Volvo XC60 D4 (2014) Review

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The Volvo XC60 went through its mid-life makeover in late 2013, the facelift tweaked the styling and updated the interior gadgets in line with the rest of the range. The XC60 has been a major seller for the Swedish brand and has defied its age by increasing sales year on year globally. We spent a week behind the wheel of this medium to large-sized SUV, complete with Sport Pack.

We like: . Good looking SUV . Excellent diesel engine with linear acceleration . Loads of space and interior finish

We dislike: . Couldn't get near claimed fuel consumption . Multimedia system not intuitive

Also consider: . Audi Q5 . BMW X3 . Honda CR-V

You can see the head-to-head comparison between the Volvo, Audi and BMW here.

What’s New?

For 2014 the XC60 had some of its exterior modernised. The entire body is now colour coded so the plastic side sills are gone and that alone upgrades the look of the XC60. The front grille and headlights have also been updated, but the main changes take place inside the Volvo. The new digital instrument cluster has been installed along with the choice three different themes.

This digital display by Volvo is easily one of the best as it’s crystal clear to read, and they haven’t tried to squeeze so much info onto the display that it becomes distracting. The entertainment and audio system has been updated to the same spec as was first introduced on the V40 with a seven-inch screen. With the added Sport Package our model here has, it comes with an added power tailgate, special leather wrapped three-spoke steering wheel and an aluminium sill protector.

Top Notch Diesel

Volvo has placed its latest Drive-e diesel engine into this XC60. Drive-e just means the engines are super-efficient yet still powerful. This 2-Litre turbodiesel produces 133 kW combined with 400 Nm of torque. The claimed fuel consumption on this XC60 is an astonishing 4.7L/100km however, we didn’t get close to that figure.

Even cruising along on the freeway at 120kph the instantaneous fuel consumption readout showed around 6L/100km. Our final figure at the end of the week read 7.7L/100km which while being quite a way off claimed, is not bad at all from a 1.7 ton SUV. That aside, the engine is beautiful to live with, the torque delivery is linear and there’s enough grunt to get overtaking done with ease. The eight-speed gearbox is perfectly suited to the XC60 as it works away in the background, quietly and unnoticed. You can just sit back and enjoy the lap of luxury Volvo has supplied.

Living it Up

Volvo interiors always feel well built and this XC60 is no exception. In recent years Volvo has worked hard at adding stylish touches to its cars and the cabin of this XC60 is well thought out. There’s lots of leather and soft touch surfaces as well as brushed aluminium along the door sills, although they seem to attract fingerprints and anyone with OCD will lose their mind trying to constantly keep it free of prints.

Volvo’s multimedia system could definitely be a bit more user friendly as first time users will struggle to navigate the menus and figure out which buttons do what on the centre dash. There is Bluetooth and USB to keep most of the techies happy whilst dual-zone climate control takes care of the temperature. The amount of space you get in the XC60 is awesome, loads of room everywhere, including the rear seats where leg room is massive. The rear seats can be folded flat and the boot has a really nice and wide loading area meaning you can get larger width objects into the rear easier.

Handling and Ride

The XC60 in this diesel spec is just about right, I wouldn’t pick the thirstier and more powerful petrol models as this model defines what the XC60 is about. I wouldn’t call it a sporty SUV, it’s a spacious, well designed and comfortable riding cruiser. The suspension is on the firm side, but that’s so it doesn’t fall over to one side in the bends.

The steering feel is adequate but when it comes to trying to race it through a set of bends it lacks feedback. You’ll probably never race the XC60 through a set of corners though so for what the XC60 does best – comfortable cruising , it manages just fine.


I’ll admit to having a soft spot for this Volvo XC60 D4, the engine won me over first, with its smooth power delivery and plentiful torque. Then the space came in handy when I was transporting my bikes all around the Cape to races and trails. It’s a really easy car to live with, the automatic tailgate is great as is the keyless entry and it all comes together in a rather stylish package inside and out.

It does come at a price however, R545 800 for a standard D4 Elite model. The Sport Package adds an extra R10 700 to the price, but the only worthwhile part of that is the power tailgate. It might sound like a hefty sum to pay until you start to weigh up the competitors. Compared to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 it undercuts them by between R10k to R20k. All considered the XC60 is one of the best mid-large sized SUV’s on the market.

Second Opinion

Volvo's XC60 in D4 guise is perhaps one of the finest vehicles in its class. The efficient engine delivers adequate power and there's plenty of space in the cabin and boot. It does lack all-wheel drive, but to be fair, how much offroad driving do you really want to do? In summary, this Volvo scores highly. - David Taylor

Volvo XC60 D4 Elite quick specs

Price  R545 800
Engine  2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Power  133 kW
Torque  400 Nm
Transmission  8-speed automatic
Wheels  17-inch alloys
0-100km/h  8.5 seconds (claimed)
Fuel economy  4.7L/100 km (claimed)