Photographs by Volvo India
No, I am not talking about Volvo’s Chinese owners turning the company into a spa which provides the best of Swedish and Chinese massages. SPA is Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture which, courtesy of their Chinese owners, has given us superb cars like the XC90 and S90. The XC60, which Volvo claims has been their highest selling car globally in the last couple of years, has joined the SPA family and the results are fantastic.
Like the elder brother, the XC90, Volvo’s design renaissance has transformed the XC60. Thor’s hammer makes it appearance in style, and as always, the new upright grille and a more muscled bonnet make the car look taut and confident. The profile reminds me of the BMW X3, but is still an improvement over the outgoing car. The rear is traditionally Volvo and probably the only visual cue carried over from the previous XC60. The new XC60 is curvier, muscular and sportier to look at.
Though Volvo is not going to town with the ‘sporty’ part and I agree with them. It is better to be honest and play to your own strengths, rather than make claims which are difficult to defend. Volvo’s key words for the new XC60 are Inspired Confidence and the car lives up to them. There are number of four cylinder options under the hood, but what will debut in India some time later this year is the D5 AWD which makes 235 hp and 48 kgm of torque with Volvo’s patent PowerPulse technology.
Healthy numbers for an SUV, I feel. The D5 is unbelievably refined and you’ll have to strain yourself to hear the engine, even when accelerating hard. Volvo claims a 0-100 kph time of 7.2 seconds, which is quick for an almost 2-tonne SUV but the XC60 does not feel very quick. There are 4 modes to choose from and even in Dynamic, which lowers the ride height and stiffens the car, the car is calm and composed. Even on the back roads around Barcelona, where there were no speed cameras and I was touching 200 kmph the only thing I could hear was a little wind noise. Remarkable in a way, I feel, but I would like some more excitement. Maybe the T6 AWD, which is a four cylinder petrol with 320 hp will be more fun.
On the inside, the deep tissue massage has worked wonders. I think the XC60 is class leading for sure, when it comes to interior design. The extremely useful 9-inch touchscreen, from the XC90 and S90, is better integrated in the dash and controls everything you need to for the car. The new Sensus, comes with a simplified menu structure, clearer fonts, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus some native apps. The drift wood inlays are spectacular with fit and finish being top notch.
The seats, like all Volvos are superb and the driving position is good. The steering is manually adjustable for reach and rake, and is as good as the ones on XC90 and S90. Sadly only the R-Design will come with paddle shifters, something which I sorely missed on the D5. Everything you need is literally a touch away, except the glovebox of course. Thanks to SPA, there is more space on the inside and three people can fit comfortably at the back. The new XC60 is only 9mm narrower than the XC90, which should give you an idea of the space inside. Air suspension will be standard on the D5 Inscription trim, that comes to India, and it makes the ride comfortable, though roads around Barcelona were hardly a test.
It cannot be a new Volvo if it does not come with some new safety features, right? Volvo doesn’t miss any opportunity to tell us about their goal – by 2020, there will no serious injuries or deaths in a new Volvo. They are walking the talk and I have no doubts they will achieve this goal. In the XC60, like all other things, safety features have also got an upgrade. There is Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which will steer the car to prevent accidents; Blind Spot Information System, which will steer the back if it spots something in your blind spot and the Pilot Assist System which accelerates, brakes and steers for you (up to speeds of 130 km/h) as long as your hands are on the steering wheel. I did try this for a short distance and it works perfectly, albeit eerily. I certainly don’t like anyone pulling at the steering when I drive, hence eerily for me. Volvo has been kind enough to us Indians though, where all these lane markings based systems could go crazy in a minute, and the driver can override the steering assists.
All in all, the XC60 has certainly improved by a margin. The family look is not a bane, but a boon for the XC60 considering the outgoing car was showing its age. Volvo is playing the smart game and bringing in only the D5 Inscription variant, which will have all the bells and whistles and if their track record is anything to go by, the pricing will be attractive too. I expect it to be anywhere between INR 55-60 lakh, but I would love to be surprised. The new XC60 is good looking, safe, comfortable, practical – looks like Volvo has done enough to ensure this one stays high in the sales charts.
Volvo XC60 D5 AWD
Displacement: 1969cc, four cylinder, twin turbo diesel
Max Power: 235 bhp @ 4000 rpm
Max torque: 48 kgm @ 1750 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed, AT
L/W/H (mm): 4688/1902/1658
Wheelbase: 2865 mm
Ground Clearance: 216 mm
Kerb Weight (kg): 1814-2115
Fuel Capacity: 50 litres
PRICE: Rs 55-60 lakh (estimated, ex showroom Delhi)