There can’t be a more fashionable type of car currently than a premium SUV. And we’ve just taken delivery of one of the very best in the shape of the Volvo XC60, which held off the likes of the Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLC to be crowned class champion at our New Car Awards last summer.
I headed over to Volvo West London in Chiswick, where sales executive Perry Lodge was delighted to hand over the keys. If first impressions count, the XC60 is off to a great start, because it looks absolutely fantastic in premium metallic Crystal White paint (£950).
While Volvo has succeeded in giving the car a simplistic, classy look, the name of the model we’ve gone for is anything but understated. So say hello to the – sharp intake of breath – D5 PowerPulse AWD R-Design Automatic.
The D5 sits above the entry-level 188bhp D4 model, and with 232bhp transmitted to all four wheels via an eight-speed auto, it promises to deliver 0-60mph in a punchy 6.8 seconds.
We’ve yet to stretch the XC60’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, but it’s clear that it has more than enough muscle for our needs, and is impressively refined, too. The PowerPulse label refers to under-bonnet tech that improves performance by reducing turbo lag.
Although our model is bedecked in the raciest trim, R-Design, don’t be fooled into thinking that the drive is overtly sporty. The focus is more on comfort, with the £1,500 adaptive dampers and electric air suspension taking the edge off any bumps that might catch out the special R-Design diamond-cut matt-black 19-inch alloys.
Inside, there’s the same sense of cutting-edge style. The dashboard is dominated by the nine-inch portrait-style touchscreen that has become a feature of all Volvos since the debut of the XC90 three years ago. All the car’s key functions are controlled via the display, and although on first use the set-up can appear quite daunting, it’s actually fairly straightforward to follow after a couple of outings. There are a lot of menus and sub-menus, but once you work out where everything is, operating them is absolutely logical.
And an example of the attention to detail that has gone into the XC60 is that there is even a branded cloth supplied to wipe away the inevitable grubby fingermarks that amass on the screen after regular heavy usage.
The touchscreen also displays the Sensus navigation with traffic info and lifetime map updates that come as standard on every XC60. But if I’m completely honest, it’s not my favourite sat-nav set-up.
The mapping could be clearer, although I like the fact the standard 12.3-inch active TFT driver’s information display also shows the routing. Yet the navigation got off to a less than auspicious start when it failed to recognise the very first postcode I tapped into it. I reached my destination of Woburn Abbey without any problems, but is it too demanding to expect better of a £50,000-plus car?
The £51,930 total as tested includes a number of options designed to make life with the SUV even more enjoyable.
First up is the £525 Winter Pack, which hopefully we won’t have to make too much use of as summer approaches. This comprises a heated front windscreen and washer nozzles, plus headlight cleaners. Yet the headline act is a truly lovely heated steering wheel.
There’s also Volvo’s impressive Intellisafe Pro safety kit (£1,500), which includes adaptive cruise control, a blind spot information system, cross traffic alert and rear collision mitigation.
All in all, then, the XC60 is shaping up to be a wonderful addition to our fleet. Will it deliver? We’re looking forward to finding out.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.