When launched in Australia in late 2008 the Volvo XC60 was described by the Swedish company as being a cross between a coupe and an SUV. But, we feel it’s a genuine SUV, certainly by the definition of SUVs today.
Keep in mind that the XC60 is designed for use on Swedish roads that are likely to be snow and ice covered for months at a time, particularly in the northern areas of that country. However, it’s also suited to Aussie bush conditions, and obviously to snowfields in Australia.
Almost all had all-wheel-drive in the early days, but new models, usually the lower-cost introductory entry variants, have two-wheel drive (the front wheels). These are slightly lighter than the AWD units and modern anti-skid electronics will generally give them more than enough grip.
The midsize SUV’s styling is significantly bolder than anything offered by Volvo before. The front grille is big, stands tall and has a large Volvo ‘iron mark’ symbol in the centre. The wedge shape of the body as it tapers to the rear works well. The very Volvo taillights make full use of the big ‘shoulders’ of the chunky wagon body.
Hindsight says XC60’s shape was the start of a new era for Volvo, which has returned to being a style leader after too many years in the boring but practical era.
Inside, there’s genuine space for four adults, and a fifth still without too much hip and shoulder rubbing. The front seats are large and support reasonably well. Boot space is also good.
The XC60 is almost car-like in the way it handles bends. Naturally, you can feel that it has a higher centre of gravity than a car, but the levels of road grip are much higher than those likely to be attempted by most owners – especially if Mum and the kids are on board…
At its launch Volvo claimed the XC60 was probably the safest car on the road. Major safety items include front, side and curtain airbags, ABS brakes with emergency brake assist, stability and traction control, lane departure warning, collision warning with automatic braking, blind spot information system and driver alert control.
Other features were added over the years, some as part of updates, but others were extra cost options. A Volvo dealer can check on the safety features of an XC60 you’re considering and give information on it.
The 2013 model, actually launched in August 2012 had some design changes but Volvo, being Volvo, had a strong emphasis on safety, with an automatic headlight dipping, automatic wipers and the reading of speed limit and other roadside sign.
An interesting model is the XC60 R-Design, a semi-sporty model with firmer suspension, a body kit, colour changes and interior upgrades in the trim.
Volvo XC60 has a fascinating array of engines. Four, five- and six cylinder petrols that runs sideways across the front of the car, a turbocharged V6 petrol and turbo-diesels. A new design diesel powerplant was introduced in January 2010, it retained the same five-cylinder layout and 2.4-litre capacity as the previous unit, but is an all-new design with twin turbochargers rather than the single turbo of the previous engine. There’s also a four-cylinder diesel with capacities of 2.0 and 2.5 litres. Automatics have six or eight forward ratios.
Volvo Cars is long established in Australia with a dealer network that covers all metropolitan areas as well as quite a few country centres.
Service, repair and parts costs for the XC60 are about average for a vehicle in this class and we have heard of no real complaints about the availability of spares.
Check on insurance costs with several companies as there seems to be a bigger than average spread in premium charges.
A virtually all-new Volvo XC60 was introduced to us Downunder in October 2017. It’s still too new to be considered in this used car review. Suffice to say they have moved upmarket in equipment, prices and general ride comfort. There’s little doubt Volvo Cars wants to take on the prestige Germans in this class. Oh, and it was voted Word Car of the Year in 2018.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Volvo XC60 had more than its fair share of recalls during its early years, possibly because it was involved in an uneasy relationship with Ford when the American company took control from 1999 to 2010. Chinese automotive company Geely now owns Volvo Cars and things are significantly better.
Go to www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/volvo/ for details.
Look over the body for signs of damage or crash repairs.
Check the interior, particularly the luggage area, for signs of scratches or tears.
Few XC60s are ever taken off-road but if you do come across one with scratches on the lower bumper corners and the door sills it may have been on outback tracks.
Listen for suspension noises, especially on rougher roads, there’s no need to find a dirt road for this, many suburban roads in poor condition will show up any problems.
Similarly, sand underneath the Volvo or on the inner guards may have been it’s had a play on a beach.
Engine oil and filter changes are important on any turbocharged engine, check the service books.
Ideally servicing should have been done by an authorised Volvo dealer, however there are some quality specialists who understand the vehicle well as they may have worked with Volvo in the past.
Automatic transmissions should be smooth and all but imperceptible on their changes at low throttle openings. Some shift feel at big openings is acceptable, but too much may indicate auto problems.
Expect to pay from $7000 to $11,000 for a 2009 Volvo XC60 3.2; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2009 D5; $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2010 D5 R-Design; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2012 T6; $19,000 to $25,000 for a 2012 T6 Teknik R-Design; $23,000 to $31,000 for a 2014 T5 Kinetic; $26,000 to $35,000 for a 2015 T5 Luxury; $31,000 to $42,000 for a 2015 T6 Luxury; and $42,000 to $54,000 for a 2017 D4 Inscription.
CAR BUYING TIP
Check logbooks for evidence of routine maintenance. Then compare the distance travelled in these books with the reading on the car’s odometer. We’ve seen more than one car that’s done many more kilometres on paper than on their speedo.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/