Volvo XC60 (2008-2017) Review

The Volvo XC60 is a handsome and comfortable SUV, but it’s expensive as a used car

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Classy Swedish styling
  • Very safe like all Volvos
  • Entry-level diesel cheap to run
  • Handling not very sharp
  • Some concerns over reliability
  • More powerful engines less efficient
Volvo XC60 prices from £12,295.
Finance from £336.91 / month.

The Volvo XC60 hasn’t quite matched the larger Volvo XC90 SUV’s 12 years on sale, but it’s been around for a good while nonetheless. So although it’s a very accomplished and well designed car, it’s inevitably been overtaken in some areas by rivals like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque and Lexus NX.

It still has plenty counting in its favour, though: it’s very quiet and comfortable inside, and so ideal for long motorway journeys, plus it offers a choice of smooth, powerful diesel engines that (in entry-level front-wheel-drive form at least) will be pretty cheap to run. Also, in true Volvo tradition, the XC60 offers fortress-like safety, evidenced by an impressively high 94% adult-occupant protection score in indeoendent testing by Euro NCAP, contributing towards its overall five-star rating. The XC60 was one of the first family cars to come as standard with automatic emergency braking – a feature that’s become increasingly commonplace since it was launched.

On the downside, the XC60 doesn’t offer the very latest in-car technology and it’s not very entertaining to drive – even in supposedly sporty ‘R-Design’ guise. Efficiency is also not class-leading and the more powerful of the two diesel engines on offer is pretty pricey to fuel and tax. Inside, there’s typically classy and restrained Swedish design, but again, the latest Audis and BMWs have moved on a bit and the Volvo no longer feels cutting-edge.

Basic practicality is good, though: the XC60 can carry nearly 500 litres of luggage with all seats in place and you can expand that to 1,455 litres by lowering the back row. A high roof and boxy shape means five adults can sit comfortably inside without any complaints about heads brushing the roof or knees getting sore. And those powerful diesel engines make the XC60 an excellent tow car, so it’s a great choice for caravanners or horse owners.

Key facts

Warranty Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size 495 litres
Width 1,891mm
Length 4,644mm
Height 1,713mm
Tax (min to max) £30 to £130

Best Volvo XC60 for...

Best for Economy – Volvo XC60 D4 [190] SE 5dr diesel

More than 60mpg is an impressive fuel-economy figure for a large family SUV, and it’s possible if you get the XC60 with 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine, a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. Road tax for this version is a very manageable £30 a year.

Best for Families – Volvo XC60 D4 [190] SE Nav 5dr diesel

The same efficient engine, gearbox and drivetrain combination as above should suit family buyers, and the basic SE trim level – or version – has everything you’ll really need, including the all-important safety equipment. It’s worth getting the SE Nav version with satellite navigation to take some of the stress out of summer holidays and weekend outings.

Best for Performance – Volvo XC60 D5 [220] R DESIGN Nav 5dr AWD diesel

The fastest XC60 engine is the 217bhp D5, which only comes with four-wheel drive. It’s not going to win any awards for efficiency, but it will get the car from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds. R-Design trim level gives it the sport looks inside and out to match.

One to Avoid – Volvo XC60 D4 [190] R DESIGN Lux Nav 5dr AWD diesel

If you want a four-wheel-drive XC60, you may as well push the boat out and get the more powerful D5 version. The four-wheel-drive 2.4-litre D4 is both slower and less efficient than its 2.0-litre D4 front-wheel-drive counterpart. The R Design Lux Nav trim is also too pricey.


March 2008: Volvo XC60 goes on sale in the UK
February 2009: Efficient ‘DRIVe’ version added to range, later applies to all engines
February 2009: Recall of 91 Volvo XC60s for towing eye problem
June 2009: D5 2.4-litre diesel engine joins range
June 2009: XC60s among 4k Volvos recalled for engine fan problem
September 2009: XC60s among 254 recalled for possible engine stalling
December 2009: Recall of 1,700 XC60s for potential fuel leak
March 2010: Recall of 4k XC60s for potential power steering leak
May 2010: New D3 diesel engine added to line-up, later discontinued
February 2013: Mid-life update sees refreshed styling inside and out
September 2013: Updated DRIVe improves efficiency further, later applies to all

Understanding Volvo XC60 names

Engine D5 [220]

Engines: The Volvo XC60 is a diesel-only affair, with 2.0-litre (front-wheel-drive) and 2.4-litre (four-wheel-drive) versions of a 187bhp D4 engine on offer, as well as a more powerful (217bhp) four-wheel-drive-only 2.4-litre D5.

