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Review: The Volvo XC60 is out to step on Audi's toes

We road-tested the Volvo XC60 at its international launch in Barcelona.

Image: Volvo Media

VOLVO IS HAVING a renaissance. Over the last few years the Swedish company has relaunched its 90 models to great acclaim. And now it’s the turn of the 60 Series with this, the XC6o, kicking things off.

Volvo has nailed its latest design language. Its post-2014 cars are striking, both inside and out. You can clearly see this design style on XC60 with its clean, crisps lines, big grille and bright Thor’s Hammer headlights, which now extend right to the edge of the grille. It is a very handsome car – it looks more like a high-riding estate than the more standard tall SUV shape of its rivals, and that’s no bad thing.

Source: Newspress

Inside, the bright, airy cabin is a cocoon of soft leather and natural wood. For me, it’s one of the best cabins in this class. It is uncluttered and distraction-free – there are few buttons as most of the car’s functions are operated by the eye-catching touchscreen.

The leather seats are supremely comfortable and the thin design means there’s plenty of legroom in the back. There is plenty of headroom too even with the optional panorama roof fitted. You’ll easily get three children across the back and it wouldn’t be that uncomfortable for three adults either. The boot is also quite spacious offering 505- to 1,432 litres of luggage capacity.

Source: Volvo Media

Being a family car it is mighty practical too with plenty of storage compartments and luxury options like rear heated seats and rear dual climate control to keep all those on-board comfortable. Up front you can get heated and ventilated massage seats as well dual air con and all the usual connectivity. The cars come well specced as standard.

Source: Volvo Media

On the road, the car is comfortable and supple – my test car was fitted with the optional air suspension – and even on large wheels the car felt nicely composed. It’s not sporty or dynamic but it doesn’t pretend to be, which is refreshing.

Source: Volvo Media

Being a Volvo there are plenty of safety features on-board, which Volvo hopes will help achieve its ’2020 Vision’: that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020. Most of these functions work well; some of them are a little bit intrusive especially the Lane Keeping Aid. But you can just turn this function off.

The D5 2.0-litre turbodiesel has plenty of power (235hp and 480Nm) and is quiet, refined and quick – it has Volvo’s PowerPulse that uses pressurised air to pre-charge the turbos to prevent lag. The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive and the all-wheel drive provides plenty of grip. This all adds up to create a confident driving experience.

Source: Volvo Media

From launch the XC60 will be offered with AWD and automatic gearboxes only and will be available with a 2.0-litre 190hp D4 or 235hp D5 diesel engine as well as a T8 petrol-electric hybrid. The D4 AWD starts from €53,950. And yes, this is a big jump in price from the previous generation but next year will see the introduction of a front-wheel-drive manual version which will see the entry price drop.

Overall, the Volvo XC60 is a desirable, drama-free car that gets you where you want to go in utmost style, comfort and safety. It is an innovative and unique car and shows that Volvo is doing things its own way and isn’t afraid of stepping on the toes of the more popular premium players.

READ: How used Volkswagen Golf prices have jumped in the last five years >

READ: Review: How does the new Mazda CX-5 shape up against its SUV rivals? >

About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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