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Volvo XC60 D3 AWD

With fuel prices on the rise and financial hardships looming downsizing is the new black and the compact luxury S.U.V. is becoming the car of choice.

The Volvo XC60 was one of a host of compact luxury SUVs that emerged on the market over the last couple of years. However the arrival at the end of last year of Land Rover’s Evoque changed the game for crossovers forever. In one clear swoop the Evoque raised expectations and moved everything up a gear. With established rivals such as the BMW X1 and Audi’s Q3 to compete with can the Volvo XC60 still justify its premium price tag?

Test Car
The D3 diesel with all-wheel drive and manual gearbox was the version we tested. This 2.4 diesel outputs 120kW (163bhp) and 420Nm of torque it is good to drive with lots of residual power and the six-speed manual gearbox is slick and light. The sprint to 100kph takes 10.5 seconds and top speed is 190kph.There is also a D5 diesel that outputs 205bhp (151kW). 

The previous model was a handsome vehicle with an aggressive front and a modern Interior so it’s good to see that little changes have been made to the exterior styling of Volvo’s XC60 crossover. It has great road presence and there is a distinct Swedish coolness about the overall styling.

On the Road
The main attraction of the compact SUV is  that they are far more carlike to drive than 4x4s but you still get the benefit of extra ground clearance and the higher seating position. Despite the compact proportions of the XC60 on the road it feels on the large side. The ride is not as good as it should be and while it deals with uneven and jagged road surfaces well it does so at the cost of comfort. It is also not particularly sporty to drive and the diesel engine is noisy.  However, in spite all of this the XC60 is still a likeable car and one you will actually enjoy driving.

The D3 AWD returns 6.8 litres per 100 km on a combined cycle. High CO2 emissions of 179 g/km means road tax is €677 annually. Interestingly the D5 with more than 40bhp more returns the same economy yet manages to dash from 0-100 two seconds quicker and has a top speed of 210kph. Upgrading to the bigger diesel though costs an extra five thousand so a mere €2,500 per second!

Four trim levels are offered – ES, SE, SE Lux, and the sport R-Design. There is also a Special Edition commemorating the Volvo Ocean Race. The entry level ES is well equipped. Upgrading to the SE adds Bluetooth, rain sensor, rear park assist to name but a few while the Lux version is all about interior luxury and adds leather-faced upholstery, power adjustable driver’s seat with memory function along with 18″ alloy wheels. The R-Design or racing package includes an adjusted chassis to enhance the handling and a revised power steering system but is does not come cheap and adds nearly five thousand euros to the price of  the entry level XC60.


Inside the interior design is clean and the ergonomics are excellent. The seats are incredibly comfortable and the interior conveys a sense of luxurious well-being, never has such safety been delivered with such style. Quality materials are used throughout the modern interior and the beige and dark brown upholstery and trim finish off the look beautifully. Inside, there is more than enough room for five adults to ride in comfort. Load capacity is 495 litres with five aboard, rising to 1,455 litres with the seats down.

Our test car was the Volvo XC60 Ocean Race Edition which pays homage to the Volvo Ocean race and comes equipped with sail embroidered motifs and logos.
As expected of a Volvo there is no compromise regarding safety and the XC60 is equipped with Emergency Brake Assist, Roll Stability Control, and Side Impact Protection System are provided. Electronically controlled ABS braking system with EBD and traction control ensures whatever the surface the car stays put.

The Volvo XC60 is a likeable car and it makes an ideal alternative to a traditional estate and will appeal to safety-conscious drivers. But it is now under growing pressure from luxury SUV rivals such as the Audi Q3, Range Rover’s Evoque and BMW’s X1. It does everything well but the rivals do it all slightly better so it’s becoming difficult to justify the premium price tag. On top of it all the XC60 is beginning to feels its age.


Volvo XC60 D3 AWD Manual 120kW(163bhp)

Why you’ll buy one?
Awash with safety features, spacious cabin, practical

Why you won’t?
Pricey, beginning to feel dated

Competitors:  BMW X1, Audi Q3, Range Rover Evoque

LAST WORD: The XC60 is an impressive car with lots to offer and is crammed with safety features but rivals have moved on.

Engine 2.4 common rail diesel putting out 120kW (163bhp) at 4,000rpm and 420Nm of torque at 1,500 – 2,500rpm
Max speed 190km/h
0-100km/h 10.5 seconds
Emissions (motor tax) 171g/km (€667)
Starting price Starting price €43,707 EURO (Test car priced at 47,757 EURO)
Model price range 43,707 – 55,396EURO
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: Five Stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy: 6.8  litres per 100 km (49.6mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up : 495 litres

Filed Under: Road Tests

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