Volvo had a lot of success with the original XC60. It has been the brand’s best-selling model, achieving more than 70,000 registrations in the UK alone since 2009.
The new model is aimed squarely at the premium sector, where Volvo is confident its customers want more upmarket models.
Prices start at £37,205 for the base Momentum trim – up more than £4,000 on the outgoing model – and buyers can choose from six derivatives and four engines.
Volvo expects the £39,705 D4 R-Design to be the best-selling version, followed by the entry-level Momentum.
All XC60s come well equipped with sat nav, full LED headlights, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a powered tailgate.
R-Design models are sportier, with more aggressive styling, larger alloy wheels and sports suspension.
Flagship Inscription trim adds ventilated nappa leather seats, 19-inch wheels and extra chrome trim.
Each grade is additionally available as a Pro version, which increases the standard equipment with features such as air suspension and a panoramic roof. About 10% of buyers are expected to upgrade at each level.
Volvo expects to register about 12,000 new XC60s in 2018, putting it between the segment-leading Land Rover Discovery Sport and recently updated Audi Q5. It also has to face the Jaguar F-Pace and new BMW X3.
The D4 and D5 diesel engines are based on the same twin-turbo 2.0-litre unit. In the D4 you get 190PS, while the D5 has a feature called Powerpulse, which forces compressed air into the engine at lower RPMs to boost power. It will generate 235PS.
All-wheel-drive is standard, along with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
A 254PS turbo-petrol engine, badged T5, is also available with a faster 6.8-second 0-60mph time.
At the top of the range is the T8 plug-in hybrid. Generating a combined 407PS, it takes the crown as both the fastest and the most economical XC60. Volvo claims 134.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 49g/km.
As in the Volvo S90, the D4 and D5 engines are a little on the loud side when being worked hard – something the transmission is keen for you to do when pressing on.
Nonetheless they carry the weight of the car well and the D4 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.
We drove the conventionally sprung XC60 alongside one with the £1,500 Active Four-C Chassis with air suspension.
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.
This is especially true in R-Design models, which offer a stiffer ride more akin to German rivals.
The XC60 takes the best bits from the ‘90‘ series cars – portrait-mounted touchscreen, autonomous driving technology and ‘Thor’s 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 a more interesting alternative to the Q5 or X3.
Q&A: Jon Wakefield, managing director of Volvo Car UK
Why are volume predictions lower than the existing car’s volume?
Ultimately, I think we will at least match the volumes of the old car. We are aiming firmly at the premium segment, but it’s a pretty strong segment.
What upsell opportunities are available with the XC60?
We’ve tried to keep the range as simple as possible. Above the three equipment lines, buyers can opt for the Pro packs, which offer bundles of options. These may appeal to fleet customers who cannot add individual options.
There is a pretty comprehensive options list. With XC90, we found a lot of customers chose multiple options.
We also have the accessory range, which includes lifestyle equipment and additional alloy wheels plus Polestar optimisations.
Are dealerships ready for the electrification drive in the most recent CI update or will more investment be needed in workshops/training?
The training and investment we have already made supports the current platform and the current engine range already includes plug-in hybrid. There are always product developments that require extra training, but we are well on the way to having properly equipped technical workshops in our dealerships.
Will the existing dealer network automatically become franchised sites for Polestar when it arrives in the UK?
We have not determined a distribution strategy for Polestar in the UK yet.
Are you expecting a large amount of conquest customers to the new XC60?
Yes, as we saw that with the XC90. We have good retention rates, but XC90 brought a lot of new customers to Volvo. We expect XC60 to do the same.
Are you concerned you don’t have a price point in the mainstream SUV segment?
There is plenty of growth in the segment we are in and the product is strong enough to command the price point. In premium SUV, the most popular price point is between £39,000 and £41,000. Our Momentum and R-Design are directly in that.
What do you see as XC60’s key rivals?
Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC mainly, but Jaguar and Land Rover are fairly prolific in launching new models. There is also Porsche.
It’s better to be in a busy segment than a lonely one.