It may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but even an SUV can do its bit to help save the planet. Hence, the eco-conscious, DRIVe version of the Volvo XC60. When a car looks like this one does, it’s natural to assume that it must be a 4×4. Except that it isn’t. It has a 2.4D engine that only drives two of the wheels. So it joins the accelerating trend for cars with a 4×4 image and front-wheel-drive equipment. As this one is badged as a ‘green’ model, it also has a range of measures to help optimise the fuel economy and lower the CO2 emissions output. Volvo’s engineers have worked to reduce friction and pump losses in the engine, and pressure drop in the intake and exhaust systems has been cut. The engine has lower compression with more efficient combustion and updated engine management software. As a result, the XC60 2.4D DRIVe is relatively frugal for a car of its type, with a combined figure of just over 47mpg. This helps keep down running costs, and the car is rated group G for VED – that means £150 a year for the annual tax disc. In range-topping SE Lux trim, the XC60 is very well equipped and includes leather upholstery, rear park assist and active headlights. It has a well-built, quality and upmarket feel.
The engine is torquey and a strong performer, but could do with a bit more refinement. It isn’t the quietest or smoothest engine of its size. You tend to be more aware of this because of the absence of wind-noise and minimal presence of road rumble feeding up through the suspension. Even so, a bit of engine noise doesn’t detract too much from a car that feels strong, civilised and well-built, with exemplary safety credentials. It is practical too, with lots of legroom for all the passengers, and a very spacious boot. It is a very pleasant driving experience. The car rides smoothly with minimal body roll on the corners. It feels nimble and sure-footed. Put your foot down hard into a corner though, and you feel a tug on the steering as the amount of power being pushed out through the front wheels provokes a touch of torque-steer. Should that put you off? Not really – but the price might. The XC60 is a great car as family transport – well-balanced, well-equipped and about as safe as they come. None of that comes cheap though, and with a price tag reading the thick end of £30,000, it looks rather expensive for what it is.
RIVALS: BMW X1 sDRIVE20d SE, FORD KUGA TITANIUM 2.0 TDCi 2WD
- Engine: 2400cc, 5-cylinder, turbodiesel with particulate filter
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max power: 173bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max torque: 310lb ft at 1,500 to 2,750rpm
- Max towing weight: 1,500kg
- Max speed: 127mph
- 0-62mph: 9.8secs
- Combined consumption: 47.1mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 159g/km (G)
- Bootspace: 495/1455 litres
- Insurance group: 13