In-depth reviews

2019 Volvo XC60 review - performance and 0-60 time

It’s a premium mid-sized SUV, so unsurprisingly popular, but is Volvo’s XC60 actually any good?

Evo rating
from £43,845
  • Solid, comfortable, safe and sophisticated, executed with a Swedish flair that now defines modern Volvos
  • Only really advisable as a cruiser; it just gets worse the sportier you spec it

Performance and 0-60 time

Even the most leisurely of XC60s are just about fast enough to keep up with traffic, but beware of entry-level D4 and B4 models as their eight-second-plus 0-62mph time is pretty representative of overall performance. Petrol T5 models are faster on paper (6.9sec), but have to dig so deep into the rev range to access any real grunt that it’s often an uncomfortable exercise. These lower-powered models all sometimes falter with their transmission calibration too, as the eight-speed auto’s underlying efficiency programming makes it reach for the highest gear possible, negatively affecting the efforts Volvo’s gone to to keep the powertrains refined.

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The T6 is a more interesting prospect. However, it’s only available in R-Design trim, so doesn’t quite mesh with the XC60’s laid-back driving demeanour. Still, the T6’s tiny supercharger does usefully fill in the torque hole at rev base, and it feels more than brisk enough at 5.9sec to 62mph. It’s not as smooth or cultured as a BMW straight-six perhaps, but it does at least have an interesting character beyond what you might expect. This same twin-charged engine is then found in both the standard T8 and Polestar Engineered T8. Despite the added instant torque of the electric motor on the rear axle, these models don’t feel dramatically faster than standard T6 variants due to the extra weight of the inherited motors, inverters and batteries. These models will reach 62mph in 5.5sec and 5.4sec respectively.

Without doubt the powertrain that best suits the XC60 is the new mild-hybrid B5, which combines a 235bhp version of the 2-litre twin-turbo diesel with a mild-hybrid system. It’s got plenty of poke, reaching 62mph in 7.1sec, but more specifically, the mild-hybrid system’s very gentle electric boost at low revs makes it a very relaxed and fuss-free partner to what is ostensibly a very laid-back family car. When you need it though, the B5 will extend itself without fuss, all while remaining extremely hushed and smooth. Equivalent Jaguar Land Rover diesels of the same power figure feel like locomotive power units by comparison, with even the German rivals struggling to match the XC60’s impressive isolation from noise and vibrations.

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