Volvo XC 60 : Road test review

Volvo XC 60 has been launched in India at 55.9 lakhs

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Likes : 

  • World’s safest production SUV. Period
  • Endless equipment levels include Adaptive cruise control, 9-inch Infotainment system, 360-degree camera, heated seats with massage functionality and the list goes on…
  • Adequate power on tap coupled with oodles of torque

Dislikes : 

  • Volvo’s sparse dealer network may be a thing to worry about
  • The 9-inch touchscreen is prone to fingerprints

Launched during the 2017 Motorshow, Volvo’s mid-size SUV at first glance looks like a smaller XC 90. Not long ago, Volvo was seen as an alternative to likes of Audi Merc or BMW. Now that it is very much part of the armada of Mid-size luxury SUV’s, Volvo’s cars are most desirable and Safest on road. Volvo is reinventing itself with fresh products, the latest technologies, new 4-cylinder and electrified powertrains. After capturing the automotive world’s attention with the flagship XC90, it’s time for the smaller XC60.

Exterior :

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The XC 60 is redesigned this year and it’s quite evident in the front end which adapts styling cue from the XC 90, particularly appealing is the THOR hammer headlights adapting the latest Volvo’s styling, engineering and technology. The headlights feature the same Thor’s hammer shape as those of the XC90 but are more delicate as they run into the grille:

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How do you test the potential of a mid-size luxury SUV? Soft-roading? Maybe…

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With its dynamic and perfectly crafted exterior, the XC 60 is an SUV that makes a strong visual statement. The sharp creases and curves the sculpted bonnet creates a lasting impression of elegance and refinement:

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The traditional Volvo styled grill with vertical slats:

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Along the back, the XC 60 has the signature tail light design which wraps up into the hatch:

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The sharp creases and sculpted side panels emphasize its muscular contemporary character. From every angle, the XC 60 is an SUV with Scandinavian attitude:

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The XC 60 is available in India as a D5 Trim:

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The XC 60 badging on the rear with clear tail-lamps:

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The XC 60 rides on 20-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels:

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Drive :

Not only the design, the XC 60 shares its engine with the XC 90. There is only one engine option on sale. The new XC60 is powered by Volvo’s 2.0-litre diesel engine, in the higher of its states of tune. In D5 form as on the XC60, the engine makes a whopping 235hp and 480Nm of torque, giving this version a heads-up over its German rivals. The engines is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that power all four wheels, on request The gearbox is excellent in manual and automatic form. There is hardly any turbo lag while changing gears especially below 2000 rpm, thanks to the power pulse technology that uses compressed air that throws in the air into the turbo unit. All throughout the rev range, there’s always adequate torque on tap and the punch at mid revs especially is very strong. This engine is very smooth and sound levels inside the cabin are pretty low. There are paddle shifters to change gears manually for that extra-spirited driving.

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The XC60, for India, comes with four-corner air suspension as standard, and the damping characteristics can be adjusted too. The suspension raises and lowers itself based on the driving modes and the ride firmness too varies noticeably. The ride quality is excellent Comfort economy, dynamic or off-road mode. In comfort mode, the car absorbs potholes easily. The ride quality is definitely ahead of its German rivals. The steering is light but its direct and does weigh up based on the driving mode.

Under the hood is a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, twin-turbocharged diesel engine that produces 232 BHP @ 4,000 rpm and 480 Nm of peak torque @ 1,750-2,250 rpm. The XC60 gets Volvo’s Power Pulse Technology. It uses compressed air to spool up the turbochargers instantly thereby reducing turbo-lag. It is coupled with an 8-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifts.

 

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Ride & Handling :

The car feels absorbed and planted with brilliant air suspension because it absorbs the potholes and bumps very well. it’s a treat to drive the XC 60 on bad roads. The steering provides relaxed feel in most driving condition. As an option, you can select among 5 driving modes including a custom mode. On the rough road, the off-road mode controls the car pretty well. The height is adjusted according to the mode and speed. Changing over to the SPA platform gave Volvo a chance to rethink XC60’s suspension. Volvo came up with a double-wishbone front suspension and an integral link for the rear, using a single transverse leaf spring as opposed to the old design’s pair of leaf springs which ran parallel to the direction of travel. An optional air-suspension system adds the capability of automatic leveling, high-speed height adjustment and lowering on shutdown for easier entry and exit.

