Home / Features / The XC60 – Swedes fire the first salvo

 

The new Volvo XC60 is here to take on the Germans. Adhish Alawani gets a first-hand feel of this highly advanced and one of the safest SUVs around

Volvo’s serious approach towards the Indian market has now begun to be apparent. The Swedish company is moving out of the box, literally, and coming in full force to take on the competition without fear. The long Volvo drought with no new launches seems to be over. The brand is all set to pounce on the potential market with offerings that could do wonders, if it is able to convince the customer about the pedigree of its product..
The Volvo XC60 marks the company’s first offering, from its quiver of arrows. The XC60 was first seen on the international scene back in mid-2008 and some two-and-a-half years later, it has reached the Indian shores. At first sight, one quickly perceives that the styling of this SUV is unlike a typical Volvo. 

The XC60 is one of the first cars that actually drifts away from Volvo’s dull and boxy design. It has been replaced by a softly curving roof-line that is ably aided by an aggressive front-end and a tailgate that create an air of modern-day styling. The vertical daytime running lights placed between the headlamps and the grille are similar to what we saw on the latest S60 last month. In fact, the S60 has borrowed these from the XC60 itself. From the side profile, the pulled back headlamps, low and aggressive front end, windows that taper towards the rear and the sharp-edged tail-lamps conform to new-age design theory.

Inside the cabin, there is the feel of a neatly organised instrumentation console, properly laid out air-conditioning controls in the same array of buttons that houses the music system as well as the toggle buttons for safety features such as active parking assists, lane change warning and hill descent control etc. The seats are extremely comfortable and adequately supportive with innumerable adjustments to choose from. There are fine details in the cabin such as leather inserts on the inside of the doors, classic wood finish around the dashboard and matte finish aluminum bits that lend a feel-good factor once inside the car. The panoramic sunroof adds the final touch of flamboyance to the XC60.


To start with, Volvo is offering the XC60 only with the D5 engine mated with a six-speed auto-box and an all-time four-wheel drive system. The 2.4-litre, five pot, turbocharged oil burner offers tremendous amount of torque, 420 Nm to be precise. The best part of this is its flat curve. Kicking in at 1,500 rpm, the maximum torque is available all the way until 3,250 rpm. With so much on offer through such a wide rev range, the XC60 will be extremely tractable in almost any given situation.

Though time constraints didn’t allow me to test the car’s off-road abilities, I had a go at Delhi’s crowded streets as well as open three-lane roads. The car feels pretty much at home in both these conditions. Within city traffic, the pull from the torque makes the car extremely drivable. Even in slow moving traffic, there is no hint of a jerky response from the engine.

The steering of this car feels a little on the soft side, even at comparatively high speeds. The chassis and suspension come with three settings to choose from – Comfort, Sport and Advanced. In the Comfort mode, the XC60 feels very comfortable but in the Sport and Advanced modes it stiffens up the drive a little. The only complaint about the XC60 comes in the form of engine noise. Even with the windows rolled up, the sound from the D5 penetrates the cabin. Of course, the phenomenal Harman & Kardon audio system (optional) playing your favourite music, will ensure that you don’t hear a sound from the engine!

The brand-name Volvo is synonymous with safety and the XC60 is no exception. The SUV is loaded with safety features and technologies that include Radar and Camera Assisted Automatic Braking, Active Bending Headlights, Hill Descent Control (Forward and Rear), Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Roll-Over Protection System, ABS with EBD and the list can go on and on. The SUV that we got for our test-drive had the a-c status, car settings and such other things displayed on a small screen popping out of the dash.

However, the car that will actually appear in the market will get rid of this display and instead have a seven-inch LCD that will integrate everything, including the music system and the optional navigation system.

Volvo is planning to position itself aggressively in the Indian market and the most important feature of this is the price of the XC60. At under Rs 40 lakh (ex-showroom), the XC60 is expected to give serious competition to the Q5 and X3. This SUV has potentially everything that can change Volvo’s fate in this country. Let’s hope the XC60 does that for the Swedes.

BLURB
With 420Nm of torque on offer through a wide rev range, the XC60 will be extremely tractable in almost any given situation

CAPTIONS
1&2: The Radar on the grille and Camera on windshield work together to detect and determine an obstruction and feed the data to an electronic module that handles auto braking
3. Audio controls and ports for headphones at rear make for a good feature
4. Well laid out buttons on wooden centre console lend a classy feel to the interiors
5. Enough leg room in the rear offers sufficient comfort
6. Boomerang shaped tail-lamps lend aggression at the rear

 

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