Luxury cars aren’t just about being luxurious, but even style, premium-ness and exclusive. The niche-ness does exist. Buyers have been looking at the three Germans and the British marquee JLR off lately. There has been one brand that has been steadily growing and is happy to be niche at the moment. Its the Scandinavian brand Volvo. A company that went through its hardship of financial crisis at the global level. Then it revived itself with the XC90, then the S90 and the V90. Now it is the XC60. The new-generation that has evolved, and gets a new platform. The previous XC60 contributed to about 30% of their sales. Now, it is new-generation that will boost the numbers.
The Volvo XC90 is a masterpiece and so is the S90. I can drool over the design every time I see it. The same thing has been done on the XC60 too. The signature front grille is carried on the new SUV. It looks good, but one can again relate it to the bigger brother. I love the Thor hammer-design headlamps, but something different might just have been perfect. The XC60 is good but it does reflect a lot of its design from its elder brother. The side profile is very much crossover like. The front end has a streamlined design, moving to the rear that becomes squarish for better practicality. The 19-inch alloy wheels are just Wow! But for long road trips, I will be a bit worried to drive as the tyre profile is low. The tail lamps are stylish and I love them too. This is one aspect, which cannot be done to a crossover/SUV for the Indian car market.
I have no complains about how good this crossover looks, but my point is why not have something expectational and exclusive. Yes, they look classy and stylish. But creativity in design has taken a back seat in the luxury car segment. In attempt to have more family look, the design is becoming similar on all the products. This is true with all the brands. Still the Volvo does stand out of the rest.
Step into the Volvo and you could believe this is something from the space age. Even the Tesla has a similar styling pattern though. There is a large touchscreen system with all the controls for music and even air-cons. The touch and response of the system is as good as an iPad. The music system output is through 15-speakers of Bower and Wilkins. The music quality of these speakers is fantastic. Minimal buttons to operate makes things easy. This feels like a cockpit of an airport that has got all touch controls. All the dials have the texture that appears to be chiselled. You do not press the start stop button, you rotate it. The interiors do make you feel special every time you step inside. The Volvo XC60’s exterior styling and interiors do make you like it every time you step into it. The wood inserts on the dash and the ceramic finish on the sliding tambour made me fall in love with it. The cabin felt it was designed by someone from Armani. Everything had a character and essence to it. This was joyful and pleasing too.
The interiors are stylish and appealing. The ambience is soothing and so comfortable.
In the cabin the seats offer good support. For your back, for your lumbar, thighs and even side. This is a comfortable vehicle, and there is ventilated seats for the front and rear gets only heated seats. Rear passengers have AC vents, there is also a touchscreen for controlling AC blower speed and rear seat heating too. The rear seats are lower than the front, which will reduce the side movement on winding roads. The boot can also easily gobble luggage for an entire weekend. There is also the panoramic sunroof, which is a good addition.
A 2.0-litre diesel engine that churns about 235bhp of power, a lot more than the other German diesels, and it comes mated to an eight-speed AISIN transmission. This is a self-shifting gearbox and it seems that Volvo hasn’t just offered the best-in-class power but even something close to the V6 offered by competition. The engine is absolutely silent and buyers will not realise its a diesel engine underneath. Twist the start button and the oil burner cranks to life without too much melodrama. The engine is responsive from the word go and it does make it easy to manoeuvre in the city. Overtaking is a breeze and this is a cruiser. It doesn’t make you want to push. There is no spool from the turbo making it a relaxed drive. The turbocharger kick-in is very linear. Change the mode by rolling to a different mode.
This has the most powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine on offer at the moment in this segment.
Before we get to the driving dynamics, there is more to the safety and riving assistance offered on the XC60. This is important as none of the competing products offer this and the XC60 has a long list of them. IntelliSafe technologies help protect not only the people inside the car but also consider people on the outside, for example technology that helps you to detect pedestrians and cyclists. When you drive at speeds up to 50 km/h, our City Safety collision avoidance technology looks ahead of you and brakes automatically if you are about to run into a vehicle in front. Our IntelliSafe technologies like Electronic Stability Control add to reassuring driving stability in all conditions without sacrificing the joy of driving. The new XC60 gets Steer Assist, which has been added to the ground-breaking City Safety system. A new safety system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation uses steer assist to help mitigate head-on collisions, while Volvo’s Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS) now uses Steer Assist functionality to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions. These system enabled by radar helps the driver arrive refreshed.
In terms of ride quality, it has a supple ride. Ride on bad roads and you won’t feel much of the broken roads. The suspension glides on bad roads and irons out the undulations. 19-inch wheels, well we had a tyre cut on our test drive. These low profiles can be an issue in our Indian road conditions. The previous XC60 had loads of body roll, this has been taken care in the new one. The crossover is dynamic just like a sedan.
Volvo XC60 – Should you buy?
Moving on to the pricing, at Rs 55.90 lakhs (ex-showroom) Volvo has awestruck crossover buyers. It has been priced aggressively, despite of it being a complete body unit (CBU) import. The pricing is highly competitive and the features are the best in class. Wondering why you need any other SUV in this price point unless it is a 4×4. What goes missing on this SUV is the service network and the brand name that the three German enjoy. Else, the Volvo is a best offering in this segment at the moment. They had done this with the XC90 with the first-gen and the new XC60 promises to fulfil in this segment too.