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Thursday 23 November 2017

Volvo's baby SUV gets a mid-life refit, making the XC60 now safer than ever

THINK Volvo SUV and the mighty XC90 immediately springs to mind. Its rugged, luxurious and has been a dominant figure in top-end off roaders for the last 10 years.

 

But bizarrely its little brother, the XC60, is the Swedish car giant's biggest seller – and it's not hard to see why.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2008, the crossover was an immediate success, offering an alternative to the traditional giant mud pluggers.

Although available in ALW (All Wheel Drive), the XC60 is more of a cruiser than a bruiser – which proved to be the magic ingredient.

It was also less imposing giving that all-important family-friendly image – a Godsend to marketing spivs which in turn meant it was a lot easier to sell to the more eco-conscious buyer.

Climb inside though and it's a completely different story.

Thanks to its elevated driving position, plush interior and little premium touches like leather and automatic transmission, one had all the trappings of executive motoring – minus the guilt.

Fast forward five years and she's had a bit of a nip and tuck giving it a sleeker look inside and out with a slight tweaks to ride and handling.

From the front the new bonnet gives it a wider more squat-to-the- ground look and all black trim has now been replaced with colour-coded panels.

The logo in the front grille is considerably bigger too leaving your envious neighbours in no doubt as to what you are driving.

Inside the dash gets a refresh with new wood inlays, headliner, textile B-pillars and silk metal frames around the air vents.

Standard kit is more than generous and includes; 17 inch alloys, chrome treadplates and skid plates, rear spoiler, Bluetooth, cruise control, leather, multi-function steering wheel, height adjustable seats, climate control and infotainment system with 5 inch colour display.

Opt for the R-Design and you'll get sports chassis,18 inch rims, twin aluminium tail pipes, matt silver wing mirrors and matching grille – all emblazoned with the R logo.

The sporty feeling continues inside with half leather/suede sports seats, leather steering and gear knob, aluminium pedals.

Drive-wise little has changed as Volvo stick with their tried and tested 5-cylinder, front wheel drive diesel unit.

The 163bhp is not lacking in power and is more than capable of lugging yourself and the 2.4 children around town and with emissions of 139g/km its returning a decent 45mpg and costs just €280 to tax.

Corner Traction Control (which prevents understeer by braking the inner wheels and powering the outer ones) now comes as standard.

The only real drawbacks are the lack of feedback from the steering and the absence of a spare wheel as standard (option for €88).

The aforemention R-Design package is a real eye-catcher and really makes the entry-level ES look plain by comparison. It's not cheap though and you'll have to fork out around an extra €4,250 for all the whistles and bells.

If you're feeling really flush one could upgrade to the AWD D5 with 215bhp for an extra €7,000.

Still, it's a whole lot of car for that money and Volvo has a real exclusiveness to the brand.

Prices for the XC60 start at €39,495.

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