Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Exceptionally modern yet user-friendly inside
  • Two screens control the vast majority of functions 
  • Interface takes a little getting used to, but it's responsive

Since the introduction of the second-generation XC90 in 2015, Volvo has successfully established a striking interior design language, which uses bold, high-quality materials alongside modern technology. It manages to be warm, user-friendly and distinctly Scandinavian – and has become one of the primary reasons for purchasing the latest generation of Volvo cars.

The XC60 fully reinforces this trend, with an attractive yet simple dashboard that still incorporates intricate details – such as the Swedish flag in the metal trim piece that cleverly hides the join between the plastic and wooden elements on the fascia.

Taken on its own, it exudes upmarket quality, although some of the plastics do feel a touch hard and shiny. 

It’s only in comparison with the more expensive XC90 that you’ll notice areas where costs have been more tightly controlled; the slightly flimsy glovebox lid, for example, but that's really all we can find fault with - it's a lovely interior. 

Is the Sensus system easy to use?

Despite the vast majority of its functions being controlled via the 9.0-inch touchscreen, the Sensus system is one of the best multimedia packages available in any car. The screen itself offers tablet computer levels of responsiveness, and the second-generation user interface featured in the XC60 shows a clear progression in Volvo’s thinking, using larger tile-style icons to make it easier to operate on the move.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are less successfully - they work fine, but when in use they account for less than half the screen size, making them a tad fiddly if you prefer to prod rather than use the voice control system.

It still takes a little while to understand how you access some of the more detailed settings, however, and we remain to be convinced that a touchscreen is a safer mode of operating minor controls (like air-con) than physical buttons and knobs. Some of the menus can still be a little confusing, but once you have everything set up, there are fewer reasons to spend time fiddling around on the move. 

Other interior enhancements

Volvo also offers a crisp, bright head-up display as an optional extra, which gives the driver line-of-sight notification of things like speed limits and road signs. It works well, as all such systems do.

Additionally, all XC60s benefit from a fully digital 12.3-inch gauge cluster. This means you can have the sat-nav map displayed right ahead of you, allowing passengers to play with the radio or other media apps on the central Sensus screen without the risk of missing your next turning.

With a substantial range of adjustment in the steering column for both reach and rake, and very ergonomically proficient seats, it is easy to find a comfortable driving position in the XC60. Long journeys should hold no fear.

Is the XC60 comfortable?

  • A particularly strong area for Volvo
  • Excellent seats on all models 
  • Comfortable ride, but on smaller wheels

Tested on the adaptive suspension system, the XC60 is a very comfortable car. It absorbs bumps well – even on 20-inch alloy wheels – and Volvo has made a point of doing some of its development work in the UK because it understands the particular challenge of our road surfaces (plus the XC60 sells extremely well in Britain). Regular R-Design models without adaptive suspension can feel firmer, but it's no worse than any of its rivals - mainly because they come with smaller wheels and chunkier tyres. If you upgrade to an R-Design Pro model, the adaptive suspension comes in tandem with the larger wheels. 

Go for the top-end Polestar Engineered car and you'll find yourself the firmest of all XC60s. You can adjust the Ohlins dampers, but this requires opening the bonnet and doing it yourself for the fronts, while the car needs to be jacked up to do the rears. You need to be a real enthusiast to even bother, and we wonder how many XC60 buyers will want the hassle. As standard, it's very firm out of the factory, especially as it comes with huge alloy wheels. Adjustment is therefore necessary if you don't want to bounce down the road. 

Cabin refinement is another XC60 strong point. The only time you’re reminded that you’re driving a diesel in the diesels, for example, is when accelerating hard from low speeds. Cruising on the motorway is a hushed affair – although we did detect a little wind noise from around the door mirrors, it’s easy to hold a normal conversation. Unseemly vibrations are a non-issue in our experience with the XC60 so far, and overall it's a very refined, quiet and comfortable car that makes incredibly light work of any journey.