2014 VOLVO XC60 REVIEW
What’s Hot: Quality build, clever interior features and good performance.
What’s Not: Not quite as efficient as advertised, getting old.
X-FACTOR: It's improved, decent buying, and a genuine alternative to its premium German SUV competitors - that's Volvo’s XC60.
Vehicle Style: Medium family SUV
Price: $62,890 (plus on-roads), $65,015 as-tested.
Engine/trans: 180kW/350Nm 2.0 turbo petrol 4cyl | 8sp automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 7.0 l/100km | tested: 9.3 l/100km
Despite a facelift last year that freshened up the styling of the midsized SUV, Volvo’s XC60 range is getting long in the tooth.
But still it soldiers on, still capable, and still a decent buy.
Now, for 2014, there’s a pair of new engines. The T5 Drive-E and D4 Drive-E are the new petrol and diesel entry points to the XC60 range, with both offered only in 2WD form.
Thanks to direct-injection, turbocharging and a host of other efficiency-improving measures like engine start-stop and an eight-speed transmission, both motors promise better economy and improved driveability.
Do they deliver, though? We borrowed a mid-grade XC60 T5 Luxury to find out.
- Standard features: Leather seats, power tailgate, keyless entry and ignition, rain-sensing wipers, bi-xenon headlamps, power folding wing mirrors, power front seats, rear parking sensors, reversing camera
- Infotainment: Sat nav, 7-inch colour LCD display, 8-speaker FM/AM radio with single disc CD/DVD player, USB/iPod integration, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.
- Options fitted: Heated front seats, metallic paint.
- Boot capacity: 490 litres, seats up. 40/20/40 split rear seat and fold-up cargo divider.
Aside from a button to disable the start-stop feature, there’s not much that differentiates the Drive-E model from its predecessor.
The rest of the furniture is also familiar, but with the XC60’s reputation for quality and comfort, this is no bad thing.
The leather is supple, the seats firm but supportive, the design is clean (but not terribly adventurous) and everything feels ultra sturdy.
Our only complaint is that the big slab of buttons on the centre stack is still as hard to navigate by touch as ever.
But while the dash layout could use an update, the XC60’s well thought-out rear cabin definitely doesn’t.
The rear bench is not only equipped with two ISOFIX child seat anchorages, but also features two integrated booster seats for when your rug-rats outgrow their baby capsules. Clever design, and one that’ll win over more than a few parents.
There’s also a 12-volt power outlet at the rear of the centre console and face-level air vents built into each B-pillar to keep back seat passengers cool.
The boot space measures 490 litres with the seats up, and if you want to accessorise your Swedish car with some Swedish flat-pack furniture, the XC60 obliges with rear seatbacks that fold flat.
There’s also a small amount of under-floor storage and, though there are no shopping bag hooks, a flip-up cargo barrier goes some way toward keeping your groceries from bouncing around.
ON THE ROAD
- 180kW/350Nm 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol inline four
- Eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Front-wheel drive
- MacPherson strut front suspension, multi-link rear suspension
- Electric power steering, disc brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels
The XC60 T5’s 2.0 litre Drive-E engine makes 180kW of power and 350Nm of torque - stout figures for a small-capacity four-pot.
Backed up by a new eight-speed automatic gearbox and taking drive exclusively to the front wheels, it’s also a decent performer.
The 0-100km/h dash is done away with in 7.2 seconds, and the T5 has ample mid-range torque and minimal turbo lag for excellent driveability.
On-road, it has no trouble flattening a hill, even with a load up. And, thanks to those eight speeds and willing engine, it can quickly summon a brisk burst of speed for safe overtaking.
It steers and rides well on its 18-inch alloys, but, as far as efficiency is concerned, we struggled to get near Volvo’s claim of 7.0 litres per 100km.
Our real-world result of 9.7 l/100km - returned through a mix of regular town and highway driving - is still reasonably good for a family-sized SUV, but pretty far from what Volvo says it’ll do.
Docile drivers may be able to extract better fuel economy from the XC60 T5, but we couldn’t.
ANCAP rating: 5/5 Stars - this model scored 36.53 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: ABS, EBD, brake assist, stability control and traction control are all standard, as is Volvo’s City Safety auto-braking feature.
Passengers are protected by three-point seatbelts, anti-whiplash headrests and six airbags.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The Volvo XC60 goes up against other medium SUV players in the luxury segment. Most carry more brand cachet, and the price gap is not significant.
The XC60 is among the older models in the segment, but its freshened looks and advanced powertrain have given it a new lease on life.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The combination of a newer and more efficient powertrain, along with its updated looks, gives the XC60 a slightly fresher feel. But it’s in a hard fight with rivals that aren't far away on price.
It doesn’t disappoint when it comes to quality though, and in the Luxury trim level tested here it’s also quite well-equipped.
It may be rapidly approaching the end of its life cycle, but it doesn’t feel as outdated as a six year-old design should.
If you’re looking for a premium SUV but don't necessarily want to follow the German establishment, the XC60 is a winning alternative.
It’s just as solid, just as comfortable, just as safe and just as driveable as the Germans, and it’s all wrapped up in a neat, understated Swedish package.
PRICING (excludes on-roads)
- T5 Kinetic - $57,890 (Drive-E)
- T5 Luxury - $62,890 (Drive-E)
- D4 Kinetic - $59,890 (Drive-E)
- D4 Luxury - $64,890 (Drive-E)
- D5 Luxury - $69,990
- D5 R-Design - $73,990
- T6 Luxury - $74,990
- T6 R-Design - $78,990
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