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2018 Volvo XC60 T6 quick review

By Andy Enright, 12 Feb 2018 Car Reviews

2018 Volvo XC60 T6 quick review

The punchiest purely petrol-powered XC60 appears a tempting proposition but is it as good as it looks on paper?

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

Without issuing too much in the way of spoilers, Wheels’ reigning Car of the Year doesn’t do too much wrong. Lifting the curtain a little on the COTY judging process shows that Volvo supplied an XC60 D5 diesel and an XC60 T8 hybrid range-topper for the event. The petrol-powered T6 was absent, so we wanted to discover whether we missed out on a gem or if the T6 was a makeweight in the Volvo XC60 firmament.

Up against the likes of the Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI and the BMW X3 xDrive30i, the XC60 T6, offered only in ritzy R-Design trim, is fitted with a 235kW 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that’s both supercharged and turbocharged.

Pricing opens at $76,990, with standard all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s generously stuffed with gear and packs a whopping 50kW more than the aforementioned Germans, in case you were wondering how Volvo has the chutzpah to charge three or four grand more.

STRENGTHS

  • The XC60 T6 is seriously quick, demolishing the sprint to 100km/h in just 5.9s. That’s almost half a second quicker than the equivalent Audi Q5 and BMW X3. 
  • The interior feels far more of an event than the BMW’s and on-par with the slick Audi. Build quality is reassuringly Swedish with beautiful execution of wood and metal finishes.

  • Fitted as standard with a huge suite of slick safety gear and semi-autonomous driver aids, the XC60 has registered the highest ANCAP safety score (when tested).
  • The combination of turbocharger and supercharger means that you’ll rarely have to stress the engine to make respectable progress, with its 400Nm of peak torque arriving at just 2200rpm. In other words, you only need to tickle the throttle to wake the engine up.
  • With a claimed 8.0L/100km fuel consumption figure, the XC60’s fuel consumption is respectable and its relaxed feel means you’ll get closer to this figure than in many sportier rivals.

  • The R Design gets equipment such as Nubuck leather trim, sports seats, R-Design body styling, the firmer Sport chassis, 21-inch alloy wheels on top of kit like a head-up display, PilotAssist, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, a 360-degree camera and that lovely portrait-oriented 12.3-inch colour display.
  • The driving position is excellent with stacks of adjustability and plenty of leg and headroom even for very tall drivers. What’s more, the optional panoramic glass roof doesn’t rob you of much in the way of headroom.
  • The infotainment system is intuitive and comprehensive. Sat nav is easy to get to grips with and the media player will display a full playlist from your smartphone, allowing easy selection of tracks on the fly.

WEAKNESSES

  • To ride at its best, the XC60 T6 requires air suspension. This is a $2490 stand-alone option or, for $7500, you can get it as part of the Premium Pack which also adds heated front seats, a panoramic roof, tinted rear glass, power folding rear headrests and a hugely impressive (and glitzy-looking) Bowers and Wilkins premium stereo system.
  • The steering on the XC60 feels aloof at first acquaintance. It’s accurate and consistently-geared but doesn’t offer much in the way of feedback. 

  • At 505 litres, the boot is about 10 percent smaller than the 550-litre class norm. The rear seat is also a 60/40 split which lacks the 40/20/40 versatility found in the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
  • The four-cylinder engine doesn’t sound particularly melodic if you’re in the mood to really extend it.
  • To get that clean look to the fascia, a lot of controls are marshalled by the touch-screen. Some buyers find this distracting.

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

The Volvo XC60 finds itself up against formidable rivals in the shape of the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Range Rover Velar, Porsche Macan and Mercedes GLC. It’s so packed with thoughtful details that it makes an easy recommendation for those looking for comfortable family transport, although do factor in the additional cost of the air suspension. The T6 variant in particular is the most cost-effective way to buy into the slick R-Design trim level but an optioned-up D5 diesel probably represents a more tempting choice for most families.