Volvo XC60 first drive review

first_imgVolvo is on what can be called a dream run worldwide. The first of its new generation cars, the large SUV, the XC90 has become a bestseller while the other cars of the 90-series are doing very well as well. After Volvo is done with the 90-series, it is launching new gen cars of the 60-series and like the 90 line-up, it is the SUV that undergoes the scalpel first. Even though the XC60 had its best ever year in terms of sales in 2016, it is due to be phased out this year with the new gen car, and so the new car has to be really special.To be honest, the new XC60 looks great but looks much more like a cross-over than a true-blue SUV. It is less muscular than the outgoing XC60 and even less muscular than the XC90. It is meant to provide a less intimidating SUV to the urban folk who want the friendliness of a car but the utility of an SUV. Once the positioning of the car has been defined, things begin to fall into place. It is lower than the outgoing car and in fact has very little in common with it as even the platform that is now used.All new Volvo XC60The XC60 is based on the same SPA under-pinning on which the XC90 is built and is ready for both normal and plug-in hybrid powertrains. At its reveal in Geneva, the XC60 is shown with both diesel and petrol powertrains featuring 4-cylinder engines but there will three cylinder engines on offer later on as well as a plug-in hybrid powertrain.advertisementThe interiors of the XC60 are similar to the ones on the XC90 and have the same luxury feel to them as the 90-series cars. In fact there are some nice iterations to the interiors beginning with the vertical wood grains that have been employed on the wood inserts on the dashboard and the doors.  In addition to that, one of the best infotainment systems gets even better with changes to the touch icons and the layout of the vertical touchscreen.If Volvo has got the positioning of the XC60 right as more of a crossover then it is sure to carry forward the successes of the 90-series further into the 60-series of cars.All new Volvo XC60Drive in BarcelonaEven though the new XC60 is based on a totally new platform, the SPA (Scalable Platform Architecture) that also underpins the XC90, it is nearly of the same dimensions as the outgoing car, albeit with some significant changes. Although it is broader than the current XC60, it is both lower and shorter. And despite being shorter, it has a larger wheelbase, which leads to better utilization of in-cabin space.Design:On the outside, the Volvo genes are apparent, and the XC60 bears a striking resemblance to the XC90 and sports similar design cues, but modified for the smaller sibling. The Thor’s Hammer DRLs, though present now have a sleeker and sharper look, all with the intention of making the car sportier and less butch. The Volvo logo on the front grille is the same but the grille itself is different. Of course the stance of the cars is totally different.All new Volvo XC60What is coming to India?In India the car will go on sale towards the end of the year and to start off with be available only in the top-end Inscription variant with all the bells and whistles as standard including pneumatic suspension. This will include all the driver assistant systems and for the first time also the radar based systems including Pilot Assist and many of the safety systems. Also, to start off with only the D5 diesel engine would be available though a T6 is also under consideration.First Impressions:So we picked an Inscription D5 for the drive and from the airport itself headed towards the hills surrounding Barcelona.All new Volvo XC60Whether it is seen on the show floor in a motor show or in the VIP parking lot of Barcelona airport, the XC60 is for sure a looker Whether it is the distinctive front or the even more distinctive rear with the edgy tail-lamps and the unmistakably Volvo silhouette, the XC60 is even better looking than its older sibling.All new Volvo XC60 Step inside and for a minute we think that we are stepping inside the XC90 – the same finesse, the same excellent interiors that set the benchmark for the XC90 – everything is repeated here though with some changes. There is now a wood strip that goes around and cradles the dashboard – and is again very distinct, with a driftwood finish, adding a Scandinavian charm to the cabin. The same 9in vertical touchscreen sits in the centre but with a reworking of the icons, making them even easier to use with even larger touch areas and a simpler layout. The instrument panel is digital, displayed on a high res LCD screen, and the heads-up display adds another information source for the driver.advertisementThe start-stop knob though is now unidirectional, and has to be turned in clockwise to both start and shut-off the engine. The drive mode select knob is also a replication of the XC90.All new Volvo XC60Engine:The 4-cylinder 235bhp diesel engine is also the same as that on the XC90 and comes complete with PowerPulse tech for the doing away of turbo lag. On starting it is smooth and actually never feels stressed mated to the 8-speed automatic transmission.All new Volvo XC60Drive Feel:The car has excellent all round visibility and despite the lower stance, gives a commanding driving position. In the comfort mode the air suspension is very soft and stops being just short of wallowy – and although the roads around Barcelona are nice, we have to say that the ride quality is much improved from the outgoing XC60. And despite the 20in wheels, the car feels gravitating towards comfort. In India though we might get 18in or 19in wheels. The car is not a crisp handler even after putting the drive select mode in the Sport mode but that is not something that any on us in India will mind as the suspension does get taut and the response from the engine and the steering, all gets much more sporty.All new Volvo XC60Features:No one could have though that Volvos would be leading the class in terms of technology on board but the XC60 continues to raise the bar that has been taken pretty high by Volvo. Yes, though most of the systems are safety related, the list of tech coming to the aid of the driver for his or her comfort is impressive as well. Whether it be pilot assist or blind spot alerts or steering assist, the XC60 leads the pack and in fact has some systems that are making its debut on a Volvo for the first time, like the amalgamation of steering assist with blind spot warning where the car actually steers away from a potentially hazardous situation.All new Volvo XC60Verdict:All in all the India spec car with be loaded with all the systems, features and equipment available anywhere on an XC60. This would include all the radar based safety systems that have been missing from the Indian cars, air suspension, a Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, wood inlays, Napa leather perforated seats and a heads up display.advertisementAll new Volvo XC60Given the length and breadth of the features and equipment list, the fact that the car is spacious and can seat five easily plus the pricing strategy that Volvo employs in India, the XC60 will be the pick of the cars in its segment as things stand and it remains to be seen whether the new Audi Q5 or the upcoming new BMW X3 can match up.ALSO READ:First Drive review: Volvo S60 PolestarALSO READ:Volvo V90 Cross Country first drive reviewlast_img

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