This week we’ve had Volvo’s best-selling XC60 SUV in for review and test, this time in range-topping R-Design Lux Nav trim with AWD and Volvo’s Geartronic.
Last month we had the Volvo XC60 D4 SE Nav in for review, a relatively lowly spec XC60 but with Volvo’s new D4 diesel under the bonnet and a six-speed manual gearbox.
But now we’re playing with and XC60 which, on the face of it, offers a lot more with its R-Design Lux Nav trim and AWD, Volvo’s six-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox and the D4 engine.
But as Volvo renew their range there are some gaps that haven’t been filled in with their latest Drive-E engines and new eight-speed automatics, and the AWD XC60 is one of them.
That means that instead of the new 2.0 litre D4 Drive-E under the bonnet, the AWD XC60 has to soldier on with the old 2.4 litre D4 and a six-speed automatic gearbox, and that looks likely to be the case until the 60 range of Volvo’s is replaced in the next year or two.
So can the AWD XC60 still compete even though it’s not got Volvo’s latest oily bits under the skin, or are you better off steering clear and settling for a FWD version?
XC60 D4 AWD R-Design Lux Nav – inside and out
The XC60 has been around long enough to be familiar, although Volvo has managed to subtly update it regularly enough for its to still look contemporary, even though it’s now reaching the end of its life.
But the appealing R-Design trim level – Volvo’s ‘sporty’ treatment which manages to convey the message without resorting to gaudy baubles – gets an R-Design front bumper and grille, silver door mirrors, sports suspension and a nice set of 18″ 5-spoke alloys to set it apart.
Inside gets a bit of R-Design titivation too, sports seats (which are as comfortable and adjustable as you’d expect in a Volvo), a sports steering wheel with ‘R-Design’ logo, sports pedals, flappy paddles for the gearshift (an option), driver’s info display, keyless, sensus and a decent sound system.
Going up a notch from basic R-Design to the Lux Nav trim also throws in leather for the sports seats, power driver’s seat, rear park assist, auto folding door mirrors with puddle lights, power tailgate and bending xenons.
That’s just the (comprehensive) standard stuff, but this car also has a whole gamut of extra safety stuff thanks to the Driver Support Pack, and more toys thanks to the Security Pack, Winter Pack and Family Pack (details below) which all add up to make the XC60 a very nice bit of kit.
Yes, there is a feeling that the interior is starting to date a little, and that the exterior design is not exactly of the moment, but the overall package is high quality and premium, with all you need (and more, thanks to the extras) for a premium family SUV – at a price.
The basic price for this AWD XC60 with the R-Design treatment and Lux Nav trim is £37,890, but that jumps to £44,120 with the extra goodies on this car.
But it does make for a hugely appealing family SUV, cleverly designed to transport a family and their stuff in comfort and sytle without shouting ‘look at me’ from every angle.
XC60 D4 AWD R-Design Lux Nav – Performance and on the Road
We’re sure it makes sense to Volvo to update the D4 engine in the XC60 with the new Drive-E 2.0 litre, but only do it in the FWD versions and not in the AWD.
But that decision leaves the D4 AWD hampered with an engine and gearbox combination that are just not as good as you know they could be. And that’s a shame.
It’s a shame because the old 2.4 litre diesel – although a perfectly competent lump – is a lot more vocal than the new engines, doesn’t feel as sprightly and is a chunk less economical.
Part of the poorer performance is down the AWD powertrain, but the AWD D4 AC60 takes 1.5 seconds longer to hit 62mph than the FWD with the new engines, and its official economy of 54.3mpg is a long way short of the FWD D4’s 62.8mpg.
In fact, in a week of mixed driving (and, admittedly, some lead-weighted right feet) we got 33.6mpg, whereas in a week of similar driving and drivers in the FWD D4 we managed a more appealing 43.7mpg.
But if you live at the end of a long muddy track, or feel you’re likely to be driving in snow for big chunks of the year, the poorer economy, poorer performance and extra noise aren’t enough to make the AWD XC60 a non-starter, it’s just Volvo has shot themselves in the foot by showing what the XC60 is like with the new D4 engine.
But the handling is good – if not exciting – the steering accurate, if a bit devoid of feeling, and it makes a decent fist of delivering a firm-ish ride that can still soak up the worst of the UK’s roads with admirable aplomb. It also poodles around town calmly and easily and makes a good motorway cruiser.
XC60 D4 AWD R-Design Lux Nav Verdict
There is no doubt that, despite being eight years old, the Volvo XC60 is still a fine car, and in R-Design Lux Nav trim it comes with plenty of cosmetic and equipment additions to make it hugely appealing.
If you doubt that, you need only look at the sales for mid-sized SUVs across Europe, and you’ll find the XC60 is the best-seller, with more sales than SUVs you might consider would be leading the sales charts – like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque – and clearly offering a package that suits family life.
The problem is, by delivering the AWD D4 XC60 with the old 2.4 litre diesel and six-speed automatic gearbox, Volvo has managed to highlight how much the new Drive-E engines and eight-speed automatic gearbox have improved the XC60, leaving the AWD with its older engine and six-speed Geartronic ‘box feeling more like a yesterday Volvo.
That said, if you really do need 4WD then there’s plenty to recommend the XC60, but for our money we’d take the FWD D4 with its eight-speed auto ‘box, buy a set of winter tyres (or change the tyres for something like the Michelin Cross Climate) and have 99 per cent of the usability of the AWD XC60 but with the benefits of the new Drive-E engine and gearbox.
Volvo XC60 D4 AWD R-Design Lux NavReview Quick Specs
- Engine: 2400cc, 187bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 9.6 seconds / Top Speed 127mph
- Economy: 54.3mpg – Official / 33.6mpg – Test
- Emissions: 137g/km
- Price: £37,890 / Price as tested £44,120
- Test car supplied by Volvo UK
Test car options
Driver Support Pack – £1,900
- Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake
- Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection
- Adaptive Cruse Control (ACC) and Distance Alert
- Queue Assist
- Lane Departure Warning
- Driver Alert Control (DAC) with Active High Beam
- Road Sign Information Display
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA)
Security Pack – £700
- Keyless Drive (includes Keyless Entry and Keyless Start)
- Personal Car Communicator
- Laminated Windows
- Water Repellent Front Side Windows
Winter Pack with Bending Lights – £375
- Heated Front Seats
- Heated Front Windscreen
- Active Bending Xenon Headlights
- Headlight Cleaning System
- Heated Washer Nozzles
Family Pack – £295
- Integrated 2-Stage Booster Cushions x 2
- Power Child Locks – Rear Doors
- 6-speed Geartronic Transmission £1,485
- Volvo on Call with App £450
- Rear Park Assist Camera £375
- Dark Tinted Windows – Rear Side Doors and Cargo Area £350
- Gear Shift Paddles £150
- Tempa Spare Wheel and Jack £150