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Volvo XC60 First Drive: Quintessential Swedish Sophistication

first_imgSimilar to the compact SUV segment that has caught the fancy of Indian buyers, luxury SUVs are slowly but surely following suit. Taking a cue from the likes of Audi Q5s, the soon-to-be launched Lexus NX300h and the BMW X3, the Volvo’s XC60 has been steadily wooing the Indian markets and racking up handsome sales figures while at it. Having launched the new generation XC60, Volvo is all set to up its game.So what does this new SUV pack in? For starters, it is based on Volvo’s highly versatile Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and is 44mm longer, and 11mm wider as compared to the previous version. It also sits 14mm lower than before. As far as the looks go, true to its Scandinavian roots, the XC60 shares an uncanny resemblance to the striking XC90 and the S90. However there are some features that make the XC60 unique. One of which is the extended LED headlamp panel that stretches all the way into the grille. While it continues to have Thor’s hammer daytime running lights, the grille comes with a healthy dose to chrome embellishments. Overall the SUV looks sharp, irrespective from where you decide to look at it. In profile, the large diamond-cut 19in alloy wheels look stellar and do a splendid job in filling up the wheel well making it proportionate with the rest of the car. The car maker has also added a generous amount of chrome to make the profile stand out.What is also clear is that the XC60 boasts of a rather substantial 223mm of ground clearance. The rear end is typical of Volvo’s quintessential design and comes with large Christmas tree-style taillights. The tailgate can be opened up in multiple ways and the boot is easy to access as well. Though what truly make a Volvo special are the interior and the XC60 lives up to expectations and then some. Typical of the makers, the dash is classy and materials like polished wood can been all across the panel giving the SUV a seriously sophisticated look.advertisementThe centre console has a massive 12.3in display which includes essential features like a sat-nav, entertainment, Bluetooth, WiFi tethering and air conditioning. This large tablet-like display eliminates the need for buttons and which in turn has simplified matters. The unit is easy to get used to and access is easy thanks to the large fonts and glare-free display.The instrument panel is fully loaded and being digital, the display styles can be changed according to your style. The central console has a few knobs and buttons to operate the driving modes and also houses the starter knob. The seats are ventilated and it won’t take you long to sink into the leather and enjoy the luxurious ride. The cabin feels spacious and uncluttered. When speaking of the interiors, a special mention goes out to Volvo for the attention to detail. My personal favorite remains to be the little Swedish flag stitched to the side of the seats.When it comes to the mechanicals, Volvo has decided to use the 2.0-litre diesel engine on the XC60. Being in the D5 state of tune, the XC60 is endowed with a mega 235bhp and 480Nm of torque. It is mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, that powers to all four wheels using sophisticated AWD tech. The XC60 also comes loaded with air suspension as standard and this allows the car to be lowered (to ease ingress/egress) when the driver selects park mode. This is yet another detail which makes this SUV special.Coming to its performance, needless to say, the Volvo lives up to its name of being amongst the safest brands to drive. As we got behind the wheel, we landed ourselves thick in the middle of rush hour traffic on the roads of Chennai. Navigating our way across narrow alleys and dodging everything from two, three, four wheelers and some four-legged animals, we made our way to the famous East Coast road.Thanks to the silent cabin, we easily made our way through Chennai’s traffic humdrum, even as the proximity sensors went berserk. The blind-spot indicator within the ORVM too lit up multiple times all in a bid to save and guide us through. Though the further we went on the ECR, the traffic faded away and we had finally left the metropolitan behind.Along the way, we experienced a bit of autonomous tech in form of the lane assist. Every time the system sensed lane violation it would make mild steering inputs to keep the SUV within the lane. At the same time the steering would vibrate to alert the driver. So much so that it actually tackled a rather decent corner all by itself.advertisementThis just goes to prove that the introduction of automated tech is just a matter of time. But what the ECR also allowed us to do was to test the performance. A gentle push of the accelerator was enough to whisk the large SUV to three digit speeds. Quite unknowingly we were sitting at substantially high speeds and within the cabin it was all calm and quiet. Such was the level of the NVH packaging. Adding to this, the engine is extremely smooth and revs freely. The automatic box shifts through seamlessly and then there are paddle shifters for those sporty moments.The XC60 also comes with air suspension and it adjusts according to the driving modes. So while in Comfort Mode, the XC60 turns into a luxury yacht, in Sport, things get tough and ready to take on corners. The steering too is light and responsive. So while within Chennai, there was no feeling of fatigue, on the empty ECR, the feedback was rather good. Overall the XC60 turns out to be a rather good surprise and good value.last_img read more