Trim R DESIGN Lux Nav

The XC60 range starts at SE and rises through R-Design, SE Lux and R-Design Lux models. There’s a ‘Nav’ version of each, with standard sat nav.

Drive AWD

The XC60 is available with either front or four-wheel drive (the latter also known as all-wheel-drive, or AWD).

Gearbox Geartronic

Volvo calls its automatic transmission ‘Geartronic’. We wouldn’t really recommend it, as like much of the XC60’s technology, it feels dated next to rivals.

Volvo XC60 Engines

Engines: 2.0 D4, 2.4 D4, 2.4 D5 (diesel)



Efficiency of the D4 diesel engine varies considerably depending on what gearbox and drivetrain you specify it with. Going from the most to the least efficient, the available combinations are front-wheel-drive manual (62.8mpg), front-wheel-drive automatic (60.1mpg), four-wheel-drive manual (54.3mpg) and four-wheel-drive automatic (49.6mpg).

The front-wheel-drive versions are 2.0-litres and four-wheel-drives 2.4 litres, but the power output for both is a reasonable 187bhp. We prefer the manual, as Volvo’s ‘Geartronic’ automatic is no longer cutting-edge technology and can seem slow-witted next to more advanced eight and nine-speed transmissions from rivals like Mercedes and Land Rover.

The more powerful 2.4-litre D5 diesel engine is four-wheel-drive only, but also offers the choice of standard manual or ‘Geartronic’ automatic transmission, with the latter again being the less efficient option. Power-wise, there isn’t a great deal in it: you won’t really notice the D5’s extra 30bhp or so in everyday driving situations, although caravanners may appreciate its extra grunt when towing on an incline. That leaves the front-wheel-drive manual D4 as the best option for most buyers, particularly those who like to keep an eye on running costs.






0 - 62mph

top speed

2.0 D4


60.1 - 62.8mpg




2.4 D4


49.6 - 54.3mpg




2.4 D5


49.6 - 54.3mpg




Volvo XC60 Trims

Trims: SE, SE Lux, R-Design, R-Design Lux


All Volvo XC60 models are well equipped and with your sensible hat on, you’ll probably struggle to see past the entry-level XC60 SE version, as it has probably everything you’ll realistically need, such as climate control, parking assistance, a power-operated tailgate, power-folding mirrors, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity. It is worth upgrading slightly to the SE Nav model for its built-in sat nav, though.

SE Lux is identified by Volvo as the most luxurious XC60, thanks to its leather-faced seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, active ‘bending’ xenon headlights and 18-inch alloys. Again, there’s an SE Lux Nav ‘sub-variant’ with sat nav as standard.

The Volvo XC60 R-Design represents the sportier side of the SUV’s range. Underneath, it has an ‘R-Design chassis’ for sharper handling (but poorer ride quality). Outside, there are sporty touches such as 18-inch alloy wheels, matt-silver mirrors and chrome exhausts. Inside, you get sports seats and aluminium dashboard trim.

The R-Design Lux adds a layer of luxury to the R-Design’s sportiness in the form of leather-faced seats, power-folding mirrors, power-adjustable driver’s seat and xenon headlights. There are also R-Design Nav and R-Design Lux Nav grades for those who want standard sat nav.

All XC60 trim levels are available with every engine, gearbox and drive combination.


Used Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 can make a very good used buy, although the reliability concerns make it more important to buy an approved car with a warranty. The car doesn’t hold its value as well as many other large family SUVs, with three-year-old examples available at the time of writing for around two-thirds of their new list price. The nature of the Volvo XC60 means there are a lot of high-mileage examples for sale secondhand, so you may have to look around a bit to find a well cared-for low-mileage car.

If you’re in the market for a year-old XC60, it may be worth looking at dealer discounts on new examples. As this car has been around for a while, it’s no longer as easy for dealers to sell them at full list price as it once was, so big savings can be made. At the time of writing, a new R-Design Nav model with the D5 diesel engine was being offered on BuyaCar for less than the market price of a year-old model.

Other Editions

XC60 (2017)

Class-leading safety and a comfy interior combined with Swedish cool design, make the Volvo XC60 a top choice