We spent a day with Volvo’s all-new mid-sized SUV, XC60 only to realise that it is hard to find fault with
Over the past two years, Volvo has really upped their game. And their products speak for themselves – right from the XC90, S90 or even the relatively niche S60 Polestar and the V90 Cross Country. While all of these are impressive products in themselves, their best-selling model has always been the XC60. Volvo claims that nearly 30 percent of their overall sales in India is thanks to this mid-sized SUV. It is no wonder then, that Volvo has a lot of hopes from the newest version of the XC60. First unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the XC60 is all set to be launched in India on December 12. We got a chance to spend a day with it and find out if it can live up to the expectations.
The first thing that really strikes about the new XC60 is its design. Just like all the new-generation Volvo models on sale, this one too has elegance written all over it. The vertical slat chrome grille, Thor Hammer headlight to the long L-shaped taillights, are some of the design cues that have become a signature of all the new Volvo models. Keeping in mind that Volvo will only be launching the Inscription trim to start with, all of these design features are standard. And despite that, the XC60 manages to set itself apart from its larger sibling. The bonnet curves in slightly towards the edge, the sharp indent on the lower half of the door and the raked-out C-pillar helps it build a persona that is separate from the XC90. The XC60 has been fitted with 10-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels as standard.
On the inside
If you have experienced any of the new-generation Volvo models, on the inside the XC60 will feel like a familiar office. It has the same steering wheel that we have already seen on the XC90, S90 and more recently the V90 Cross Country. In fact, it also gets the vertically stacked 9.0-inch touchscreen unit that is the command system for almost every function of the car. So, from controlling your infotainment options, displaying feed off the reversing camera, to activating the long list of safety features, this screen does it all. Fidgeting with the air-con on this touchscreen does require you to take your eyes off the road though. We have said this for the other Volvos too, and we will say it again – we wish the XC60 came with buttons and knobs for the air-con controls. The dashboard is draped in black Nappa leather at the top and soft touch plastic at the bottom with unlacquered wood finish splitting the two. Volvo offers three colour options for the upholstery – Maroon Brown, Amber, and Blond.
Front and back, the seats are amply supportive and comfortable. The driver, as well as the passenger, get ventilated seats with massage function. Funnily, passengers at the back only get heated seats. Speaking of which, the rear door doesn’t open wide enough to make ingress and egress a rather smooth affair.
The XC60 gets all the features that you’d expect from a car in this class. As you’d come to expect from a Volvo, the XC60 too comes with a brochure full of safety features like Blind Spot information, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, 360-degree camera, semi-automatic parking and more.
Although internationally, the new Volvo XC60 comes with several engine options, here in India we will only get the 2.0-litre diesel at the time of launch. The XC60 in the D5 form produces 232bhp and 480Nm. All of this power is put down to the road in a very linear manner. In fact, even with its near two-ton weight, it feels energetic and rather quick to gain speeds. One of the biggest let downs with most diesel offerings is the turbo lag, but Volvo has managed to develop a smart solution that overcomes the issue. The XC60 comes with what the Swedish carmaker calls PowerPulse technology. With the help of an air compressor, this system pumps more air into the engine which results in a relatively immediate power delivery. The engine feels its best in its mid-range where it has enough and more energy on tap. The most impressive thing about the XC60 is just how refined the engine is. Irrespective of your speed, the powerplant doesn’t feel under stress and you won’t hear even a hint of discomfort inside the cabin. Of course, due credit must also be given to the insulation for inside the cabin. The XC60 is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly but it isn’t the fastest box out there.
Volvo has fitted the XC60 with air suspension on all four corners. It allows the mid-sized SUV to offer a phenomenal ride quality. Although we didn’t get a chance to drive the XC60 off-road, en route to our shoot location, we did encounter some pretty bad roads but the XC60 managed it all with astonishing plushness. The 223mm of ground clearance at full stretch meant that the underbelly doesn’t scrape either. As far as handling is concerned, the XC60 manages well for the most part, but there is still that floaty feeling from the air-suspension that robs away some of the fun. Having said, Volvo has clearly tuned the suspension to be a lot sportier on this one than the luxury-centric XC90.
Even after spending a day on board, the 2017 Volvo XC60 is a car that is hard to find faults in. From design and features to comfort and performance, it does everything with such amazing efficiency that Volvo will surely not have to work hard to sell it. Volvo has only introduced the XC60 in the top-spec Inscription trim. Priced at Rs 55.90 lakh, it demands a few lakh more than its immediate rivals Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. Here it is important to note that both these cars are due for an update next year and more importantly, the XC60 is noticeably better equipped than its rivals in the discussion. With the new Q5 and X3 expected to be launched in a few months time, Volvo has timed the launch perfectly. But the fun will only begin when updated versions of both these cars get launched. Till then, Volvo can enjoy the first mover's advantage.