Europe’s Best-Selling Premium Compact SUV? Look No Further Than The Volvo XC60

Believe it or not, for the past two years, the Volvo XC60 has been Europe’s most successful premium compact SUV, ahead of the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

If you were doubting Volvo’s ascension to “stardom”, don’t. Just don’t. They’re extremely successful against the Germans, without even trying to replicate what they’re doing.

Volvo are sticking to their own philosophy about building high quality, safe, executive cars. It’s not a joke, not even performance-wise – or haven’t you heard…they just took over Polestar in order to properly rival AMG and BMW’s M Division.

But I’m not going to talk about performance models right now, or how diverse Volvo’s line-up is compared to, say, BMW’s – because the Germans still have an upper hand. This article is about quality and about how people have started to realize that Volvo cars are actually quite brilliant.

If you’ve never driven an XC60 before, you seriously need to get your behind to a Volvo dealership and try one out. I’m not saying this because of the XC60’s Ferrari Scuderia-like handling, since it’s a regular compact SUV from many points of view. But what you do need to experience is the extraordinary attention to detail, the spacious cabin, the excellent ride and the overall feeling you get while behind the wheel.

Everything you’d want from a premium compact SUV, the XC60 delivers. You seriously need to get it on a race track in order to find out how exactly a BMW X3 or an Audi Q5 will out-perform it from a dynamic perspective. Otherwise, you really get a sense of a level playing field if all you’re doing is sitting in traffic, driving on motorways or going off-road…occasionally.

Heck, its 230 mm ground clearance is superior the that of many, larger SUVs. Of course, I’m not just going to go around praising it without also throwing some numbers at you – since they hardly ever lie.

Let’s start with 2013, when the Volvo XC60 was the 4th best-selling compact premium SUV in Europe, behind the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q5 and BMW X3 – in that order.

In 2014, the segment grew thanks to the addition of the Porsche Macan, Lexus NX and BMW X4, but that did very little to stop the XC60 from becoming Europe’s best selling model in this class. Volvo managed to sell 62,845 units, whereas Audi sold 60,679 Q5’s, Land Rover 50,838 RR Evoques and BMW sold 48,229 X3s.

The GLK, Macan, X4 and NX were pretty much non-factors.

But what about 2015 you ask? Well, here are the official numbers for Q1:

1. Volvo XC60 – 18,173
2. Range Rover Evoque – 16,135
3. Audi Q5 – 15,854
4. BMW X3 – 10,828
5. Mercedes-Benz GLK – 6,562
6. BMW X4 – 6,108
7. Land Rover Discovery Sport – 5,803
8. Porsche Macan – 5,733
9. Lexus NX – 3,764 (est.)

Admit it, it’s impressive, right? And while we may wonder why in the world people are buying more Q5s than they are X3s or why the GLK is selling better than the newer and hotter Discovery Sport, the XC60 is leading the pack with confidence.

With a new generation set to come up for air in 2016, I can’t help but wonder if Volvo can actually keep dominating this segment for the next couple of years. Who’s going to challenge them? The new Mercedes-Benz GLC & GLC Coupe? The same people that appreciate the XC60 now, would definitely avoid something that’s possibly less practical and definitely more expensive.

And no, the XC60 is not a compromise. Just a very, very smart choice.


  • NG212

    Dude, Sergiu, you don’t have to sell us on Volvo. Everyone knows they make good cars.

    The tone of this article is preemptively defensive of Volvo. Why are you defending Volvo like its Daewoo? Like they have some terrible reputation and are embarrassing to own? It’s like the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    Volvo has successfully coexisted alongside the German makes for decades, and they’ve always been a worthwhile option for premium drivers with a focus on safety.

    • europeon

      Still not a BMW. /s

      • Luckily.

      • brunot

        I’ve owned multiple versions of both. It’s far more comfortable than a BMW, looks better than the X3, costs a good deal less, and nobody cuts you off in traffic because you drive a Volvo

    • CTO

      Completely agree…

  • apamau

    It’s really a nice car and given the quite out dated design, it’s still very impressive that they are leading the pact. Hopefully Volvo will refresh the XC60 like the new XC90, with the same interior and tech, i believe it will continue to lead the pack, as long as the size maintain. Pls don’t downsize the car.

    • brunot

      It’s not that outdated except for the tech, and even that isn’t bad except for the excreble nav. It outperforms most competitors through the slalom even in base form. You can spend $8,000 US more and get an X3. Not much else beats it in the class.

  • fabri99

    The XC60 is very very good looking, shame that the new XC90 has that fugly front-end.

  • Mika

    GLC will crush this.

    • brunot

      Like the GLK did? ha. The GLC will cost at least $10 grand more, not handle as well, and have reliability issues. But the interior will be purdy.

  • KF

    It’s a nice crossover…comfortable, good fuel consumption and good design.

  • Just passed a convoy of these the other day, on the road, not on a truckbed. They looked great, looking forward to the new model with the lessons learned from the XC90.

  • Gentiler

    Guess they got it wrong, Volvo is now Chinese not European

  • Gentiler

    Yep however the problem I have with Volvo and Range Rover is that one is Chinese and the other Indian, not European companies

    • LakhiD

      Companies are European. Major shareholders Chinese and Indian. Can say the same for Harrods, Canary Wharf, Savoy, and many other UK brands – they are all owned by Arabs.

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