Fleet News

Volvo XC60 D5 S (2009)



4 Volvo XC60

In the six years since the launch of the XC90, Volvo has established a strong footing in the SUV sector – the tall, boxy seven-seater putting in sterling service delivering children to private schools up and down the country.

Now there’s a smaller model in Volvo’s off-road line-up, which could well be a good thing if the fees are becoming more difficult and the price of an XC90 is beyond reach.

The XC60 is pitched at the BMW X3 and the new Audi Q5 in a sector which is a badge snob’s dream.

While Volvo might not be able to cut the mustard in other sectors (S80 or BMW 5 Series?), in this niche market it has gained acceptability and, more importantly, parity with the premium German marques.

So it is good to see that Volvo hasn’t got carried away with the pricing. In entry-level D5 diesel trim, it undercuts the equivalent Q5 and X3 by £4,000 (that’s a term’s school fees after all).
That doesn’t mean the XC60 is lacking in quality, performance or equipment, though.

Under the bonnet is the familiar 2.4-litre, five-cylinder diesel engine, which delivers 182bhp and 295lb-ft of torque. 

In its many applications across the Volvo range, this unit can be noisy but in the XC60 it appears some extra sound-deadening material has been incorporated because it doesn’t intrude nearly as much.

The standard six-speed manual gearbox shifts cleanly and slots easily into gear to allow access to the next band of smooth, torquey acceleration.

The ride and handling is on a par for the sector, with a decent driving experience considering the physics which have to be defied with this sort of vehicle.

Inside is the cabin architecture which has been seen on the rest of the Volvo range, with silver-ringed instruments, the ‘floating’ centre console with neat and logical buttons, chunky leather steering wheel, but instead of the satellite navigation screen revolving from hidden on top of the dashboard it is now integrated into the fascia in the same way as on the Audi Q5.

Standard equiment includes cruise and climate control, MP3-compatible stereo, aluminium trim and steering-wheel mounted remote controls for the stereo.

It’s all neat, well built and with a quality feel, although in this sector that is a given.

One option included on our test car was the £1,164 Driver Support Pack which includes the BLIS blind spot system and lane departure warning.

Both very good ideas, but in practice their chimes and flashes of warnings become a little annoying after a while.

One system which is well worthwhile, and which is fitted as standard, is City Safety, a device which aims to avoid or mitigate accidents by engaging the brakes if the vehicle senses a crash is imminent. It won’t completely avoid an impact autonomously, but it is a handy thing to have.

The XC60 is a strong contender in this market, and it performs well in its current guise, but for the majority of drivers a forthcoming front-wheel drive-only model will be a much better bet.

Due to go on sale in the first half of this year, the new model will use a 2.4-litre diesel engine with 175bhp, CO2 emissions of under 170g/km and combined fuel economy of 41.4mpg.


  • Front-end price
  • Strong RV
  • Relaxed drive
  • Well equipped


  • Highest fuel bill
  • CO2 emissions

Three rivals to consider

  • Audi Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro SE
  • BMW X3 Drive 20d SE
  • Land Rover Freelander2 Td4 GS


The Audi and BMW are in entry-level trim, so a near-£30,000 price tag is as cheap as they come. The Volvo offers a useful £4,000 saving on them at the front end (and is the most powerful car here with 185bhp), while the Land Rover is cheaper still.

  • Freelander £23,560
  • XC60 £25,485
  • X3 £29,490
  • Q5 £29,725

Emissions and tax rates

The Freelander offers drivers the lowest BIK bill of £227 a month for a 40% taxpayer – its low front-end price off-setting higher emissions (and this will improve when the lower CO2 Stop/Start model arrives in May). The BMW will cost £245, the Volvo £254 and the Audi £257.

  • X3 172g/km/25%
  • Q5 175g/km/26%
  • Freelander 194g/km/29%
  • XC60 199g/km/30%

SMR cost

Tyre costs for the BMW, Land Rover and Volvo will be similar as all three run on 17-inch alloy wheels. The Audi will be higher as it has 18-inch alloys as standard. The Q5 and X3 ofer variable servicing intervals, while the Land Rover has set 15,000-mile intervals and the Volvo 18,000-mile gaps.

ppm/60k total

  • XC60 4.46/£2,676
  • Q5 4.59/£2,754
  • Freelander 4.64/£2,784
  • X3 5.33/£3,198

Fuel cost

With claimed combined fuel economy of 43.5mpg, the BMW leads the way with a fuel spend of £7,812 over 60,000 miles. The Audi is second, returning a claimed 42.1mpg for an £8,000 bill. The Land Rover and Volvo both return a claimed 37.7mpg.

  • X3 13.02/£7,812
  • Q5 13.45/£8,070
  • Freelander 15.02/£9,012
  • XC60 15.02/£9,012

Depreciation cost

The Audi will be worth the most in three years and 60,000 miles’ time, according to CAP, at £12,700 (43% of cost new), but its higher front-end price counts against it. The Volvo is much cheaper to buy, and will be worth £10,550 (41%). The BMW and Land Rover retain 31%.

  • XC60 25.22/£15,132
  • Freelander 26.72/£16,032
  • Q5 29.41/£17,646
  • X3 33.31/£19,986

Wholelife cost

The Volvo wins by £1,000 over a typical fleet lifecycle. It is the best for beating depreciation and offers the lowest SMR costs. The Freelander puts in a strong showing, and will be even better when the TD4_e Stop/Start version comes along in May with lower emissions.

  • XC60 44.70/£26,820
  • Freelander 46.38/£27,828
  • Q5 47.45/£28,470
  • X3 51.66/£30,996


Despite being very good cars, the Audi and BMW struggle to justify why they cost £4,000 more than the Volvo, and this is reflected in wholelife costs.

The XC60 will be £1,600 cheaper to run over three years and 60,000 miles than the Q5, and undercuts the X3 by £3,100. 

Those are compelling numbers, and result in the German duo being discounted. Which leaves the Land Rover and Volvo, both good cars but both set to be eclipsed by new additions to their respective ranges. As an all-round proposition, the Volvo wins for now, but canny fleet managers should hold off from ordering until the front-wheel drive XC60 and Stop/Start Freelander are launched in a few months’ time.

  • Winner: Volvo XC60 D5 S

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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