Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design Lux Nav Review
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Quick Facts
Model spec: Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design Nav Price: £42,710.00 Engine: 2.0-L, 4-cyl, Petrol Turbo
BHP / Torque: 245 / 350 Max Speed: 130 CO2: 157g/km 0-62mph: 6.8 seconds
Economy/Range: 34mpg combined Tax: £185/year

The XC60 was introduced back in 2008, which in car years is… getting on a bit. However periodic updates over those intervening years have kept the XC60 looking as fresh now as it did when it first entered the market. It’s actually based on a Ford platform during a time when Volvo were under the Ford dictatorship.


Similarly, the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, like the XC60, share the same 10 year old Ford platform. Yet another legacy of both companies once being under the cost cutting grip of Ford’s former and far reaching automotive empire. That’s how the automotive world looked back in the day.


We know that an all-new replacement for the XC60 is on the horizon but don’t be discontent with the present offering. We have driven a few XC60’s, mainly diesel but never a petrol version, because in the UK diesel spec cars are by far the most popular choice among new car buyers.


Volvo know this and as a result it only offers just one petrol engine, the T5 2.0-litre, direct injection 4-cylinder turbo which emits 245bhp and 350Nm of torque. Whereas diesel engines traditionally offer more torque, in terms of BHP the T5 is the most powerful engine in the XC60 range for the UK market.


I was expecting the T5 engine mated to the eight-speed auto to be sluggish. Certainly the diesels tend to be, however the XC60 T5 is the fastest model in the range with a very respectable 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds, just under one second less than the most powerful diesel.


But it wasn’t the speed that was appealing it was the overall driveability and usability of the engine and eight-speed auto transmission combined. The XC60 diesel auto model is hesitant under acceleration and when shifting gears. However the XC60 T5 felt more decisive under acceleration and gear changes aren’t as jerky as some reviews have suggested.


An auto transmission sucks a bit of horsepower from the engine to actually power the gear changes, typically 15 percent, often double that. While the XC60 T5 has 50Nm – 70Nm less torque than the diesel it does offer up 25 – 55 more BHP and on balance it seems to make a difference. The T5 Xc60 is only available in FWD and despite being ever so slightly heavier than an entry level diesel it feels much more nimble through the corners.

The nose feels less heavy, it’s much to do with better weight distribution, no AWD system and the fact that R Design models are equipped with enhanced suspension settings. Usually when a car is nimble the ride quality is compromised however that isn’t the case here. Comfort and handling seems to be well measured.

So that gives me a bit of a problem, if I were to put my money on the line for a new XC60 I would traditionally go for a diesel because of the better combined fuel economy and better range. The XC60 T5 mustered a respectable 34mpg on a combined journey, but dropped to 28mpg when being driven through an urban environment.

But you know what? The fuel vs economy issue doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would and I actually do prefer the XC60 T5 over a diesel variant because there is less engine noise and it’s just more responsive all round. The margins are small but it makes a difference for sure.

Of course the XC60 T5 isn’t just about the driveability and engine performance, it’s a premium SUV that actually feels like a premium SUV. It’s available in 4 trim levels, can be specified with either FWD or AWD and is also offered with a six speed manual should you so desire.

The XC60 R-Design Lux Nav trim (it is a long name) starts at £32k for the diesel range while the R-design T5 Auto FWD comes in at £38k, the test car was full to the brim with optional extras and these extra toys boosted the price closer to £43k.

I have commented on the XC60’s interior many times before and it’s the same story the fit, finish, choice of materials is first class. A VW Tiguan by comparison feels more van like and not as cosseting. The XC60’s interior design is still elegant, modern and fresh.

Though it could always have done with a bigger infotainment screen. The maze of buttons on the central console I don’t mind.

Nevertheless it’s spacious up front and although entry to the rear passenger bay is slightly narrow it’s accommodating and fairly roomy once you’re seated. In this spec the XC60 feels like a warm blanket wrapped around you. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or it projects a particularly youthful image.

Boot space isn’t class leading however it’s only a few litres less than it’s rivals but even the XC60’s boot space is more liveable than the competition can muster. Without going into specifics it’s big enough for this class of vehicle.

The T5 is probably the most ‘alert’ model in the XC60 range, it’s Achilles heal is what makes it appealing, the drive-ability and usability of the engine which comes at the expense of fuel economy. However if you like better fuel economy then perhaps you should stick to the diesel range of models. Or catch a bus.

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