What’s in a name? Plenty for Volvo, the Sino-Swedish car maker with its new mid-size
luxury SUV, the XC60, tagged with a string of descriptors to separate each model from
one another. Take, for example our test vehicle, the Volvo XC60 Ultimate B5 Bright: phew!

And that mouthful comes without mentioning vital specifications such as the powertrain –
in this case 2-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder petrol engine, plus eight-speed automatic
transmission and all-wheel drive.

‘Ultimate’ relates to the trim level, B5 to the engine, a turbocharged petrol motor enhanced
by a standard 48V mild hybrid system to achieve higher fuel economy and lower
emissions, while ‘Bright’ (or ‘Dark’) refers to core design elements.

While Volvo is now owned by Geely Automobile, a major automotive brand based in
China, the XC60 exhibits sleek Scandinavian styling, efficient four-cylinder engines and
quality cabin ambiance.

Range-topping Ultimate trim gets matrix LED headlights, 20in alloy wheels, adaptive
dampers, air suspension, a head-up display, a powered passenger’s seat, power-folding
rear headrests and a panoramic roof.

While Volvo was initially slow to catch up, a move to a longer five-year warranty and fixed-
price servicing puts the XC60 on a par with the opposition.

Apart from the Volvo front grille and Thor’s Hammer headlamp display, the XC60 Ultimate
is pretty much out of the standard premium SUV catalogue design-wise. For example, the
vehicle shows off pleasing, if not striking, dimensions from all directions.

The Bright theme of the test vehicle is standard, keeping the same exterior elements as
the core model while the Dark theme, offered at no extra cost, gives new Volvo vehicles a
sportier appearance inspired by the former R-Design model by replacing the chrome
accents with black elements and making way for a more aggressive stance.

With its ‘driftwood d cor’ inlay inspired by the natural forces of water, wind and waves, the
XC60 is a genuine five-seater, with optional Nappa leather accented front seats including
seat ventilation and optional ten-point massage.
A panoramic sun roof allows natural light to flood in, creating a feeling of space for
everyone in the cabin.

A word about the gearshift. Situated on the centre console it’s hard to ignore this genuine
work of art. A product of Swedish crystal glass manufacturer Orrefors, according to Volvo,
it’s all about capturing light to produce a warm feeling for the user more used to freezing
weather conditions. Verdict: Tactile and easy to operate, it also works well in the Aussie
sub-tropical environment.

Those out of touch with the latest tablet-style automobile info systems, may find the XC60
set-up a little testing to start with. In keeping with the minimalist theme of the cabin the
centrally positioned touchscreen is the key to control – buttons, knobs and dials are few
and far between. Persevere, people. The upside is easy access to no-nonsense voice

With Google on hand to supply helpful features, star of the show is undoubtedly an
optional Bowers and Wilkins 1410W hi-fi audio system with 15 speakers and subwoofer
tuned to cabin architecture to deliver impressive surround sound for all occupants.

What’s more, the space can be transformed into varying room modes, including Studio,
Individual Stage, Concert Hall or Jazz Club, via advanced acoustic technology.

Since 2013, Volvo Cars petrol and diesel engines for most markets around the world have
been made at their Sk vde, Sweden, facility. Asian-market Volvo cars have had their
engines produced at the Zhangjiakou, China, plant since 2016.

The latter is the case for the XC60 in Australia with a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder
engine delivering 183 kW of peak power at 5400 rpm and 350 Nm of torque at 1800 rpm via
an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels.

Volvo has built its brand on being a leader in vehicle safety – it developed the three-point
lap / sash seat belt and shared it around, for example – so it’s no surprise that XC60 safety
is five stars. Features include assisted cruise control, auto braking and parking, lane
assist, blind spot alert and rear parking camera.

A head-up display delivers speed, turn-by-turn navigation, and more. The brightness of the
display adapts automatically to light conditions and can be set to suit personal

Settling in to any of the five seats on offer in the Volvo XC60 can be achieved with the
minimum of fuss, none requiring a tall step up as in some SUVs. Shoulder space and leg
room also are up in class.

Firing the engine requires a turn of a centre-console situated switch, and it’s the same
process for shutting it down. It’s a repeat to shut off the motor.

Typically, of a Volvo, the XC60 offers comfortable, quiet and smooth riding, from the stop /
start city commute to motorway cruising. The mild hybrid system unnoticeably doing its bit
for added performance. Expect the XC60 Ultimate B5 Bright MHEV to use close to 7.6 litres
per 100 kilometres of premium unleaded petrol in the combined urban / highway cycle while
putting out 174g of carbon dioxide.

The car’s active chassis with air suspension constantly adjusts ride height and adapts the
shock absorbers to enhance stability and deliver a dynamic and refined ride with maximum
energy efficiency at high speeds. And on demand, Off Road mode can increase ground

Steering, especially, provided positive feedback, while braking – ventilated disc front and
rear – chipped in with the benefit of ‘B’ mode, harnessing engine braking to feed off kinetic
energy produced when the foot is off the brake.

Additionally, creep feature can help at low speed, for example in traffic queues or car
parks. When active, the car moves slowly without use of the accelerator pedal.

While the XC60 is well advanced with present-day automotive technology, it’s worth
remembering that Volvo aims to go fully electric in Australia by 2026, four years before it
does in the rest of the world. While the award-winning luxury mid-size SUV deserves a
look now, it may be worth waiting to greet the new era.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 6/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 6/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 8/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 7/10


Volvo XC60 Plus B5: $72,990
Volvo XC60 Ultimate B5 Bright: $79,990
Volvo XC60 Ultimate B6 Dark: $86,990
Volvo XC60 Ultimate T8 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid: $101,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Volvo dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Volvo XC60 Ultimate B5 Bright 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder petrol, 8sp
automatic, AWD SUV)

Capacity: 1.969 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 183 kW @ 5400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 350 Nm @ 1800 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.6 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 174 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 4708 mm
Wheelbase: 2865 mm
Width: 1902 mm
Height: 1653 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1830 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 71 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres


About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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