As a car-obsessed three-year-old (wonder where he gets that from?), my little grandson has just been introduced to the XC60 long-termer for the first time – blame Covid-19 – and was excited by what he saw. His mum had just shown him the power-operated sunroof, and he shrieked with excitement as it miraculously slid back. His mum’s own car, a Land Rover Freelander, also has a glass roof, but not one that opens up, hence his huge delight.
That was just the start of a small boy’s eye-sparkling enjoyment of the Volvo, which we were about to use for a family trip. Little fingers poked and prodded ecstatically all around the interior, as he explored every detail and crevice. His thrilled face was enough confirmation that he approved of the svelte white car that was about to carry the family to a small, socially distanced christening located up in the Scottish borders.
He and his baby brother would be travelling rearwards in their child safety seats, and two things about that pleased my very safety savvy daughter-in-law: the ease with which the seats could be securely attached to the car’s Isofix mountings, and the amount of rear seat space that allowed two very precious little boys to be accommodated without feeling unduly confined.
There was one small thumbs-down for the Volvo, though, when their mum discovered that the left and right rear seat headrests don’t go up and down. They can, though, usefully be flopped forwards when the back seats are unoccupied. This allows for the absence of headrests to afford a completely clear rearward mirror view for the driver. The reason why it would be handy to elevate the rear seat headrests, as you can in some rival cars, is to facilitate the secure attachment of a small tablet device, on which to play cartoons or other entertainment for small children on a long trip to the north.
A big plus, though, is the eyelet hooks on the backs of the driver’s and front passenger seats, that allow safe and easy forward-tethering of the children’s rear-facing car seats. Not all similar size family cars have this, so it’s a thumbs-up to Volvo.
There are plenty of other pros about the XC60 as a family car. The spacious boot is a boon for a trip with kids aboard, and with enough room needed for all the luggage, plus buggy or stroller and assorted other child-related paraphernalia. The very good rear seat room makes it very practical too. When travelling with two under-threes, plus a tall adult in the centre rear seat for much of the trip, we were impressed by the ability to do so in relative comfort. For both head and leg room, the back of the XC60 is pretty generous. My long-legged daughter-in-law particularly enthused about the gap in the footwells underneath the backs of the front seats that let her stretch out without stubbing her toes.
Less popular details with the family were the high centre console that some find hinders elbow room, and a boot cover that often seemed to get in the way. Sitting in the back, rearward visibility to the sides isn’t the Volvo’s greatest asset either. But a long trip with a very young family confirmed that as an efficient, comfortable and practical transporter for people of greatly varying ages, the XC60 is pretty ace.
Date arrived 11th December 2019
Fuel economy 39.2-46.3mpg (WLTP combined) 34.2mpg (on test)
Child-friendly features, safety credentials and spaciousness makes it an ideal family car.
The rear seat headrests’ lack of upward adjustment makes it difficult to install a tablet-mount for rearward-facing child entertainment.