 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds. The B5’s four-cylinder turbocharged engine produces 247bhp and 350Nm of torque. 

Volvo's 'Recharge' lineup of plug-in hybrids includes the 345bhp T6 and the 449bhp T8 models, which also produce 659Nm and 709Nm of torque, respectively. The Recharge T6 can sprint to 62mph in 5.4 seconds, while the more potent T8 will complete the same benchmark sprint in 4.6 seconds. 

The electric motor in the plug-in hybrid XC60s produces ample power for when you’re driving around at low speeds around town, and when the engine does come to life, it’s almost seamless, with just a slight hum alerting you to its presence.

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