2017 Volvo XC60 Review
Dhruv Saxena, Mechanical engineer trying to find his place in the world of automobile journalism.
The Volvo XC60 has been the star of the Swedish car maker’s lineup since it first arrived in 2008. So far, the SUV has sold more than 1 million units worldwide and the XC60 represents around 30% of Volvo’s total global sales. It has also driven sales for Volvo in India. Just six months after the introduction of the second generation Volvo XC60 globally, the company has brought it to Indian shores as well. The 2017 Volvo XC60 promises to be more comfortable, nicer to drive and loaded to the brim with tech. Does it fulfill those promises? Or does it fall short? Read on for all the answers.
What does it look like?
The Volvo XC60 has been designed along the same lines as the rest of its SPA-based siblings. That said, it more than merely a shrunken XC90. It looks much better proportioned, especially the tail section as the rear overhang is short since it does not need to accommodate a third row. The designers have given the XC60 its own identity via some interesting styling elements all around. The “Thor’s Hammer” LED signature, a Volvo staple, extends all the way to the grille.
Volvo has also managed to blend certain design elements we have gotten used to seeing on their products over the years rather beautifully with the modern exterior of the XC60. There’s a pronounced shoulder line towards the rear complemented nicely by the vertically stacked L-shape taillights. There’s tasteful use of chrome all around, which the Indian car buying lot will certainly appreciate.
Volvo is offering the XC60, for now, only in the fully-loaded Inscription trim so, every feature you see here is standard fitment. This includes the full LED headlights, LED taillights, and the beautifully crafted 19-inch 10-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels.
What’s it like on the Inside?
Much like the exterior, the interior, more specifically the dashboard, echoes the layout of its elder siblings. And that is definitely no bad thing. The simple layout, coupled with the use of tasteful, high-quality materials make the Volvo XC60’s cabin a pleasant place. The driftwood inlay stands out and adds some contrast to the otherwise black dashboard. The Volvo XC60 gets the same 9-inch display in portrait orientation as the XC90 and S90 accompanied by vertically stacked air conditioning vents.
Our test car came with the ‘Maroon Brown’ interior treatment. Customers can also opt for Amber or Blond upholstery schemes based on their preferences. The front seats are well bolstered and can be electrically adjusted. Memory function ensures you won’t have to fiddle with the controls too much every time you take over driving duties from someone else. The rear bench offers good headroom and legroom and there is ample under-thigh support as well.
What about the features?
The amount of kit Volvo is offering the XC60 is truly impressive. And listing it all out will take up way too much space so, let’s just stick to the important bits. The instrument binnacle houses a 12.3 inch fully digital display in place of analogue dials. There’s a 9-inch touchscreen placed in the centre console that acts as the interface for the Sensus infotainment setup. In terms of responsiveness and ease of use, it is one of the best we’ve encountered. It also allows for smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Also part of the standard kit is a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio setup that delivers a fabulous aural experience.
The driver will appreciate the electrically adjustable front seats with massage function. However, the rear seat misses out on this feature. All four occupants get heated seats and there’s a panoramic sunroof on offer. There’s 360-degree camera view and the SUV also has the ability to locate a parking spot and steer itself in requiring only throttle and brake inputs from the driver.
Volvo in India has taken the lead when it comes to radar-based safety tech and the XC60 is equipped with a whole host of these features too. Steer Assist has been added to the City Safety system. The SUV also gets Oncoming Lane Mitigation and Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS), which utilize the Steer Assist function for collision mitigation. The City Safe system makes use of the colour head-up display to warn the driver in case he/she creeps up too close to the car in front. The only trouble with the level of safety tech on offer, however, is that certain features require proper road markings to function, something that is in short supply in India.
What’s it like to drive?
Nestled away under that expansive hood is a 2.0 L diesel engine, which may sound a little underwhelming at first. But in its D5 configuration, the one India gets, it produces 235 hp and 480 Nm, which is ample power and torque for a car this size and significantly higher than what its rivals offer. Volvo has equipped the XC60 with an Aisin sourced 8-speed automatic transmission and AWD as standard. The company has also employed something called PowerPulse. The setup basically stores compressed air, which is used to activate the turbocharger as soon as the throttle is pressed. This helps eliminate turbo lag.
The Volvo XC60 gathers speed fairly briskly and it displayed exemplary cruising ability during our drive. A big chunk of our route comprised dual carriageways, which require quick overtakes to negotiate slow moving traffic. The SUV pulled these moves off without any complaints for the most part. However, this did highlight the 8-speed gearbox’s reluctance to downshift at times.
For the more enthusiastic bunch, there is the “Dynamic” drive mode. Selecting it sharpens throttle response and adds weight to the steering. Paddle shifters let the driver take control of gear changes making the drive more involving. However, despite the change in character in “Dynamic” mode, the XC60 still doesn’t feel as engaging as we would have wanted it to be.
Perhaps the most impressive bit about the Volvo XC60 is the way it cocoons its occupants from the outside world. Although the diesel engine is fairly audible standing next to the car, barely any noise filters inside. Even at triple-digit speeds, the XC60 does a rather commendable job of keeping tyre and wind noise out of the cabin.
Volvo has set the car up keeping comfort and ease of use in mind, and that, in no way, is a bad thing. The steering is light and easy to use, but we would have preferred a bit more weight at higher speeds in Comfort and Eco modes. The adaptive air suspension does an impressive job of ironing out imperfections. In off-road mode, it increases the ground clearance to a maximum of 223 mm, which coupled with AWD, ensures that mild off-road excursions are dealt with relative ease by the XC60.
Should you buy one?
For now, only the Volvo XC60 D5 in Inscription spec is available to Indian customers. At INR 55.90 lakhs (ex-showroom India), the Volvo XC60 is extremely well priced keeping the long list of standard equipment it comes with in mind. While it is a couple of lakhs costlier than the segment leader, the superior specifications and a longer equipment list easily justify the premium.
As an overall package, the Volvo XC60 is not easy to fault. It is comfortable, its on-road mannerisms impress, and there’s a lot of kit on offer. And while looks are subjective, we doubt there will be too many who can offer negative criticism about its appearance. It is not the most engaging to drive, sure, but that is far from a deal breaker in our books. The Volvo XC60, then, has us convinced that it is the best buy in its segment currently.