If you were to place entertaining driving dynamics as a priority for your premium-badged mid-sized SUV, then let's be honest, this Volvo probably wouldn't be the first model you'd turn to. But you shouldn't gauge from that an expectation that this XC60 will be a complete duffer when the road turns twisty. It's very far from that, this model described as 'confident and predictable', which is what we've found it to be and precisely what most likely buyers will want it to be. There's unruffled poise and exemplary refinement, plus you get supple standards of ride comfort from the multi-link rear suspension and there's the option of an 'Active Four-C' adaptive damping and air suspension package if you want it. A standard 'Drive Mode Settings' driving dynamics system allows you to tailor throttle response, steering feel and shift timings from the standard 8-speed auto gearbox to suit the way you want to drive.
If you do decide to push on a bit, grip and traction are actually quite impressive aided by the standard AWD system, while cornering body roll is also decently well controlled. All the engines on offer are of a 2.0-litre, four cylinder configuration and come bolted to the same stiff, sophisticated 'SPA' chassis that underpins Volvo's larger XC90 model. The XC60 range starts with the engine we tried, the one that most buyers will choose, a 190bhp D4 diesel. This 'Drive-E' powerplant was available in later versions of the first generation XC60 model, but with that car, you couldn't have it mated to AWD, a traction set-up now standardised across this model line. With that issue now sorted, this particular volume variant offers most of what potential buyers will want: a decent 400Nm slug of torque to facilitate a 2.4-tonne braked towing capacity that's un-bettered across the line-up. And more than adequate performance that sees 62mph reached in 8.4s en route to 127mph.