This week we’ve had the Volvo XC60 D5 SE Lux in for review, complete with all wheel drive and Volvo’s old-school 5-cylinder diesel engine.
When you think of more compact SUVs, the Volvo XC60 isn’t necessarily the car you first think of, with offerings like the BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque attracting far more attention and making a much bigger statement than the rather reserved XC60.
But it seems car buyers in Europe aren’t as obsessed with making a statement with their SUVs as the tabloid press would have you believe, because the Volvo XC60 is currently outselling both the X3 and Evoque right across Europe, partly thanks to its grown-up take on a more compact SUV, and partly because it can be had with the new Drive E engines.
We’ve already seen how good the new D4 Drive E engine is in our review of the S60, but the car we have in this week for review – the Volvo XC60 D5 Geartronic SE Lux Nav – is a 4WD XC60, so it still has the old 5-cylinder diesel engine because Volvo don’t seem intent on delivering the new Drive E engines in the 4WD XC60 any time soon (and maybe not until the next generation XC60 arrives, probably late next year).
So is the XC60 with the old D5 engine still appealing enough to stand up to the competition?
XC60 D5 – Inside & Out
Volvo gave the XC60 a bit of a facelift a couple of years ago, with a wider looking front end, tweaked lights, new bumpers and more prominent lines, and despite the age of the XC60 it still manages to look current and appealing in a pleasing, non-threatening, very Volvo kind of way.
The look is helped by the 20″ Inscription alloys (a hefty £1200 option), but they serve to compliment the passive aggressive look of the XC60 rather than looking overtly blingy.
The interior is still Volvo good, although it’s starting to feel a little dated now we’ve seen the direction Volvo interiors are going with the new XC90. That said, and especially with the options on this car, the interior is still a great place to be.
Those options include the Inscription Pack which adds stuff like soft leather upholstery, leather instrument panel and soft leather armrests (a £2500 option), with the Winter Illumination Pack (£675) adding heated front seats and windscreen, additional pretty lights and auto dimming mirrors to the interior.
Volvo has also fitted the Security Pack (another £700) for keyless entry and start as well as laminated windows and water repellent front windows (can’t say we really noticed the effect).
All these extras (and more) push the price of the XC60 up from its base price of £38,590 to a hefty £52,920, but they do make the interior a very nice place to be, with the new digital instruments making the XC60 feel up to date, even if the plethora of buttons don’t. But once you’re used to them they’re very intuitive and easy to use.
XC60 D5 AWD – Performance on the road
You don’t really buy a Volvo crossover/SUV for its sporting prowess, but that said the XC60 is more than adequately lively and dynamic.
Taken in isolation, the D5 diesel under the bonnet delivers a decent amount of power and torque – 212bhp and 310lb/ft of torque – enough to make the XC60 feel both responsive and lively.
But the problem the D5 XC60 now has is that it still has the old five-cylinder diesel engine which, in comparison to the new four-cylinder Drive E engines, is a bit vocal and a bit rough. But it’s still a decent powertrain. As is the gearbox, although its six speeds now feel a bit last century.
And it’s a powertrain and gearbox combination that lets you row on quite convincingly, with body-roll kept well in check most of the time (better than the Range Rover Evoque, if not as good as the BMW X3), and steering that seems accurate, if a little lacking in feeling.
But all SUVs are something of a compromise, and in many ways the XC60 is still one of the best around.
It can carry five-up in comfort, it handles more than adequately and has performance that never makes you wish for a lot more (well, most of the time).
It’s also decently economical for what is a far from small and light SUV. Officially, Volvo say you should get 44mpg (the less than modern six-speed auto ‘box makes the XC60 auto a chunk less economical than the manual, which delivers 53mpg), although we managed around 35mpg.
XC60 D5 AWD – Verdict
For a car that’s really a long way from the first flush of youth, the XC60 acquits itself remarkably well.
The cabin is a very nice place to be – even if it is a bit of a button-fest compared to more recent offerings – and even without the extreme spec Volvo has put on our test car it’s still very well equipped.
Not only is the XC60 well-equipped, it’s also a design that still stands up – both inside and out.
The exterior design is wonderfully non-threatening to other road users, and still looks contemporary (last years design tweaks have helped there).
The interior may seem a little dated now with its masses of buttons, but they’re very intuitive to use once you’re used to them, it’s uncluttered and practical, the seats are great (in the front and back) and the isolation from road noise is good (even if the D5 engine is a little vocal when pressed or cold).
But if we were going out to buy a new XC60, we’d probably forego the D5 with its 4WD and plump for the D4 with the new Drive E engine as soon as it’s available.
But if you’re looking for a second-hand XC60, you could do an awful lot worse than grabbing a D5 AWD like this (especially with its big spec) for a really good family car that will do just about everything you could possibly want to.
It’s really not surprising the XC60 is still one of (if not the) best-selling car in its class in Europe, and if the XC60 can still be this good so far in to its life, just think how good the next XC60 is going to be.
Volvo XC60 D5 Geartronic SE Lux Nav Quick Tech Specs
- Engine: 2400cc, 212bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 8.3 seconds / Top Speed 127mph
- Economy: 44mpg – Official / 34.9 mpg – Test
- Emissions: 169g/km
- Price: £38,590 / £52,920 as tested
- Test car supplied by Volvo UK