Years built: 2008 to 2017
Bodystyles: Five-door crossover
What is it?
Volvo’s XC60 has been one of the longest-lived, and most successful models in the Swedish company’s history. Staying in production for close to a decade, in spite of being based on aged mechanical parts borrowed from Ford, the XC60 was actually Volvo’s best-selling car last year, and that’s with the knowledge that an all-new one would go on sale this year. It’s a safe and spacious family 4x4 with a truly comfortable interior and an exceptional safety rating.
Which one should I buy?
The first generation of the XC60, introduced in 2008, is distinguished by its quad-lamp headlights, and the fact that it used Volvo’s older 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel engines, in D3, D4, and D5 versions. There were petrol versions too, with a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder, and a choice of 2.9 and 3.2-litre turbo straight-sixes (!) but very few of any of those were sold here, so it’s probably not worth even looking for one now.
Of the original diesels, the 2.0-litre five-cylinder D3 is probably the best version, with a healthy combination of 163hp, and 400Nm of torque. It has plenty of performance, reasonable economy and, if you go for frugal DRIVe model, Co2 emissions of 154g/km, which was pretty decent for its time.
In late 2013, Volvo used the XC60 as one of the debut vehicles for its new range of four-cylinder, 2.0-litre, diesel engines and also gave the car a facelift, replacing the quad front lights with single-lens units, and giving it a bigger grille. The new generation of engines was a big improvement, and the 2.0-litre D4 in particular is well worth seeking out, with 180hp, 400Nm, and lower Co2 emissions. It’s also much more refined than the older five-cylinder units.
Volvo had a huge variety of XC60 trim levels, from the basic ES models, through SE, SE Lux, SE Nav, SE Premium and so on. The best one to seek out is probably a sporty-looking R-Design version, which looks very smart and came with an upgraded interior. Rare ‘Ocean Race’ models (celebrating Volvo’s sponsorship of the famous global yacht race) are also worth finding as they had extra equipment and a unique deep blue paint finish.
How much should I spend? Circa €30,000 will get you a 141 XC60..
Here’s one we found:
2014 Volvo XC60 2.0 D4 R-Design, 61,000km, one owner, €29,900 from an independent dealer.
What goes wrong?
Wing mirror mounted indicator repeaters can let water in and fail, so check to make sure that they’re working. The switch for the (optional) powered tailgate is also a problem area, although the overall mechanism is robust.
On diesel models, the sensor that regulates the exhaust particulate filter can go awry, and think that the exhaust is clogged when it isn’t. It’s not an expensive part, but it can be overlooked when problems occur.
The official cambelt change time is listed as 170,000km but most experts suggest it’s better to change at 130,000km. The Interior can be fragile, in spite of overall very good build quality. Rattles are common and can be both hard to trace, and if they’re in behind the stereo unit, expensive to sort.
The exterior drainage channels can clog up and start letting water into the cabin, so check the car-pets for any sign or smell of damp, while the parking sensors can be troublesome at times. The instrument panel and the stereo display have also been known to throw up problems.
Early ‘Geartronic’ automatic gearboxes can be fragile, but were beefed up in post-2010 cars. The XC60 is also quite heavy on tyres, and on lower suspension arms so make sure these are in good order.
Finally, if it’s a four-wheel drive model, check that the four-wheel drive is actually driving all four wheels. It’s not unknown for the centre clutch in the driveline to wear out without anyone realising it and it’s an expensive fix.
If you’re looking for a truly safe car then it’s rather hard to do much better than the XC60. In fact, it’s one of only three cars (the other two being the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Megane) to score a full 37 points out of a possible 37 in EuroNCAP’s gruelling independent crash tests.
And when you’ve found your perfect Volvo XC90 don’t forget to get it history checked by motorcheck.ie.