One of a handful of torchbearers of Volvo in its transitional journey to a stylish, sporty image, the XC 60 shares many things besides innovative design with its sedan counterpart – the recently renewed S60 – like the awesomely powerful and even more fuel efficient 2.0L turbo engine.
The Volvo XC 60 is a vehicle that doesn’t waste much time in impressing those who choose a ride in it. A few seconds in the cabin will do, and hardly a minute on the road. The Volvo XC60 is a sedan wrapped in a larger frame, more successfully than most crossovers that claim to do just that. Its road handling and cornering prowess is deceivingly sedan-like: a characteristic that makes the XC60 eminently drivable. However, the SUV part of its nature sticks out in the gentle sway and swagger of the car on uneven roads.
The XC60 runs on Volvo’s much hyped four-cylinder T5 that revs up 320 Nm of torque right from 1800 rpm to 5000 while managing to deliver over 10km for a litre of gas. It’s one of the most impressive mix of figures in the entire premium Crossover segment. If you come across a brief turbo lag in the beginning, it is quickly made up, well before you have the time to frame a complaint in your mind!
The exceptionally slender A-pillar and the wide windscreen make for excellent road vision, aided further by the high stance of the driver. Despite the high and mighty position, what hinders the passing view is its ascending belt line that raises the chances of a blind spot. Though sadly absent in my test model, BLIS of Volvo ought to be a blessing for this reason.
The wind stays out of your earshot with the windows rolled up, but the engine’s subdued turbo growl sounds even further away. As I flashed past six lanes to take my position with the quickies, steady on its 18” alloys, the XC60 offered an effortless ride across the highway that few sedans can match. Nerve-racking turns and corners, too, are deftly handled by the car.
The new XC60 is one of the most stylishly designed compact crossovers you’ll see on the road. Compared with its competition, it is no way compact either. Shaking free of the safe and staid image of Volvo, it could even be called ‘sexy’ in a way.
Unlike most SUVs, the XC60 makes an inward turn towards the trailing end, which should be doing something good to the aerodynamics, but marginally narrows the rear vision. The tail lamps flanking the windscreen all the way up stand out as a Volvo signature element, while the flared up shoulders complete the drama in design towards the rear.
Cabin and Controls
The cabin is decked up in true European class sumptuous leather and a soft touch deck, with the unique Volvo-style console pad that’s one of the tidiest layouts (what if a bit dated, then?) with a 3” screen (5” in the Premium edition). Functionally adept, the design makes switching on the cruise control a job for your left hand with the flick of two wheel-mounted buttons.
The needlework on the seats and the door-side leather is pretty classy, with the Ocean Race edition that I tested accentuating the craft with a cross-stitch. The seats offer memory and movement; while there was a rollout for the thighs, there wasn’t an option for lumbar support enhancement in my car, but the seat provided enough already. However much high you sit, it’s still hard to see the hood lines but that’s because the fascia takes a dive in the aerodynamically styled XC60.
The high performance 6 or 8-speaker audio system comes with an MP3 decoder and AUX input. But I found the height of thoughtfulness on the windshield – it provided a clip on the driver’s side to display your parking ticket or a message to the inspector: “sorry, ran out of coins!”
The leather seats of the XC60 would be among the most comfortable out there, and are positioned to keep long legs happy on a long haul. The car provides dining trays attached to the front seatback and easy to mount ISOFIX clips. The boot space is enormous by compact crossover standard and features an electrically powered tailgate in Premium versions.
The sense of security inside a Volvo is the stuff legends are made of. The car doesn’t move an inch – without insistent protest – if you are not buckled up and doesn’t give up on you until long minutes later. Besides front airbags, the XC 60 features Side Impact Protection System airbags as well as Inflatable Curtains. Volvo’s “City Safety” system that recognizes obstacles at moderate city speeds and automatically applies the brakes comes as standard across the XC 60 range.
Volvo XC60 Ocean Race edition
The Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s longest and most challenging endurance sport. Designed to commemorate the ongoing race, the Limited Edition is available in the Volvo Ocean Blue II or Electric Silver with off-black and soft beige upholstery. The most striking element of exclusivity is the Volvo Ocean Race emblem gleaming on the front fender. The aluminium decor that should remind you of a yacht harbour full of sailing boat masts, sail-style stitching on the upholstery, unique wheels inspired by the movement of the ocean’s waves and a few more details make the Ocean Race edition different. But not different enough to feel disappointed if the Edition got sold out when you approach Al Futtaim Motors to buy an XC 60. AT AED 15000 less, the Comfort Pack offers most of what’s there, without the limited edition badge premium.
The essential XC60
It was a pretty windy day, with some parts of the UAE even experiencing what subzero was like. But neither did the cabin feel the gust nor did the crosswinds shake up the XC60 one bit. If the Volvo Ocean Race stands for endurance, it was appropriate to dedicate a handful of this car to the event. For, what the XC60 handles, it does with finesse and formidability.
UPSIDE: Powerful 2.0 L engine, Excellent fuel efficiency, Class-leading boot space, Great cabin comfort and safety features
FLIPSIDE: Brief Turbo Lag, Rising window line marginally reduces passing view, Heated Seats only
Drive Courtesy: Al Futtaim Motors / Volvo
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy