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First Drive: Volvo XC60 facelift

The story: A new infotainment system is the big news for Volvo’s mid-life update of its XC60 SUV, which also gets new tech and styling tweaks.
Key rival:Audi Q5
On sale:Now

Volvo’s mid-sized XC60 SUV is the first of the brand’s models to get the heralded new infotainment system across its line-up, having launched it in the electric version of the XC40.

First Drive - September 2021 - Volvo XC60 - Image 1The update to the Android infotainment system, which includes Google Maps navigation, Google Play app access and Google Assistant voice recognition, means a much tidier infotainment screen, compared with the functional but busy previous system. There’s a huge reduction in the number of icons on the screen, although the climate controls still run through it rather than having their own buttons. The heated seats and, where fitted, steering wheel in particular aren’t the easiest to turn on and off while driving.

The Google-driven sat-nav system has its plus points and minuses. The search function is industry-leading, with the Google results being much quicker and more accurate than a traditional navigation search for location or place of interest. But the map functionality is less impressive, with scrolling to check the frequent offers of faster routes not the easiest to complete. But Volvo gives four years of data with the XC60, which is also now capable of over-the-air software updates. It is also worth noting that Apple CarPlay won’t be added until later this year.

First Drive - September 2021 - Volvo XC60 - Image 7The other big interior change is a new 12.3-inch driver display, which looks great, but could do with a bit more functionality in terms of what can be displayed all the time, rather than having to hit buttons to get fuel economy on show.

From the outside, the revised XC60 isn’t a big change on the understated and stylish design, although current owners will spot the new front grille, revised front and rear bumpers and updated air intakes.

The XC60 remains unchanged from a powertrain perspective, which means the most efficient model is the T6 plug-in hybrid, followed by the B4 diesel driven here. It emits from 166g/km and is impressively quiet and refined on start up, and comfort levels of ride and in particular seat make the Volvo a brilliant long-distance companion. Both the brakes and accelerator can though require a sensitive touch to ensure a smooth progression.

paul barker

First Drive: Volvo XC40 Electric



The verdict

New infotainment system has industry-leading search function and is otherwise neat if not perfect, in a lightly revised SUV that does most things well.