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Volvo XC60 2011 review


Reality check time. Do you really need all wheel drive on your new SUV? Probably not....

That's why sales of two wheel drive SUVs are growing fast as buyers analyse exactly what they want from their vehicle and realise they don't need all wheel drive - ever. Volvo has just introduced a two wheel (front) drive XC60 T5 model to its medium SUV range and apart from being the most affordable at $54,150, it is also one of the most enjoyable.


It's because the T5 has Volvo's excellent new GTDi 2.0-litre, direct injection, turbo petrol four cylinder under the bonnet. This is similar to the engine Ford will (eventually) put in Falcon. This engine is the strong and silent type generating a handy 177kW/320Nm, the latter at a readily accessible 1800rpm.

It uses a new type of turbo made from sheet metal that is light and boosts efficiency. Drive goes to the front wheels via a six-speed Powershift `manumatic' dual-clutch transmission. It rates as one of the best transmissions in a mainstream car right now with smooth operation and no hesitation as well a fuel economy benefits.


Safety is of the highest order offering five star protection thanks to a slew of features and systems designed to mitigate a crash or avoid one in the first place. Volvo is (still) a leader in this area and the XC60 T5 has plenty to offer, more if you are prepared to pay for it.

Even in basic form, you get `City Safe' that helps avoid hitting a pedestrian, roll over mitigation, stability control, a reinforced chassis, rear park assist and multiple air bags among the safety inventory. A number of optional packages will elevate primary and secondary safety to a much higher level as is the case with luxury equipment.


The vehicle is good looking and offers a high level of comfort and surprisingly good dynamics given its height and 1740kg weight. Seats for five are provided with a decent load space in the rear. It will tow up to 1800kg with a braked trailer.


We found the standard spec' test car to be totally acceptable in the comfort department with leather upholstery, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, an impressive audio system with Harman Kardon speakers, climate control, new centre stack, cruise, rain sensor, auto lights and 17-inch alloys. Start ticking the boxes and you can customise your T5 to your hearts content - well almost.

We wouldn't bother. At 8.7-litres/100km from the GTDi engine, the benefit of turbodiesel begins to come into question. We actually bettered this figure with freeway and urban driving. Performance is strong across a wide rev range and the engine is practically imperceptible at any speed. It's good for an 8.1 second 0-100kmh sprint and passes Euro 5 emissions regulations.


We have driven a few examples of the XC60 in the past including the diesel and this one is the pick unless you really must have all wheel drive for towing a boat up a ramp. So what you have here is an alternative to the other prestige European mid-size SUVs or wagons at a considerable saving.


Price: $54,150
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo-petrol, 177kW/320Nm
Trans: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic
Economy: 8.7-litres/100km
Crash rating: 5 stars

Pricing guides

Based on 27 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

3.2 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $11,888 – 19,868 2011 Volvo XC60 2011 3.2 Pricing and Specs
3.2 Teknik 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $12,320 – 16,390 2011 Volvo XC60 2011 3.2 Teknik Pricing and Specs
D5 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $11,750 – 11,990 2011 Volvo XC60 2011 D5 Pricing and Specs
D5 R-Design 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $13,970 – 18,370 2011 Volvo XC60 2011 D5 R-Design Pricing and Specs
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Lowest price, based on 7 car listings in the last 6 months

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