Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design

Blue Volvo XC60 R-Design being pushed hard into a left-hand corner.

Since the very notion of diesel-fuelled vehicles has been called into question lately, what I’m about to write may seem very odd as little as five years from now, but here goes anyway: right now, in 2017, the most obvious choice if engine for a Volvo XC60 is one of the diesels.

Mike Grundon gave an account of the new XC60 a couple of months ago, so for general information about the car I suggest you read his review. At that time, access to the T5 turbo petrol engine wasn’t available, but it has since been added to the press fleet, which is why you’re reading about it now.

The R-Design costs about the same with this engine as it does with the D4 diesel. You get a lot more power for your money: the T5 produces a maximum of 251bhp, more than the diesels and less only than the much more expensive T8 Twin Engine (actually one engine and one electric motor) plug-in hybrid.

Profile action shot of Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design.

In terms of official fuel economy, the T8 leads the field easily. The T5 lags a long way behind that, and also behind the diesels, with a combined figure of under 40mpg. So, as well as not being particularly cheap to buy, it will also cost a fair bit to run, especially if you put a lot of miles on it.

A couple of years ago I would have added that its resale value would be much lower than that of the diesels, but the way things are going it’s now difficult to predict that.

Even if you ignore the resale question, the financial case for the T5 isn’t great. Still, it’s not all about money, is it? I mean, you can’t take it with you when you go.

Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design interior as seen by the driver.

Viewed only as a mid-sized SUV, the XC60 T5 is very impressive. The engine is certainly powerful, as well as being quiet, but what really struck me first of all was the steering. You can adjust it using the drive mode system (which also covers throttle response, gearshift points, brake pedal weight, air-conditioning capacity, the look of the digital instrument panel and whether or not the start/stop works) but it’s always very light and precise. Some people might complain that it lacks ‘feel’ but I don’t think this is a problem.

The brake and throttle actions are admirably progressive, and I have no complaints about the handling. The ride is generally good, though the ride on the test car’s 19″ wheels can be a bit lumpy, even though the tyres fitted to them are not particularly low-profile.

As Mike said, there’s plenty of room for adult passengers and their luggage, and all versions are very well-equipped. Leather upholstery, City Safety, a powered tailgate, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights and a handsome 9″ central touchscreen are standard across the range.

Rear view of Volvo XC60 heading towards a bridge on a dual-carriageway.

That said, it’s worth pointing out that this R-Design came with £7000 worth of optional extras. These included keyless drive at £500 and smartphone integration at £300, both of which I’d expect to have been covered by the list price of slightly more than £40,000. You also have to pay £150 for a spare wheel and jack, which will become standard on all cars the day I am voted President of the World.

Price £40,400
Engine size 1969cc
Power 251bhp
Top speed 137mph
0-62mph 6.8 seconds
Fuel economy 38.7mpg combined
CO2 emissions 167g/km
Towing capacity 2400kg (braked)
Euro NCAP not yet tested
Information correct at publication date

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Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design
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