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Living with the Volvo XC60- Review

Motor Trend India logo Motor Trend India 22-04-2018 Somnath Chatterjee
a car parked on the side of a road: IMG 20180419 072004 © Motor Trend Staff IMG 20180419 072004

Volvo has changed and so much so that it has become the biggest headache for the Germans. It all started with the fact that Volvo came in with clean sheet of paper and then did a revolutionary new design language, new platform, sticking only to four-cylinder engines and with a keen eye towards the future. That has paid off. Volvo cars are a world away from the earlier gen models and can claim to be the best in their respective classes. However while the XC90 has been a revolution, the XC60 has been the best seller and now in its new gen it is picking up awards, sales and appreciation.

a close up of a car © Motor Trend Staff

We loved it at its first drive but real test is when you live with the car for a few days which we did with a near week long test. First and foremost, exposure to the XC60 for many days did not dull the visual impact as it is a handsome SUV with typical Volvo restraint. This new design language is really impressive and I loved the way the XC60 looks right with the correct amount of flash. It has the T-shaped daytime running lights (‘Thor’s Hammer’), the typical Volvo grille but I also liked the clean and smartly cut front bumper plus the 19 inch alloys look good. The rear too has kept the signature tail-lamps but now they move onto the tail-gate as well. The new XC60 is sleeker, more aggressive and less boxy than its predecessor.

a close up of a car: 3Q4A9195 © Motor Trend Staff 3Q4A9195

But it is the interior that won me over. Quality, quality and quality. The unlacquered wood, chrome, metal and even plastic quality is just brilliant. It does not feel like its a 'junior XC90' from inside. It is simple clean and devoid of clutter and the main reason is the massive 9 inch Sensus touchscreen. It is really impressive to use (portrait style) and the display is superb. Volvo has cleaned up the cabin and physical buttons are all but gone save for a few. That said I would have liked a few more buttons for the main functions and to use things, you do need to take your eyes off the road for a second to fiddle with the touchscreen and plus it is a finger print magnet. Moving on I rather also liked the cool 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster!

a close up of a car: IMG 20180419 072228 HDR © Motor Trend Staff IMG 20180419 072228 HDR

More praise needs to be lavished on the equipment as Volvo have just one fully loaded trim and I really mean that. Just take a look. powered drivers seat with memory, massage plus being heated and cooled, a heads up display, a brilliant 15 speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system, 360 degree camera, 4 zone climate control, panoramic sunroof etc I can go on and on. The seats, a Volvo USP, continues to impress with its comfort and ample cushioning. The shape is rather akin to a human spine and yes, they are comfy. The rear space is decent and there are enough goodies though not as much as like in the front but chauffeured owners will not find anything to complain. In terms of storage, the door pockets are decently big but at the centre there is enough place to store your phone etc.

a close up of a device: IMG 20180419 072345 HDR © Motor Trend Staff IMG 20180419 072345 HDR

Safety is important and Volvo again has a lot. The big news is the influx of radar based tech. We had to see how it works on our roads. You have adaptive cruise control, pilot assist, collision support, lane keeping aid, blind spot information system- all of which have radar and with a forward-facing camera to detect and identify objects in the path of the car where the car adds to the steering input and brakes when necessary. The car will brake if it senses you will collide head-on, the car shows what is in the blind spot, it also makes you a better driver by warning and more. Plus it can drive itself with Pilot Assist (where there are clearly marked motorways) and it is advisable not to remove your hands off the wheel completely. Does it work here? Yes to an extent. Some of the features like braking can catch you off-guard but the blind spot detection works and the car does adapt to our chaotic conditions better than we thought. It is useful.

a car driving on a city street: IMG 20180420 110908 HDR © Motor Trend Staff IMG 20180420 110908 HDR

With all this tech, features and what not. Driving the thing took a back seat but using it for my everyday commute I appreciated its calm nature. This is not a SUV with a big emphasis on 'Sports'. Volvo is about calm and cool with being a comfortable SUV. The engine is a 2.0 diesel with 235 bhp and 480Nm. The 8-speed auto does a good job though it is a touch slow but sort of goes with the character. There are drive modes on offer and the air suspension (class first) changes according to your setting. In comfort the engine takes a more sombre response with a bit of lag but once up and running, it is a mighty fine motor. Plus once upto speed, the engine settles down and the strong torque comes in. The mid-range is strong which propels the XC60 to big speeds with no fuss.

a close up of a car: IMG 20180419 072357 HDR © Motor Trend Staff IMG 20180419 072357 HDR

That said if you want the overtaking oomph, try Dynamic. Here body control is tighter yet ride is not very harsh which means I kept it here most of the time. In terms of ride quality, on smooth surfaces it is superb and masks speed very well being an excellent cruiser. Only few of the really sharp potholes or bad roads make the car a bit uncomfortable. Off-road ability is better than some rivals. Mileage in city we got 9-10 kmpl.

a car driving down a dirt road © Motor Trend Staff

Prices for the XC60 start at Rs 56 lakh. I will tell you the things I do not like first because that is very small. It is not the most sporty or involving to drive and nor has the best ride. But that is about it. It is not particularly lacking in any area but in terms of design, quality, features, tech and the feel good factor, it just takes a lead over others. It just feels more expensive that it really is plus Volvo is expanding its network so no concerns there. It is the best car that they make and eerily close to perfection.

IMG 20180419 065933 © Motor Trend Staff IMG 20180419 065933

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