Volvo is confident XC60 will establish itself in the premium SUV segment with the 'frugal' D4.
Volvo had a lot of success with the original XC60.
In fact it became the brand’s best-selling model, remaining largely unchanged for nine years.
Aiming its new SUV squarely in the premium sector could prove detrimental to fleet sales, where models like the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca shine.
But Volvo is confident that its customers want more upmarket models and, as such, has given the XC60 a heavy dose of prestige.
We drove the all-new model a few months ago in Europe, with a D5 engine, but now we’ve been behind the wheel of the more frugal D4 in the UK.
Volvo expects the D4 to account for more than half of all XC60s sold, with R Design trim making up the bulk of those sales.
The range kicks off at £37,205 for base Momentum trim. R Design costs £39,705.
Emissions from the D4 engine are rated at 133g/km meaning a 40% company car driver will pay benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax of around £344 per month.
Those tempted by the sportier R Design will pay £37 more.
Each XC60 has all-wheel drive as standard, along with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Compared to rivals it’s either cheaper or more frugal, giving a company car tax advantage.
Only the Mercedes GLC 220 CDI offers a more attractive package, on paper, but it comes with a 20PS deficit.
D4 models use the same twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine as the D5, but lack the innovative Powerpulse feature which provides faster turbo response.
It still develops 190PS which is enough for an 8.4-second 0-62mph dash and keeps it in line with the BMW X3 (190PS), Audi Q5 (190PS) and Land Rover Discovery Sport (180PS).
As in the Volvo S90, the D4 engine is a little on the loud side when being worked hard – something the transmission is keen for you to do when pressing on.
Nonetheless it carries the weight of the car well and has more than enough power for ferrying kids and dogs around the countryside at the weekend and putting in the miles on the motorway during the week.
When we first tested the car in Europe only models with air suspension were available (£1,500 option) but in the UK we were able to drive the conventionally sprung XC60 alongside its air-riding counterpart.
There is no doubt the latter offers a silky-smooth ride – with the option to raise the ride height for off-road excursions.
But the standard suspension gives a more dynamic feel especially in R Design models which offer a stiffer ride more akin to German rivals.
Overall the XC60 is just as we expected. It takes the best from the 90 series cars – portrait touchscreen, autonomous driving technology and Thor Hammer LED lights – and mounts them in an attractive compact shell.
It’s not the last word in driver engagement, but then that isn’t exactly what a Volvo is all about. It’s clean, simple and, most importantly, safe.
The premium SUV segment is growing and offers plenty of choice from the rugged Discovery Sport to the performance-focused Porsche Macan.
The XC60 slots in the middle, offering an interesting alternative to the Q5 or X3. Overall… well done Volvo.