FIRST DRIVE Is high-spec petrol SUV the XC60 to go for?
Turbo petrol version of award-winning SUV hits the road
WE’VE already been highly impressed by the new Volvo XC60. It takes all of what we love from the XC90 and condenses it into a more affordable, smaller package.
There are two petrol models in the range: the four-cylinder turbo T5 and the plug-in hybrid T8 model, which also has a powerful electric motor on board. Here we test the T5 in R-design Pro trim, which is aimed at company car buyers with several popular options fitted as standard.
The higher-spec model wears 21-inch alloy wheels, as well as bigger exhaust pipes and different bumpers. It also has a ‘sports chassis’ and some sportylooking interior trim, including shift paddles behind the steering wheel.
The 251bhp engine packs a decent punch, but it isn’t the best fit for the XC60. The new SUV is set up for refinement and comfort, so doesn’t match the Jaguar F-pace for driving pleasure, and in this spec with this engine it feels compromised.
The huge 21-inch wheels crash into potholes, and the ride is much busier than models running on smaller 19-inch wheels. On a bumpy B-road it feels less composed than an F-pace, which deals better with British roads when driving quickly. Still, the XC60 remains very refined and softens out on the motorway.
While the four-cylinder turbo engine doesn’t sound particularly exciting, it is very quiet around town and is significantly better than the D4 and D5 diesels at low revs. However, the powertrain doesn’t feel as strong as its figures suggest.
We’ve no doubt it has the grip and power to complete its claimed 0-60mph time in 6.4 seconds, but there just isn’t as much shove as you’d expect from a 251bhp engine when you put your foot down to overtake in-gear. It has 350Nm of torque where the D5 diesel has 480Nm, so the latter actually feels more potent on the road.