Home / Reviews / At home: on the road, off it – Volvo XC60

 

Life’s become hectic and I love it. Reason? There are beauties to be looked at, performers to be driven and engineering to be tested. Last weekend, all these three factors came together and turned another weekend-at-work into a completely fun-filled and rejuvenating outing.The stage was set at Mahabaleshwar with the all-new Volvo XC60 to play with. Last month, when I drove the Swedish SUV in New Delhi, I had learnt of all the off-road capabilities and amazing electronics that do their job when asked for. However, there was no chance of trying them out on the streets of the capital. Mahabaleshwar was a good place to try out some acts off the road and see if the XC could really impress one. In the untouched wild and on the tough terrains, the Volvo felt at home. The suspension takes good care of the drive on the rough, rocky surfaces. It’s good, very good, but still not a class leader. However, talk of other features like roll-over protection system, side-impact protection system, whiplash protection system, DSTC anti-skid system and the list just doesn’t end. The Volvo XC60 turns out to be a highly feature-laden and safest SUV around. Negotiating the dust and dirt, exploring the unseen parts of Mahabaleshwar brought me to an unfenced territory, which once used to be a golf course. A little action sideways and a little up and down the hillocks gave a fair idea that this Volvo is no nonsense off-roader. With absolutely no signs of nervousness or tension, the Volvo succeeded in fulfilling every bit of my craving for off-roading action.
While the fun off the road is action-packed, no less is the thrill on the road. The Volvo XC60 manages 0-100 km/h in 9.5 seconds and accepts to cruise the highways comfortably at speeds in the vicinity of 150 km/h. With a true top speed of 197.7 km/h achieved, there was hardly anything I had to complain about the XC60. Having said that, however, there was one thing that I wasn’t too happy with – the gearshifts of the six-speed automatic box. They aren’t quick enough and fail to match the shift time of the dual clutch boxes on offer in the market.
In the city, the Volvo doesn’t feel too big either. It’s the perfect sized SUV that doesn’t pose a problem while driving around even in the crowded streets like those of Pune. Adequate legroom at the back ensures a comfortable drive for the passengers too.
The safety features of the XC60 have been discussed a lot and there is no doubt they are all fantastic on paper. However, I was really astonished the way those features come into play and bring out the best from the Volvo. Driving through Pune is one of the scariest things to do with people around you who consider the roads to be their own backyards. One such biker cut across the lane, came too close to the XC and the automatic braking system (which works with the help of the RADAR on the front grille and a camera on the windscreen) did its job brilliantly well to slow down the car even before I could react. This, however, is a part of the optional package on offer. With that kind of safety, there is hardly any question of the XC60 not being the safest SUV in town.
The weekend was well spent in the company of nature, rocking and rolling over paths unseen, driving the dirt and facing the tough. While coming back, the only thought crossing my mind was the price at which Volvo offer the XC60 in India. At just Rs 45 lakh (OTR, Pune), the Volvo is much cheaper than its competitors and doesn’t really miss out on anything. Besides, let us not forget that Volvo is bringing in the XC60 through the CBU route and not the CKD, which ensures no compromise on the quality front too. As I said last month, Volvo are fiercely attacking the market and with the first batch of XC60s sold even before the launch, there is no doubt that the Swedish manufacturer is achieving targets.

CAPTIONS:
The 2.4-litre D5 diesel motor powering the Volvo XC60 pulls strongly from 0-100 km/h in mere 9.5 seconds

1. Boot space of 495 litres with all the seats up is adequate for carrying loads of luggage
2.The seven-inch LCD entertainment system along with wireless headphones comes as a part of accessories

 

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