10-03-2020

Volvo XC60 2020 Driven

REVIEWS

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Are you someone who is finicky about attention to detail, and for precision with perfection? Are you someone who when listens to your music knows music note values? Are you someone who loves when people keep turning around and looking, nope not at you but the car that you are driving? Are you someone who loves things to be modern, and elegant and yet have a dash of retro feel to it? Are you someone who wants something that takes the words Intelligent and Modern to a whole new dimension? And last but not the least, are you someone who loves to be bold by taking non-conventional decisions, and have a last laugh about it?

Well then, I think, we found a car for you. The Volvo XC60. Why are we saying this, Read on.

Once again, before we get into the actual review of the car, lets look at the quick history of the XC60. The Volvo XC60, now in its second generation, was first manufactured and launched by Volvo in 2008. The XC60 concept variant, first unveiled in 2007 at the North American International Auto Show, finally got into production variant at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. Ever since the XC60 was launched in Europe in the third quarter of 2008 and in early 2009 in North America, it has been Volvo’s best selling car since then.

A quick heads-up for the auto enthusiasts in you, the second generation XC60 is based on the Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (abbreviated as SPA). To put it straight, it's a modular platform where the components such as the firewall, etc. are fixed while the wheelbase, overhangs and height are all flexible and modular. This allows for a higher standardisation of components among different vehicles, as well as, the possibility of manufacturing different models in the same line.

Now, lets look at the car shall we.

Design Language - Exteriors


Earlier, the Volvo's looked old, boring and were reserved as cars for the old and elderly by the enthusiasts on the basis of its looks alone. The Volvo's then, matched the outfit you wore during the board meeting and while you got down from one, you surely made a statement. But the moment your suit switched to something casual over your Weekend Getaways, the cars surely didn't match your outfit.

Over the years, Volvo heard to all it's customers and in the year 2016, they'd decided to give all it's lineup a session of makeover post which the Old and Boring looking Volvo's became Futuristic and Handsome looking. That’s true for all the entire model line-up of the Volvo’s, including the XC60. Be it your Best Friend's wedding, a road-trip to Goa, or your Monday morning board meetings, the XC60 would surely manage to make a statement upon your arrival.

The front-end of the XC60 is no different from the Volvo's of today. For a layman, distinguishing between a XC60 and a XC90 would be a hell of a task. One way, for a layman to tell, that this is not the flagship XC90, but XC60 is the Thor Hammer shaped DRL’s which extend all the way to the grill. However, in the XC60, the design looks more proportional and mature. It’s clean and minimal as usual. The front end is flanked by huge rectangular grill, and prominent Thor Hammer shaped DRL’s. The headlights are LED’s with Active High Beam, that automatically respond to the situation outside and the speeds you are driving. What additionally help are the LED fogs which work as cornering lamps, to illuminate the curves and banks on the road pretty well, giving the driver a commanding vision while driving through the night or low light areas. The use of chrome is absolutely subtle giving a classier stance to the SUV.

Coming to the side profile, the SUV comes with 19 inch alloy wheels, with flared wheel arches, giving it a butch SUV look. The car 10 cms lower than the flagship XC90, and couple that with tapering rear end, it looks a little bit more smelt as compared to flatter XC90. The window line is adorned by a chrome line running on border which gives otherwise bland side profile a classy look. The side profile also, reveals the relatively long front bonnet.

The rear is dominated by the nomenclature Volvo sitting right in the centre below the rear glass. The sides are flanked by all LED tail lights, which illuminate in a signature Volvo fashion. The boot is 635 litres, which can easily swallow your weekend luggage and more. Should you need more space, simply flip down the second row seats in 40-60 format with buttons, to elevate more space inside. Owing to air suspensions, Volvo engineers have smartly integrated a feature, where at a flick of a button, you can raise or lower the car, which allows you to easily access the boot and helps in loading and unloading of the luggage.

The built quality, even panel gaps, and fit and finish are right up there with the German trio. Infact, we wouldn’t mind saying, built quality on this Swedish SUV, is way better than most of it’s rivals in the segment.

One thing, that’s absolutely reminiscent of this design is that, it is a head-turner for sure. 5 days with this SUV and not a single day has gone, where people have not turned around and given a second glance to this SUV. When that’s happening what do you do sitting inside? Well, all I can say is you enjoy all the adulation.

Let’s now get inside the car shall we.

