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Volvo’s mid-size SUV grows bigger in size and stature

S Muralidhar | Updated on March 10, 2018

The new 2018 XC60

Sink into them The plush nappa leather seats have good thigh support and offerventilation and massage. S MURALIDHAR

The 2018 XC60 gets a whole lot of equipment as standard, much from its larger sibling

We didn’t need a powerpoint presentation to be reminded that the XC60 is one of Volvo’s most popular vehicles in India. And yet, to be told that 30 per cent of the car maker’s volumes here come from this one model was still quite revealing.

Naturally, the XC60’s importance for Volvo can’t be overstated. Even globally, this compact luxury crossover contributes significantly. For a vehicle that’s one of the youngest in the Volvo garage, the XC60 is already a star. The second generation of this model was unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show and has made its way to showrooms in India this week.

Volvo has been the discreet disruptor in the luxury class and has already managed to easily sail past its sales targets thanks to a fleet of segment-busting cars and SUVs that have better specs than the competition and are also priced aggressively. The new, second generation XC60 promises to be another one that’ll rock the boat in the ₹50-60 lakh price range.



Design



The new XC60 is the first of the 60 series vehicles built with Volvo’s new design and engineering language. The second generation of this model is also now built on the Swedish brand’s famous Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform. This versatile platform has enabled Volvo to mould multiple vehicles bearing a very distinct and appealing design language, and proportions that are both practical and contemporary. Coming from a brand that has been best known for its estates, this is a key change.

In the case of the XC60 this works just fine. With a lower height than its predecessor, an extra 44 mm of length and the SPA platform’s attributes, the new XC60’s design heightens the crossover appeal. Walk around it and there are so many of Volvo’s familiar new exterior design features, and yet the 2018 XC60 still has its own character that buyers will find interesting. The inscription bonnet grille with its vertical chrome slats and the Thor-hammer LED headlamps are of course instantly recognisable. Only difference between the XC90 and this smaller sibling is the merged-to-the-grille look of the LEDs in the headlamp. Other minor reinterpretations and changes to fit the proportions of the XC60 are part of the design. The front fender gets a large airdam and LED foglamps. The side profile reveals this smaller crossover’s true proportions. With that slightly longer raised rear overhang seemingly alluding to Volvo’s history of being the best estate brand.

Don’t let the high shoulder line and a narrow greenhouse worry you. The panoramic sunroof makes up for any shortfall in the amount of light in the cabin. A sharply raked windscreen and a roofline that slopes down towards the rear gives it the modern crossover look. The 19-inch wheels manage to fill out the big wheel arches. Prominent haunches at the rear give the new XC60 a squatter, well-planted look. The split tail-lamps are a more modern variation over the previous generation’s vertically stacked units. The powered tailgate hides a cavernous 635-litre boot and an 18-inch temporary spare-wheel. Dual tail pipes give the XC60 Inscription a sporty touch. The new model is being offered in only one fully-loaded trim variant for now. There are four body paint colours and three interior colour themes to choose from. Volvo officials say that an R-Design version of the XC60 may come in at a later date.



Interior



As soon as you enter the new XC60, you are engulfed by the same warm, pleasing aroma of leather. My test mule’s seats and dashboard were clothed in maroon brown nappa leather. The cabin obviously shares its design, general layout and even many parts with Volvo’s other vehicles. The best bits, of course, it shares with its bigger sibling the XC90. It is a very symmetrical layout for the dashboard with the long strip of open-pore driftwood (apparently sourced from Sweden) nicely highlighting the key elements of the dash. The crystal-adorned engine start knob, the textured, chrome scroll wheel for mode selection, the steering wheel itself and the nine-inch sensus touch tablet on the centre stack have all been borrowed from other Volvos including the bigger XC90. The graphics on this tablet have been updated, as is the case with the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster behind the wheel. The new XC60 also gets a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins music system with that same fantastic, acoustically-tuned concert mode.

The seats are super comfortable, with soft perforated leather. They also offer ventilation and massage functions for the front two seats. The rear seats are also nicely bolstered and offer good back and thigh support. Overall roominess is good. Rear seats get power folding for expanding luggage space.



Performance



The new XC60 is being offered with only one powertrain option, at least for now. The XC60 D5 Inscription sports the sub-two-litre, four-cylinder in-line diesel engine, which we have seen in the brand’s 90 series vehicles already. This is one very refined diesel burner, which for the untrained ear will sound deceptively like a petrol mill. There has been a lot of work done around what Volvo calls “transient isolation” of the cabin. Basically, excellent NVH packaging ensures an extremely quiet cabin. The 1,969 cc engine with its special ‘powerpulse’ technology manages to nearly eliminate turbolag and delivers much of its 480 Nm of torque between the 2,000 rpm to 3000 rpm range. Power delivery is also very linear and all 235 hp of peak power becomes useful before hitting the redline set at the 5,000 rpm mark.

The engine is paired with a quick eight-speed automatic transmission and the drive modes that were available included Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and Off-road. Changes to the powertrain response and suspension are immediately felt between different modes. The steering is light in city, but firms up at highway speeds. But it could do with more feel. Body roll has been surprisingly well contained.



Bottomline



Air suspension is standard in the XC60, and ride height can be raised for tackling mild off-road situations. With a ground clearance of 223 mm, it’s all-wheel system and a decent approach and departure angles, the XC60 can take on average off-road conditions. The new XC60 also gets a lot of other new safety tech like lane keeping aid, collision mitigation, park assist and cross traffic alert. Lane keeping aid worked really well during my test drive even when the road markings were a little worn out.

Volvo has just announced an ex-showroom price of about ₹56 lakh for the new XC60 making it one of the most loaded, value-for-money mid-size SUVs in the market.

Published on December 14, 2017

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