The Volvo XC60 has been around in India for quite a while now. While it has always been a good looking SUV, the company gave the XC60 a facelift little over a year ago. The makeover has added more character and is now even more attractive than before. Additionally, it now gets a new engine and gearbox too. We spent a weekend with this Scandinavian in its sexy R-Design trim to see what it is all about. Did it XCite us? Read on to find out.
Let’s begin with the exteriors. The updated XC60 gets a larger front grille along with sleeker headlamps. There is a new bonnet which gets a squared layout. The front DRLs have now been incorporated into the restyled front bumper. Move on further and you will notice that the plastic cladding seen on the bumpers and doors on the earlier car no longer seen in the new one. There are skid plates at the front and rear and there is an engine protection the underside as well. The rear gets LED elements in the tail lamps and redesigned tail pipe ends for the dual exhausts. Our test car being the R-Design spec, it gets a black front grille with a prominent R-Design logo, ORVMs in silver, sportier bumpers and 5 spoke 18 inch alloy wheels with touches of grey which add a superb contrast to the Crystal White Pearl exterior paint finish of the car. The XC60 now looks more stylish than butchy now. And what a head turner it is. There were people giving it more than just one look wherever we went.
The doors open and shut with a reassuring thud echoing the fantastic build quality of the XC60. The R- Design spec gets an all black cabin which looks really sporty. The front sport seats are one of the best we have seen. They are very comfortable and superbly bolstered, and hold you firmly in place. Infact, you get the feeling of sitting in a sports car than an SUV. The seats come with electric adjust and memory function for the driver’s side. We do feel that there should have been a little more travel for height adjust though. There is a new TFT instrument cluster which is also seen in the V40 Cross Country. It gets three themes to choose from; Eco, Elegance and Performance. The leather wrapped three spoke multifunction steering wheel gets an R-Design logo and feels nice to hold. Nicely chiselled out paddle shifters are mounted behind the steering wheel. Check out the double stitching on the steering wheel, seats and the door pads. The attention to details is fantastic.
The floating centre console, a Volvo trademark, is slightly tilted towards the driver. A new colour infotainment display screen is located on the centre of the dashboard. While it looks nice, we do feel Volvo should have incorporated a touch screen interface. There is a plethora of buttons on the centre console, which makes operating the infotainment system a little cumbersome at times. The system now comes with internet connectivity. The new gear knob is more rounded and feels more plush than that on the pre facelift version. A couple of cup holders are located in the centre behind the gear lever. The glove box is spacious and has good stowage capacity. There is additional stowage space behind the floating centre console as well. A ticket holder is provided on the front windshield, which can be useful to keep toll receipts. Rear passengers get AC vents on the B Pillar.
The rear seats offer good support and are comfortable too. Leg room is adequate but the rear is best for two passengers because of the narrow width of the XC60. Two cup holders are located in the rear centre arm rest. Standard boot space is 495 litres which can be increased by flipping down the rear seats in a 40:20:40 fashion. Automatic climate control cools the cabin well but it was a rainy weekend when the Volvo was with us, so the weather was pleasant. The true test would be in our Indian summers. Sound quality from the Harman Kardon surround audio system is excellent and there are lots of settings you can play with if you are an audiophile. It comes with a CD/ DVD player, USB, Aux, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming. Other features include a Sat Nav, panoramic sunroof and parking sensors at the front and back along with a rear view camera.
The XC60 now comes with Volvo’s new generation Drive-E engine. This is a 2.0 litre four cylinder turbo charged diesel power plant that develops 181 bhp @4250 rpm with maximum torque of 400 Nm that comes up between 1750 and 2500 rpm. This new engine is leagues ahead of the old motor in every way. Refinement is on a new level and while there is the usual diesel clatter, it is not very audible. The motor is very silent during normal driving and it could be hard for a lay man to tell if there is an oil burner under the hood. It is only under hard acceleration that the engine feels a little rough. The new eight speed automatic gearbox is smooth and shifts are quick. In sport mode, it holds the revs right up to the redline before an upshift. Kick down response has a slight delay. When you push the pedal, it feels as if the transmission is thinking for a couple of seconds before it gives you a downshift. The XC60 can also be driven manually in Sport mode via the paddle shifters on the steering. A gear indicator appears on the TFT instrument cluster once you start shifting manually.
Handling is what you would expect from an SUV of its size. The XC60 is well planted around corners and body roll is controlled. There is an option to adjust steering weight via the on board computer too. The ride does feel stiff at times with some of the irregularities from the road filtering into the cabin. Our test car came shod with 235/60 R18 Pirelli P-Zero tyres which offer great grip.
Safety has always been synonymous with the Volvo brand. Infact, the company says that no one will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo car by the year 2020. As expected the XC60 comes loaded with safety features that include six airbags, ABS, Emergency Brake Assist, Whiplash protection for front seats, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control. The XC60 also comes with Volvo’s City Safety technology. This feature prevents you from hitting a car in front of you if it brakes suddenly, and works at speeds of up to 50 kmph. It senses if you are going to hit the car in front and then applies the brakes itself if necessary. We experienced this feature first hand in real time traffic and can tell you that it indeed works.
Volvo has been a part of the India motoring landscape for a few years but market presence and brand awareness hasn’t been much. That has all changed now with the company taking a more aggressive approach. Four models have been launched this year and dealer and service networks are also being ramped up. Peace of mind is now assured when you buy a Volvo car. Coming to the XC60, the new engine and gearbox have completely transformed the car. That apart, it has a design that stands out, is solidly built and has fantastic interiors too. At 54 lakh ex showroom Thane for the R-Design, what you get is a car that is a fully imported CBU, loaded with features and is as safe as a vault. So if you are looking at buying and luxury SUV that does everything well and at the same time stands out in a crowd, the Volvo XC60 should definitely be on your radar.
Check out the Volvo XC60 R-Design photo gallery: