It’s been a while since I last tested the Volvo XC60. However, it seems that not much has changed, so this review will be brief. While there have been a few minor upgrades since the launch of the second generation in 2017, such as the revision of the model lineup, the removal of certain model trims, the introduction of typical special editions, and the inclusion of new interior trims and materials, the overall impression is that the second-generation XC60 remains largely unaltered.
Arguably the most significant change or addition is the introduction of mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. While the hardware and UI of the infotainment system remain unchanged, the inclusion of Google Assistant now constitutes an integral part of the software experience.
Voice-activated commands work seamlessly, enabling you to effortlessly control the heating and air vents, open Spotify, and plan a route on Google Maps with such precision that you feel like you are conversing with the computer on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.
But changes are coming, Volvo is poised to shift towards complete electrification by 2030. However, at present, the essence of Volvo remains unchanged. Diesel powertrains persist in its lineup, albeit playing an insignificant role until 2024, after which Volvo will bid farewell to diesel engines permanently.
What hasn’t changed is Volvo’s commitment to quality. The interior exudes premium luxury, surpassing the quality found in a Mercedes or even a BMW. The leather is genuinely luxurious and high in quality, and the seats are exceptionally comfortable. Even a few hard plastics exhibit a high level of quality. To coin a phrase, it’s “good shit”.
The XC60 boasts ample space, providing generous room up front and in the rear, along with a spacious cargo area, seats up or down. Without delving into semantics, trust me on this – the overall design, quality, fit, and finish are truly first-class.
Regarding the engine, I had the opportunity to experience a rare 4-cylinder diesel engine. Upon starting the engine, vibrations become immediately noticeable through the chassis and steering wheel. Although the torque delivers ample power, the discernible disconnect between the engine and gearbox gives it an unrefined feel.
Volvo has consistently not been at the forefront of producing the most efficient internal combustion engines, and this trend remains unchanged. Nevertheless, achieving 42 mpg is a commendable return and is… “good shit”, especially considering the size and bulk of the XC60.
As for the ride and handling, the ride is cosseting, and the handling is satisfactory. However, what I find less appealing is the fidgety steering feel at motorway speeds, necessitating small micro-adjustments to keep the XC60 on the straight and narrow. This is an aspect where the German brands excel — the feeling of stability, being planted on the road, and the ease of driving.
However, the XC60 is not designed to be a sports car, and that’s precisely what I appreciate in an SUV. After all, physics is physics, gravity is gravity, and if you’re seeking sports car-levels of ride and handling, the logical choice is to invest in a dedicated sports car, FFS.
Being reacquainted with the Volvo XC60 has prompted me to reassess my future car needs, and the XC60 displaces the Volkswagen Touareg from the top of my new car list. I appreciate the style, the interior, and its ample size for my needs. I’m not in search of a flashy car, I simply desire something quietly exceptional.
What falls far from any semblance of quiet exceptionality is the current Volvo senior UK PR manager. He is both the light and the dark, seemingly alienated from his humanity, so committed to his ego and so reliant on duplicitous antics. And for this very reason, and none other, the Volvo XC60 scores a DCB rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars.
The issue doesn’t lie with the product; it festers within the cadre managing Volvo’s brand image. They clearly operate a two-tier system lacking in the “diversity” Volvo claims to champion. It is impossible to tolerate individuals who operate in plain sight while being clearly disingenuous.