SOMEONE saved my life the other day.

He, she or they were the brains behind a safety system called oncoming lane mitigation that is fitted to every Volvo XC60.

The system automatically provides steering assistance if you unwittingly drift out of your lane, guiding you back into your lane and out of the path of oncoming vehicles.

And so it was that, at the end of a tiring day with my head full of thoughts about the garden bin collection and whether my bank had finally sorted out its IT problems, I drifted out of my lane. Thankfully, the Volvo system nudged me back on course and out of danger.

Oncoming lane mitigation forms part of a suite of safety systems that can prevent accidents with pedestrians as well as run-off-road crashes and makes the second generation XC60 one of the safest cars you can buy.

But there’s much more to this family-sized SUV, which now wears the crown of World Car of the Year 2018.

Bringing new levels of sophistication, connectivity and efficiency to its class, it matches the award-wining conservative yet stylish exterior design with an interior that combines elegant Scandinavian design, premium natural materials, craftsmanship and the innovative Sensus entertainment and control system.

Every XC60 comes with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. The engines are all Volvo’s own Drive-E units, which offer power and efficiency. The range comprises D4 and D5 diesels, a T5 petrol and a petrol-electric T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. Power ranges from 190 to 407 hp, with CO2 emissions from as little as 49 g/km.

The engines are all 2.0-litre, four-cylinder units, but the tested T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid combines that potent petrol engine with an electric motor.

In simple terms, it features a supercharged and turbocharged 320 hp petrol engine that powers the front wheels and an 87 hp electric motor that drives the rears. CO2 emissions are a mere 49 g/km, and it is also possible to drive for up to 28 miles in electric-only mode, in near silence while emitting no tailpipe emissions.

The T8’s battery pack can be recharged in two-and-a-half hours using the optional 16-amp fast-charging cable. Fully recharging via the standard three-pin plug cable takes at least three-and-a-half hours.

The T8 is unlikely to trouble the two tried and tested diesel engines in the sales charts, but it does offer something different in the line-up. For starters, it accelerates very quickly, hitting 62mph in 5.3 seconds. That’s the sort of sprint time that many hot-hatches would aim to achieve.

Then there’s the proposition of simply plugging in your T8 to the mains supply being able to make a 28-mile round trip commute without every having to stop at a fuel station.

And there’s no range anxiety here because the T8 will switch to petrol mode as and when required.

You will have to fork out considerably more for the T8 over a D5, of course. Whichever version you opt for, you will find the XC60 a thoroughly relaxing car to drive or be carried in. It ticks all the boxes for comfort, practicality and safety.

Every version of the XC60 comes with all-wheel drive, but the T8 offers a different all-wheel-drive solution. Its engine powers the front wheels only, whereas its electric motor drives the rears.

And whereas the D4, D5 and T5 have five drive modes, the T8 Twin Engine has six – hybrid, pure, power, AWD, off road and individual.

The large boot holds 505 litres with the standard split-folding rear seats up, and an impressive 1,432 litres with them down, although the T8 has a slightly reduced capacity at 468 and 1,395 litres respectively.

There are three main trim levels – Momentum, R-Design and Inscription – all of which can also be specified in Pro form, which adds even more desirable equipment.


Volvo XC60 T8 R-Design Pro

Price: from £56,850 (XC60 range from £35,655)

Engine: 2.0-litre 320hp petrol plus 87hp electric motor

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, driving all wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 5.3 seconds; top speed 140mph

Economy: 134.5mpg

CO2 emissions: 49g/km


Performance: *****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: *****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: *****

Value For Money: ***