Volvo XC-60 T5 R-Design review.
For – handsome, comfortable, high quality, decent performance.
Against – Will brand power hold up residuals?
“Stereo same quality as the best seats in Gothenburg Concert Hall”
Competition – Land Rover Discovery, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC, BMW X3, Jaguar E-Pace, Porsche Macan, Lexus RX, Kia Sorrento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Skoda Kodiaq, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Lexus NX
Volvo has been trying for years to break into the hallowed turf of the German dominated and highly profitable premium sector. Its XC-90 big SUV certainly managed that with some room to spare. Will it’s new smaller XC-60 SUV manage the invasion too?
I’ve been driving the new XC-60 in the towns and hills around Manchester, (and some formidable traffic jams within its suburbs) and it certainly looks the business, both inside and out, and has the poise and waftability on the open road to mix it with the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Whether it has the dynamic ability to compete, I didn’t have the chance to find out. Neither do I give a monkies really because the ability to blast around the Nurburgring is never going to be on the minds of the normal Volvo owner.
What might win them over though is Volvo’s claim that, with its higher priced versions at least, the quality of the Bowers & Wilkins sound system with 15 speakers and 1,100 watts of power gives the same quality as the best seats in the Gothenburg Concert Hall. Sadly I wasn’t able to prove that either, although as your loyal and determined seeker after the truth, I stand ready to be whisked to Gothenburg to find out.
Prices of the XC-60 range start at £37,205 for the D4 AWD Momentum version, but get gather speed very quickly. There’s an impressive range of two litre diesel and petrol engines with all-wheel drive and 8-speed automatic transmissions. A T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid will be available later in the year. That will include a 320 hp petrol engine powering the front wheels and an 87hp electric motor driving the rear ones. Average fuel consumption is claimed to be 134.5 mpg and CO2 emissions 49 g/km with 28 miles of battery range.
This claim for fuel economy is so useless and off the wall as to be unobtainable. Why don’t manufacturers just say the range of battery- only, the fuel efficiency of the petrol engine alone, adding that the results may vary?
Some of you who’ve listened to the BBC lately or read the popular presses may be surprised to see that Volvo still touches diesels, but yes the Chinese owned and Swedish-based car maker hasn’t actually eschewed internal combustion engines yet. A press release saying all new cars launched after 2019 will be electric or hybrid was misinterpreted as tolling the end of petrol and diesel cars. That won’t be the case for some years yet.
Standard equipment includes a 9” touch screen, satellite navigation, leather upholstery, voice-activation system, LED headlights and a power-operated tailgate. There’s City Safety with Steer Assist to provide steering assistance to help avoid low-speed collisions, and a semi-autonomous drive function optional across the range. Deliveries start in the third quarter.
Pilot Assist, Volvo’s semi-autonomous drive feature, is an optional extra. It assists with the steering up to 80 mph and takes care of the acceleration and braking required to keep the car within lane markings and at the desired cruising speed or distance from any vehicle in front. Pilot Assist is another step towards fully autonomous driving, said Volvo.
Every version is also available in highly specified Pro form. Going for Momentum Pro brings powered front seats, a heated steering wheel and windscreen, active bending headlights with adaptive “shadow” technology, and Volvo On Call, Volvo’s connected Smartphone app, which allows you to control various car functions remotely. R-Design Pro benefits from all this, along with 21” alloy wheels and electronic air suspension and adaptive dampers, while Inscription Pro has 20” wheels, the upgraded suspension and a massage function for the front seats. It is nominally a Swedish car, after all.
An optional Xenium package is available across the range and adds a powered tilt and slide panoramic glass sunroof, a 360o surround view parking camera system, and Park Assist Pilot, which includes automatic parallel and 90o parking.
Jon Wakefield, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the brand-new XC-60. Not only does it bring all the style and advanced technology from our larger cars to our best-selling SUV, it is the latest step in Volvo’s transformation.”
What to buy
The CX-60 looks an XC-90’s younger brother and is a delight to drive. The interiors are excellent with soft-feel plastics and high quality leather. The cockpit feel mimics the XC-90. The T5 R-Design version I drove starts at £40,400, and the engine may be 4-cylinder 2.0 litre but it is very powerful and smooth. The suspension soaked up the bumps much better than my humble Suzuki Vitara. With goodies like the big sun roof, the safety package with adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning, various winter weather add ons and metallic paint drove it up to just over £48,000.
Has the XC-60 caught up with the Germans? I would say definitely yes. The looks are understated handsome unlike BMW’s actively ugly smaller SUVs, the bland, inoffensive Audis and the over-styled Mercedes SUVs. The Lexus does look exceptionally awful. I’ve yet to experience the Alfa Stelvio, but hope to in the coming weeks.
(Volvo provided hotel, air fare)
|Volvo XC-60 T5 R-Design|
|Engine:||2.0 litre, 4-cylinder petrol|
|Power:||254 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque:||350 Nm @ 1,500-4,800|
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph 6.4 seconds|
|Top Speed:||137 mph-220 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed average 39.2 mpg-7.2 l/km|
|Suspension:||double wishbone/integral link|
|Competition:||Land Rover Discovery, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC, BMW X3, Jaguar E-Pace, Porsche Macan, Lexus RX, Kia Sorrento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Skoda Kodiaq, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Lexus NX|
|For:||handsome, comfortable, high quality, decent performance|
|Against:||Will brand power hold up residuals?|