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.