Design Language- Interiors


Moment you get inside the car and sit on the drivers seat, the first thing that you notice immediately is how everything is well laid out and well within your reach as the commander of this SUV. Another thing that I liked about this car, is that it’s no less luxurious than its elder sibling the XC90. The feature list on this car, is much more than your wife’s monthly grocery shopping list, if you get what I mean. The center of attraction on the center console without any doubt is the 9 inch touch screen, which by far is the best one we have tested at Motorise. The response from the screen is crisp and the capacitive feedback is one of the best in the market out there. That makes it so much easier to use without any lag whatsoever. Every single component of the car can be controlled via this touch screen. Volvo took the fascination of touch screens amongst the humans to the next level by adding even the air conditioning controls on the screen. The top of the dash has soft touch leather, giving it a dash of premiumness and the instrument console has a full LCD TFT display, which looks Uber cool to look at, any time of the day. Quality of the materials used is top-notch and you know, you have paid premium to get premium quality everywhere. 

For the size of the SUV, the seats are large and comfy, finished in Nappa leather in this Inscription Variant. and as expected come with host of features to keep you amused, entertained during your journey. Both the front seats are cooled and heated, have memory function, can adjust lumbar and back-rest electronically and ya, have a massage function too. The seats themselves are medical grade and designed by taking inputs from the orthopedic surgeons, that itself ensures that you don’t end up being fatigued after a long drive. All in all, I would say the drivers or co-drivers seat is a very good place to be in this Volvo.

The space in the second row is good, the seats are comfortable, have good under thigh support and are comfortable, however, I would have loved if the seats would have been one grade less stiffer. Owing to the higher center tunnel, third passenger is definitely going to be unwelcome on those long journeys. The four zone AC keeps you comfortable through out the journey, what additionally adds to the comfort is the presence of the AC vents on the C-Pillar. We would have loved if Volvo, could have offered cooled rear seats as well, as it only offers heated rear seats for now. This again, could have been a segment first feature to have.

The panoramic sunroof, makes the cabin a lively place to be. Volvo has taken a smart decision by not offering the car in beige interiors in India and going in for a darker brown shade, which gives it a very sporty appeal. Besides from being sporty, it is easier on maintenance too. All in all, this interior is a brilliant place to be. And you won’t get bored of it soon. One thing that will definitely keep you engrossed in the cars’ central console which houses the Audio Unit. The in-car entertainment is so good, that we are compelled to cover it separately, along with the safety features that the car comes equipped with.

In Car Entertainment

The Volvo XC60 comes equipped with the premium Bowers and Wilkins 15 speaker setup complete with tweeter on the top center speaker that minimizes the acoustic reflection from the windshield and an air ventilated sub-woofer which delivers powerful and pristine sound. If you love your music, you understand the notes, this is the perfect set-up. The B&W setup delivers the most immersive and realistic sound output that you can expect in a car. There are three acoustics mode- Studio, Concert and Individual, which alters the audio experience basis the mode chosen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are a standard fare, we would have loved to see an integration of wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto at this price point.

The control center for the audio setup is the new 9 inch vertically stacked touch screen, which not only serves the purpose of a Audio Set-up, but also controls various modules in the car including navigation and comfort creature features.

Safety

The essence of any Volvo lies in their safety kit. The Volvo XC60 is no different. IntelliSafe is the hardware controller, that packs all the sensors that control the safety kit that the XC60 offers, and the software integration is taken by this touch screen. The list of safety features in this car, can put the best of the cars even in two segments above to shame, forget the cars in its category. I particularly enjoyed semi-autonomous driving feature which included Adaptive Cruise Control and Pilot Assist. There are host of other safety features like, lane keep assist with steering assist, blind spot assist, city safe, roll over mitigation, and full led auto high beam headlights, amongst other run of the mill safety features like airbags and ABS with EBD, ventilated discs etc.

Before we crank the car and get going, lets quickly pop open the bonnet and take a sneak peak what beneath the hood.

Performance- Engine and Gearbox

The Inscription variant that we tested, came with the D5 engine. What is means is, that this Volvo was mated to their top of the line, 1969 cc diesel engine that churns healthy 235 hp and generates 480 nm of torque. The lower Momentum variant has to do with 190 hp and 400 nm of torque and has the D4 variant of the engine. This figures of 235 hp and 480 nm of torque, makes the Inscription variant the most powerful SUV in its category, and that does translate in the way this SUV drives. Acceleration is brisk off the mark and the car reaches triple digit speeds pretty swiftly. The turbo lag is virtually non existence and the power and torque is available from the word go. For 2020 now, Volvo has updated the engine to be BS6 Complaint 

Gearbox duties are taken care by the 8 speed auto tranny here, which is swift to respond in most of the situations. However, on few instances, I did find the gearbox struggling to slot the car in the right gear, especially in start-stop traffic situations. It felt as if the gearbox was taking time to select the right gear and choosing between various options before picking the right one. That on few occasions, led to jerk moment in the car.

