Itâ€™s been a hit in other guises, but what is Volvoâ€™s latest SUV like with a manual transmission?
If youâ€™re attracted by the many positive qualities â€“ and car reviews â€“ that the latest Volvo XC60 has had, but you donâ€™t have a huge budget, then this is the cheapest way to get into the sleek SUV.
The manual gearbox can only be had with the 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine, so does that work for a budget of Â£38,155? Volvo itself isnâ€™t convinced people will think so as they estimate this set-up taking only about 10% of sales. So are the 90% right?
The diesel has 188bhp but a healthy 295lb ft of torque, and thatâ€™s how it feels. Thereâ€™s decent grunt through the gears but not much in the way of sparkling top end, so itâ€™s best to change relatively early rather than hanging on to the redline.
Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Manual
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Torque: 295lb ft
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Top speed: 127mph
Official economy: 52.3mpg
CO2, tax band: 142g/km, 30%
The gearbox itself feels strong but it can be a touch notchy although the clutch action is nicely weighted. Somewhat irritatingly for those who fancy their slickness with the gearlever, itâ€™s actually four tenths slower to 62mph than the 8.4sec the auto can achieve.
But when youâ€™re rolling along that isnâ€™t going to bother you much. The cabin is delightful and has a style and ambience that makes a pleasant contrast to the more austere German offerings. However, the portrait screen looks smart but actually isnâ€™t that slick to use on the go.
Quality seems to only go up with Volvo, and thereâ€™s plenty of space to match the style, with commendably generous seating in the rear and a perfectly adequate if not class-leading boot.
As a cruiser itâ€™s very enjoyable, with safe, predictable and comfortable handling and ride, although that becomes less so as the wheels get larger. Weâ€™d be quite happy with the entry-level Momentum trim, a label that means you get lots of equipment as standard rather than entry to the Labour party.
So this is the cheapest way to get an XC60 but the auto is another Â£1500 which, given the cost of the vehicle, isnâ€™t a huge amount. The manual gains you about 2mpg improvement and slightly lower CO2 emissions and consequent company car tax, but none of the figures would really represent deal breakers.
Itâ€™s more down to what you prefer. Really weâ€™d stick with the automatic as it works very well with the engine and is a smooth, stress-free choice, but if you really want a manual you wonâ€™t be unhappy with whatever model of XC60 you end up with.