Volvo XC60 D5 (2009) long-term test CAR review

Published: 05 May 2009

Long-term update – 5 May 2009  

After I came back from university, fully educated but with little more than beans in my wallet, I spent several months sleeping in the garret at the top of my parents’ house. It was so small, there wasn’t enough room to swing a hamster around it. It had a bed (single), hi-fi (compact) and TV (14 inch). And that’s it. The TV came with a remote control, but I didn’t need it. I’d just stretch out a foot and let the big tootsie on my right foot flick through the channels.

It’s not a time I remember too fondly, but my memory was pricked by my XC60 the other day. Having stashed it away in the glove compartment the day our Volvo arrived, I’d quite forgotten about my sat-nav remote control. That’s right, remote control. What’s the point of an RC when you’re, oooh, no inches at all from the sat-nav unit?

Probably my biggest single hate figure when driving is people who use their mobile phones. You know when you are following one. With their heads flopped to one side in order to wedge their Nokia into their fat, stupid necks, they look like Gladstone Small, the former England bowler famed for having, well… no neck at all. And, unable to change gear properly, they’re the ones stalling at roundabouts and junctions.

Yet it if I have a Volvo remote control in my hand, to my mind that makes me every bit as reprehensible. It’s even sillier when you consider that every time you access the XC60’s sat-nav you have to agree to a disclaimer – obviously put there to save Volvo’s Swedish hide in the event of a sat nav-related road traffic incident – before you can even use the thing. I stick to the wheel-mounted controls, which work just fine, thank you.

Of course, squirreling away this useless device also has one other benefit – to keep the wife away from the remote control. One whiff of it and she’d be dialling in Sex & The City as our destination within seconds.

By Stephen Worthy


Total Mileage

Overall MPG

Claimed MPG

Since Last report

Fuel Costs

Other Costs



 8667 miles



 5463 miles



 Yet another month of comfortable, unremarkable, smooth motoring is behind me

 The silly, useless sat nav RC that if using could lead to some trouble with the law

Previous reports

What the hell's a remote control doing in our Volvo XC60? 5 May 2009
First report 30 March 2009


First report – 30 March 2009

We’ve had the glad eye for the XC60 since its launch in late 2008. It’s a devilishly good-looking beast, with its sharply chamfered nose and sinuous, snaking rear, so CAR thought it time to see if it works as well as it looks by taking it on as our newest long-termer.

We weren’t able to spec up our XC60 D5 in SE trim to exactly our own liking. Apart from its wheels, it was offered to us by Volvo as a faît accompli. But they promised us that the most popular options were present on our Ice White example.

Standard specification includes Volvo’s much-vaunted City Safety System, which every XC60 comes complete with. If you are distracted while at low speed (under 19mph), a wee camera placed behind the rear-view mirror will notice and apply the brakes for you. As a result, it might not be an idea to be supping on a coffee or eyeing up anybody you shouldn’t, as you’ll have some explaining to do.

We’re going to be trying City Safety out in the near future, so watch this space. Volvo has an inflatable car we can crash into, which is probably going to cause havoc with the health and safety zealots here at CAR HQ, but is a darn sight safer and cheaper than trying it out for real on the A1.

As for options, Geartronic Transmission (£1400), Communications Pack (£2000), Winter Pack (£450. What? No Spring pack?) and Rear Park Assist (£350) take the XC60 D5 SE’s price from £27,250 up to £31,475. A not inconsiderable sum. The one big decision we made was to swap the hip-hop style fat 19-inch wheels for 17s. As my wife has just given birth to our first child and I’ll be the XC60’s main beneficiary, the future development of my son’s noggin was paramount. First impressions suggest we’ve made a good call as the ride is supple and smooth now we've removed those jiggle-inducing but great-looking nineteens.

Aside from City Safety, our XC60 packs Volvo's Side Impact Protection System, Whiplash Protection System and Roll Over Protection System  – which we hope not to test out. You might have noticed that Volvo is big on system acronyms. They can baffle, but they also feed Volvo’s assertion that the XC60 is the safest car on the planet.

But does safe mean good or even, god forbid, fun? Do Swedes even do fun? Over the next six months, we’re going to find out.

By Stephen Worthy

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