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Volvo XC60

THE SMART UTILITY VEHICLE (some text hidden) --NONE--

By Jonathan Crouch

If you're thinking of buying a premium badged mid-sized SUV, you might not be thinking of buying a Volvo XC60. Perhaps you should be. Jonathan Crouch drives the lightly revised version

Ten Second Reviewword count: 69

Think of a premium-badged mid-sized compact SUV and you probably think of something German - an Audi Q5 perhaps, or maybe a Mercedes GLC or BMW X3. We'd also suggest though, that you should be looking at the car we're going to test here, the enhanced version of Volvo's second generation XC60. It's a now a rejuvenated proposition with the option of both mild hybrid and Plug-in hybrid tech.

Backgroundword count: 169

The first generation XC60 was the car that established Volvo in the minds of buyers in the mid-sized SUV segment. In nine years of production, it became the best selling car in its class in Europe, will nearly a million units sold annually, and accounted for 30% of Volvo's total global sales. Hence the crucial importance of this second generation which, along with the smaller XC40 model, is a key part of the Swedish marque's future SUV strategy. This MK2 model XC60, first launched in 2017, shares its platform with its larger XC90 stablemate but isn't quite such a revolution in terms of its design as that model was at launch. Nevertheless, there's ground-breaking safety tech and smart looks that'll eat into the sales of key rivals like Audi's Q5 and the Mercedes GLC. A subtle update in 2021 saw this car smartened up and embellished with extra media and safety technology. Plus diesel was banished and the PHEV variants got bigger batteries and a more powerful rear motor.

Driving Experienceword count: 357

If you were to place entertaining driving dynamics as a priority for your premium-badged mid-sized SUV, then let's be honest, this Volvo probably wouldn't be the first model you'd turn to. But you shouldn't gauge from that an expectation that this XC60 will be a complete duffer when the road turns twisty. It's very far from that, this model described as 'confident and predictable', which is what we've found it to be and precisely what most likely buyers will want it to be. There's unruffled poise and exemplary refinement, plus you get supple standards of ride comfort from the multi-link rear suspension and top variants have the 'Active Four-C' adaptive damping and air suspension package we tried. A standard 'Drive Mode Settings' driving dynamics system allows you to tailor throttle response, steering feel and shift timings from the standard 8-speed auto gearbox to suit the way you want to drive. If you do decide to push on a bit, grip and traction are actually quite impressive aided by the standard AWD system, while cornering body roll is also decently well controlled. All the engines on offer are of a 2.0-litre, four cylinder configuration and come bolted to the same stiff, sophisticated 'SPA' chassis that also underpins Volvo's larger XC90 model. The brand has banished diesel power in recent times, hoping instead to convert customers to the merits of the kind of Plug-in Hybrid XC60 model we're trying here. There are two PHEV variants, badged 'T6' or 'T8', both considerably upgraded as part of this model's mid-term update. Battery size is up from 11.6 to 18.8kWh, facilitating an EV drive range up to around 50 miles; and rear electric motor output has been enhanced from 87 to 145hp. This motor supplements the output of the 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine that both these Recharge variants share and contributes to prodigious power outputs - 350hp for the T6 and 455hp for this T8. If you really don't want to plug your XC60 in, there's a B5 petrol version with a more conventional version of the 'Drive-E' 2.0-litre turbo engine, in this case embellished with 48V mild hybrid tech.

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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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