Two SUVs – XC60 and XC90 – topped the sales charts for Volvo Australia last year, with the handsome XC60 number one. Volvo has just given the XC60 a ‘freshen-up’ with some extra goodies making the value-for-money equation even better.
Volvo is now back to its best – one of the sharpest acts in the automotive industry. In fact Volvo made some bold claims at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show about future powertrain and model developments which have the entire automotive world watching the Swedish brand closely.
Innovation, technology and safety remain at the core of the Volvo DNA – and all are on display in the Volvo XC60 T5.
Volvo XC60 T5 Overview
Car Showroom tested the entry-level Volvo XC60 T5 – its $54,990 sticker representing remarkable value for a family-sized European SUV. The only Euro close on price is Volkswagen’s all-new Touareg, but you’ll need $77,900 for petrol power from the Wolfsburg (Germany) brand.
Where the Volvo XC60 scores points with many buyers is its size. The Volvo isn’t as gargantuan as some SUVs but still measures-up for family use.
To achieve that, throw-in the wonderful Scandinavian-style interior, handy performance balanced by good fuel economy from the latest-technology, direct injection turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and you’ve just about nailed ‘Socially Responsible European SUV.
Volvo XC60 T5 Engine
Volvo’s T5 engine was a late inclusion in the XC60 range. It’s a 2.0-litre GTDi (Gasoline Turbo Direct Injection) all-alloy design which complies with Euro 5 emissions regulations.
Maximum power is 177kW at 5500rpm and peak torque of 320Nm is delivered from 1800-5000rpm. Zero to 100km/h in 8.1 second illustrates how spritely the Volvo V60 T5 is.
Combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 8.7l/100km and exhaust C02 emissions at 207g/km.
Volvo XC60 T5 The Interior
Good as the Volvo XC60 interior was, some significant inclusions were included in the recent upgrade packages. Luckily there has been no change to the standout Scandinavian design.
For us, rear-view cameras are a safety ‘no-brainer’ and Volvo now has one standard in every XC60. The power-operated tailgate is also now standard (we wish every SUV had this feature) and there’s a new standard multimedia system with the screen size lifted to seven inches and the CD player replaced with DVD readability and Bluetooth audio streaming.
Drivers will appreciate the high-quality three-spoke leather steering wheel with rake and reach adjustment combining with the usual high-quality Volvo seats to deliver a great driving position. And we give a big tick to Volvo V60 for its simple steering wheel-mounted push-button operation of cruise control (also buttons for audio operation).
Instrumentation is the usual high-standard Volvo presentation with conventionally laid-out, chrome-trimmed gauges in a curved binnacle.
The Car Showroom juniors commended the high rear seating position in the Volvo V60 and a weekend beach-house getaway confirmed the practicality of the split-fold rear seat and large luggage area.
Volvo XC60 T5 Exterior & Styling
Volvo’s stylists certainly sharpened their pencils when crafting the XC60. You struggle to think of another family-size SUV with the visual appeal of the handsome Swede.
The Volvo XC60 doesn’t have a poor view. Front: nice Volvo grille, modern incorporation of the headlights into the front fenders and deeply sculptured bonnet. Side: curved waistline for added width, nice sloping side glass, stylish 17-inch alloys (T5 as tested). Rear: slick vertically-stacked tail-lights and large hatch glass for a distinctly Volvo look.
It’s all very cohesive and in some ways perhaps more wagon-like than many full-size SUVs.
Volvo XC60 T5 On The Road
The Volvo XC60 has been near the top of the Car Showroom SUV list since we first tested the stylish Swede – so we were keen to drive the updated version in T5 form. This time around the drive experience did nothing to change our minds about the unquestionable qualities of the Volvo XC60 and when you factor-in value-for-money (as you always should) really this Volvo stands head and shoulders above the crowd.
Around town you quickly appreciate why the Volvo XC60 has become so popular with family buyers. Despite its family-friendly dimensions, the XC60 affords excellent all-round visibility, is nimble like very few other SUVs and the turbo 2.0-litre easily handles rapid freeway merging. In our tight CBD car park, the Volvo XC60 with its 11.7-metre turning circle figuratively raised its middle finger as it accounted for the confined spaces with aplomb.
Over our high-speed mountain roads test loop, the Volvo XC60 was mostly precise, refined and predictable – as you expect from Swedish cars. Suspension is the tried-and-proven coil-over-strut front end and multi-link rear, so we were a little surprised at some harshness on the poor secondary roads we submit our test cars to.
Overall though, once again the Volvo XC60 impressed with its total package. And in that context we should add the T5 version (177kW/320Nm, turbocharged 2.0-litre) makes a lot of sense – performance, interior space and fuel economy are today’s automotive real-world combo and the Volvo XC60 delivers in the SUV segment.
Volvo XC60 T5 Challenges
Comparing the Volvo XC60 in T5 model grade gets tricky - because it’s such good value - but purely talking driving dynamics, the more expensive, all-new Volkswagen Touareg V6 FSI is just a bit sharper than the Volvo in the high-speed twists. And, in-turn, the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML are sharper than the Touareg – but a lot more expensive.
How much would you be prepared to pay for high speed dynamics?
Volvo XC60 T5 Verdict
On balance, we would buy a Volvo XC60 T5 because it’s so balanced – big enough for family needs without feeling like you deserve your own postcode and the 2.0-litre turbo delivers enough grunt without the need for six cylinders.
Volvo safety, Volvo technology, Volvo design and the Volvo interior all score big points with us.
The sharper chassis dynamics provided in Volvo’s R-Design models (D5 and D6 in the XC60) would be a quandary were we sitting in a Volvo dealership cheque book in hand…desirable no doubt, but a lot more coin that the standard Volvo XC60T5 model we tested.
Volvo XC60 T5 The Competition
Volkswagen’s new Touareg now looks much more engaging than its predecessor, but the only petrol version (V6 FSI) at $77,990 makes the $54,990 Volvo XC60 T5 look great value (albeit the Touareg outguns the Volvo 206kW/360NM to 177kW/320Nm).
For the same money as the Volvo XC60 T5, you can snare an Australian-made Ford Territory in range-topping Titanium grade specification but rear-wheel-drive only. The 4.0-litre V6 Territory with 195kW/391Nm has a bit more under-bonnet than the Volvo, but the Swede counters with its classy Scandinavian interior and all-paw grip.
The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee is also a recent arrival and packs a lot of punch for its $45,000 starting price. Limited model ($55,000) has plenty of kit and 210kW/347Nm from its V6 petrol engine. Depends what flavor you prefer your SUV - hot dogs or meatballs really.