There's just something about a new Volvo that I love - maybe it's the fact that people still don't really consider them worthwhile cars for some reason (and oh boy are they wrong) or the preconception that Volvos are still those slow, boxy, boring looking things. But no, they're not - they're far from that!
I still stand by what I said a few years ago when I wrote that I think the XC60 is the best looking car in its class! You might not agree with me and you might be right but the design language they used, how they drew the car and how it ultimately looks just screams elegance pertfectly mixed with sporty features. What do you think?
Performance comes from a Twin Engine setup - an inline, 4 cylinder 2.0-litre petrol unit producing 317HP and 430NM of torque and an 11.6 KWh battery with an electric motor that produces 88HP and 240NM of torque. Combine the two and you get a whopping 405HP and 670NM of torque - yes, that's right, from a VOLVO! That makes for a 0-100km/h time of 5.4 seconds and belive it or not, I actually tested that and I got 5.5!
It pulls extremely well and it has more power than you would ever need. The AWD system helps a lot with that too because it can really put that power down - no problem at all!
The car had an 8-speed automatic gearbox which is not particularly great - it kind of struggles to give you the right gear and it's a bit laggy sometimes. Downshifts can take a bit when you put your foot down but once it decides what gear it needs - Rocket Mode ON! It's basically the only one you can go for since they don't offer a manual.
Don't get me wrong, it’s great when you’re cruising along and all that but if, for example, you’re in Comfort mode and you want to overtake someone - you step on the gas pedal and it takes the car a good 2-3 seconds to react and downshift to get tot that power sweetspot and start the overtaking maneuver.
I know you probably won’t offroad your XC60 but what’s the point of getting an SUV if it doesn’t have AWD, right? The overall feel of this car is that its dead easy to drive around town (very comfortable), you have lots of power when you need it and highway driving is a breeze thanks to all the bells and whistles Volvo offers as optional extras.
Driving the car has its ups and downs. Let’s start with ride comfort which is sublime, especially considering the car was sitting on 19-inch wheels - it just absorbs bumps and potholes with ease and doesn’t send too much of a jolt throughout the cabin. We got the optional air suspension which did an excellent job dealing with our crappy Romanian roads. It's pricey (2,280 Euros) but it's well worth the money!
Handling is good enough! It’s not sporty and it doesn’t claim to be and even though it leans a bit in the corners, you can’t really expect an XC60 to act like a sportscar … and the majority of Volvo owners won’t really care about that anyway. The XC60 grips well and the steering is weighty when you put it in Sport Mode. Even so it remains a little too light for my taste but there’s an upside to that lightness - driving around town where the XC60 is no effort at all!
Refinement is right up there with the big boys - it’s quiet inside, there’s barely any noise coming from the mirrors or tyres. The engine is really muted and since it's a hybrid, you can go full electric for 45-50km in TOTAL SILENCE! I'm still having a hard time getting used to driving in complete silence - not sure why, but I still find it very weird.
Ok, now let’s move to the interior where the three words that come to mind are quality, luxury and simplicity - but I’ll get to that in a second.
I want to start off with the driving position which is absolutely spot on in this XC60 thanks to plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and the comfortable and supportive driver’s seat. The pedals line up with the steering wheel to ensure a relaxed driving position and the dashboard buttons are kept to a minimum.
Everything you touch feels premium and I have to say, Volvo as a company must be the most underrated quality car maker right now. There’s soft plastics everywhere, wood trims, quality materials - every surface you touch feels premium and well put together! The seats are great, there’s very few buttons for you to press as Volvo prefers the more, let’s say minimalistic setup for the infotainment.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about the infotainment system. We get a 9-inch, portrait-oriented touchscreen and a 12.3 instrument cluster screen. They’re both crisp, bright, fast and fairly easy to use. Because it’s a touchscreen and Volvo’s menus are a little different, you might find it difficult to use at first, especially while driving, but you’ll get the hang of it in a day or two. It’s not as straightforward as something you’ll find in an Audi or BMW but it works great and it’s easy to learn!
Being an SUV, you won’t have any issue fitting your entire family + lots of luggage and the XC60 doesn’t fail in that department. The backseat easily fits 3 people and the boot offers you 468 litres of baggage-hauling capacity! You also get 60/40 split-folding rear seats as standard and they can be dropped at the touch of a button, if you pay for that option, of course!
3 things I really like about the XC60:
How it looks! I think this is the best looking SUV in its class right now!
The interior quality! It feels very well made, with quality materials and simplicity in mind.
How safe it is! It has a bunch of safety features that help you in case something goes wrong.
3 things I really don’t like about the XC60:
The gearbox downshift while in Comfort mode - it takes too long to respond.
Some of the options can be pretty expensive!
Instead of the Play/Pause buttons I would have used that space for the climate controls - easier to use than through the infotainment touchscreen.
Would I get this car? Yes, definitely! What's not to like? It's safe, it looks incredible and it drives great!
Price of the tested model: 81,651 Euro (VAT Included) normal price but it had a 12,882 Euro discount taking the price down to 68,769 Euro (VAT Included).
Engine and Gearbox: 2.0 petrol unit with 317HP and 430NM of torque + 11.6 KWh battery with an electric motor that produces 88HP and 240NM of torque coupled with an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Thank you Autoworld Volvo Cluj-Napoca for lending us the car.
Photos by: Clau Morar