Special mention for the deadening materials used by Volvo for the XC60. The engine may sound hoarse and loud on the outside, but inside the cabin, the sound doesn’t intrude much and on most part of the journeys, the SUV is silent. It helps on those long drives, which help you keep your nerves cool. NVH levels are up there with the best in the business too.

Performance- Ride, Handling and Drivability

The XC60 is a lovely car to drive in the town, lot of it boils down to it’s light steering wheel. It helps to manoeuvre this mammoth on the outside looking SUV easily in and out of the city traffic. Put the car in the comfort mode and the car just glides over every single adulation on the road seamlessly without unsettling the occupants. That does make it a bit wobbly at high speeds, but quickly switch over the the dynamic mode, then that too is taken care.

Speaking of the various driving modes, the Volvo XC60 comes with 5 different driving modes- Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, off-road and Individual. As the name suggests, the Eco and Comfort mode are for the non spirited driving, tuned more towards regular city driving to extract additional fuel efficiency. The Dynamic mode, is more tuned towards performance, it stiffens the suspension, sharpens the steering inputs and throttle response and overall makes the car leap forward with agility. Though the acceleration is brisk, it is not 235 hp brisk. However the progress is more linear, without any drama to it.

Off-Road Mode is to take the SUV on those unwarranted territories fearlessly. The car raises itself up to avoid from getting scraped from the below during your off-road adventures. Remember, though the Volvo XC60 has the 4x4 hardware, it is no LandRover, so don’t expect the Volvo to do a LandRover. You will have to choose wisely while threading on those unwarranted territories.

Overall we would say the Volvo XC60 is a lovely car to cover lots of kms without getting stress free and is super relaxing to drive. Lot of it boils down to the seats, which snug you tightly, and are well contoured. The car reaches the triple digit speeds without any drama and flick it into Dynamic mode, and the twists and turns on the expressways are dismissed without breaking a sweat. Having said that, yes the Volvo may not be say as sporty as the BMW X3, but then hey who cares, if your agenda in life is not about going from place A to place B real quick, but is to enjoy the journey.

The Verdict

The Volvo XC60 is globally the best selling SUV from the Volvo, for the Volvo. Before the car arrived at the motorise garage, we were wondering why so? And then the car arrived. Moment the car entered the parking lot, there were people around, who just wanted one glimpse of the car, from the inside. Volvo, mesmerized them. Not only the adults, but this Volvo, managed to mesmerize the children as well as the grand parents who were playing with the children. I truly felt, the people around had Ah Ma God moment when they saw the XC60 in flesh, something that’s associated with the AMG’s. Truth be told, we felt the same way. Needless to say then, if you are the one who loves the attention your swanky new SUV is garnering, the XC60 is the SUV for you.

We didn’t find a single uneven panel gap- inside/out. Fit and finish was top class, we won’t shy away from saying it was better than the cars from one segment above. If you are finicky about how things are placed and attention to detail, the Volvo XC60 is for you.We didn’t find a single uneven panel gap- inside/out. Fit and finish was top class, we won’t shy away from saying it was better than the cars from one segment above. If you are finicky about how things are placed and attention to detail, the Volvo XC60 is for you.

While at one end you have this modern 9 inch touch screen system, which is right up there with the competition, but there’s also a dash of old school charm in the way the center console uses the right mix of different materials, which ooze elegance. If you love this kind of elegance, the Volvo XC60 is for you.

The car is suave and is loaded with technology to the brim; Volvo’s worldwide are known to keep not only its occupants but also keep the city safe; it rides and handles well, may not have the sharpness of BMW’s but is not far either. And last but not the least if you understand this language- Semibreve, Minim, Crotchet, Quaver, Semiquaver, Demisemiquaver and Hemidemisemiquaver, that means you take your music seriously. If that is the case then the simply fantastic 15 speaker Bowers & Wilkins Audio set-up is for you and the Volvo XC60 is for you.

If all this you, is the “You”, in you, then for that you, we have found a perfect SUV- the Volvo XC60. Available in two variants- Momentum and Inscription in India, basis your preferences, requirements and needs, you can choose one for you. With the price difference of 7 lacs of the Momentum over the Inscription Variant, we would definitely go for the Inscription variant for the additional features it offers, which may not be must have, but are always good to have.

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About Author
Nilesh Sawant
Nilesh Sawant

With an experience of over 3 lac kms of driving across the continents and with extensive experience of driving on the tracks, and passion for technical things around anything on wheels, reviews written by Nilesh are crisp and to the point.  



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