Interior : 

Volvo took a page out of the XC90’s successful interior and created a showplace for Swedish design. A horizontal yoke made from driftwood splays across the lower dash, supporting the structure visually if not in actuality. A 9-in color touchscreen display lands at the top of the center stack, with just a few carefully placed controls below. The instrument panel is shielded by a cowl, and a beefy multi-function tilt-and-telescope steering wheel (manually adjustable) connects the driver to the car.

Volvo’s seats have often been praised for their comfort. The XC60’s seats live up to the reputation with a great range of travel and incorporate some great safety features as well. The seats are orthopedically certified and designed to absorb the impact of a hard landing, . It’s said to reduce the risk of spinal and back injuries.

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It is a minimalistic looking cabin in terms of design and layout, but in terms of luxury, it is right up to the best. The quality is phenomenal of dashboards, center console and has excellent fit and finish. A panoramic sunroof makes the second row feel even more open and roomy. The seats are definitely ahead of the German rivals and are very, very relaxing. The wide range of adjustments is an icing on the cake with heating, cooling massage and memory functions:

The door panels finish-off in very nice leather. Electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory and massage function:

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Once inside we are greeted by two-tone leather-wrapped steering wheel which has great hand positioning on either side. On the right side we have all the audio controls and on the left side we have the cruise control with adaptive cruise control settings:

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The center gauge setup is a 12.3-inch display screen. The speedometer on the left tacho on the right which also has a navigation screen in the middle:

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A 9-inch touchscreen sits in the center of the dashboard, which operates the 4-zone climate control: There are a variety of features that you can use including the 360-degree camera, Bluetooth and radio:

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The thin strip that bends anf flows around the dashboard that has excellent finish with neatly integrated stitching:

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The 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system has excellent sound output and leaves the German’s behind by a huge margin:

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The back seats also offer excellent cushioning and under thigh support. Knee room and headroom are more than adequate for a tall passenger. There is plenty of space for those nick nacks for cellphones, key, cup holders, dor-bins and a decent size glove box:

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The rear passengers get their own individual climate control:

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The boot opens and closes with the press of an electric button:

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The thing to remember is the XC 60 is a mid-size luxury SUV which typically means less cargo space but in Volvo’s case, the boot is massive for those long weekend getaways or occasional airport pickup.  The XC60 has a 505-liter boot and can tow up to 2,400 kg. The SUV comes with a 71-liter fuel tank:

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The cargo area comprises of the storage compartment with nets and it’s illuminated:

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Safety :

Volvo is driving toward its Vision 2020 goal of no people killed or seriously injured in Volvo vehicles by the year 2020. The new XC60 also gets safety aids like steer assist, city safety system which includes pedestrian and cyclist detection and can apply the brakes automatically to avoid a collision at speeds up to 50 km/h, oncoming lane mitigation to avoid head-on collisions, ABS and ESC. A big part of this initiative is Pilot Assist II, the latest version of its hands-on-the-wheel semi-autonomous driving system.

New on the XC60 are Steer Assist, Blind-Spot Information System with Steer Assist and Oncoming Lane Mitigation. Alert drivers may find these systems a little too insistent so they can be defeated and turned off. But for a long drive, especially one that uses high-speed freeways, Pilot Assist can make the journey much safer and less stressful.

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Verdict : 

Globally, XC 60 is the best selling Volvo and in its new avatar, it’s is a great mix of sportiness, comfort, luxury and this one just makes the deal sweeter. It is as sensible as you could expect a Volvo to be and has got more enthusiasm and a bit of youthfulness. It is feature-loaded. Its classy and roomy inside has plenty of standard equipment. It has more power and equipment than the competition. With the local assembly beginning soon, expect the prices to go down and it’s gonna be a bang for your buck $$$

Compiled by Zahoor Hassan

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