Volvo Auto India has had a very good year in the country this year, especially in terms of the number of new models launched. The automaker began the year by launching its S60 Polestar performance sedan in April, followed by the V90 Cross country station wagon in July. It ended this year’s launch schedule with the introduction of the second-generation XC60 SUV for the model year 2018. The premium SUV was launched at a price of Rs 55.9 lakh, ex-showroom, in the ‘Inscription’ variant that includes the Tech Pack consisting of all top-end features.
Volvo had launched the XC60 globally in 2008, and it has taken the company almost an entire decade to launch a new generation of this model. This is not a negative, as in the case of the XC60, since this model has been the largest-selling SUV for Volvo Cars globally, as well as for the company in India. In fact, Volvo Auto India said the XC60 has accounted for about 30 % of its total vehicle sales till date. The XC60 will be offered by Volvo as a completely built-up unit (CBU), with no plans at present to assemble the vehicle locally in India.
We got to experience the all-new XC60 in a drive organised by Volvo along a stretch of the East Coast Road (ECR) in Tamil Nadu. We tell you all about the features and equipment of this latest offering from Volvo Auto India, which is also a fairly new product in the company’s overall model line-up.
EXTERIOR & INTERIOR
The Volvo XC60, like its previous iteration, continues to carry a more dynamic approach to its exterior design, when compared to its elder sibling. However, the new XC60 features a design that provides a visual effect of having shed a little weight and toned itself post a workout. The result is more contoured body lines, along with a sharper SUV-like design. The XC60 features strong crease lines on the bonnet that flow into the large grille with vertical chrome radiator slats, and large Volvo symbol in the middle. The front bumper offers a good mix of curves and sharp lines, giving the SUV its much-needed aggressive look up-front.
The side profile features a prominent crease on the bottom-half of the SUV, which extends from the front fender till the rear door. The shoulder line of the SUV appears towards the middle of the rear door and gets carried into the rear tail lamps, and although present only towards the rear, provides it with a unique design perspective. Additionally, the bottom of the door features a chrome insert with ‘Inscription’ engraved. The Volvo XC60 features 19-inch alloy wheels with 10-spoke design in dual-tone glossy black and chrome, mated with 235/55 R19 Michelin LATITUDE Sport 3 tyres, with a rubber compound specially-created for Volvo Cars.
A signature design cue of the new-generation Volvo vehicles is the Thor hammer lighting design, and the XC60 features Thor hammer LED daytime running light design stronger than other Volvo models. The DRLs seem to extend out of the headlight cluster and culminate into the front grill. The XC60 features an automatic full-LED headlamp system with active high beam illumination, DRLs that transform into the turn indicator, and fog lamps equipped with cornering function. It has turn-indicators integrated into the outside rear-view mirrors, along with L-shaped, full-LED rear tail lights that continue into the boot lid.
Inside, the XC60 is as comfortable a place to be as its elder siblings from across the 90 series model range. The premium SUV features Nappa leather perforated upholstery with heating function for all seats, four-zone climate control system, human-machine interface (HMI) infotainment system and panoramic sunroof. The front seats feature Volvo’s specially-contoured design for comfort and ergonomics, as well as full-electric adjustment with memory and massage function. All seats offer high-levels of comfort with regards to lumbar, thigh, neck and back support, as long as there are four occupants. The large windows, along with the large panoramic sunroof add to the roomy and spacious Scandinavian design of the interiors of the Volvo XC60.
The XC60 carries over most of the interior elements unchanged from the 90 series vehicles, with the main change coming in the form of a new wood inlay. The wood inlays mimics driftwood and is spread across the width of the dashboard and into the centre console. The inlay feels premium and soft, while offering a bit of coarseness to add to the overall ruggedness of the XC60. The cabin has been well-insulated to isolate all engine, tyres and wind noises. This is in addition to the non-existence of any form of vibration and harshness, making the cabin almost as quiet as that of a petrol vehicle.
The new Volvo XC60 is powered by the same engine found in the XC90 and the V90 Cross Country models. It is the 1,969 cc, four-cylinder, twin-turbo D5 diesel engine delivering maximum power of 235 hp at 4,000 rpm, along with 480 Nm of peak torque from 1,750-2,250 rpm. The engine is mated to an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission from Aisin Seiki, Japan, with steering-mounted paddle shifters and features an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system. The XC60 is offered with four driving modes – Comfort, Eco, Dynamic and Off-Road, altering engine feedback, transmission, steering and suspension characteristics according to selected mode.
This engine features Volvo’s Power Pulse Technology, which essentially spools up the turbo instantly and deleting any turbo lag that would be experienced from a stop-go situation. The eight-speed automatic transmission and the engine combine to offer an ample amount of power to the XC60, making the drive dynamic when needed. The driving modes offer a good level of variation in the feedback offered for each mode, making the vehicle performance apt for various driving conditions.
CHASSIS & DRIVING EXPERIENCNE
The biggest difference of the second-generation XC60, when compared to its predecessor is that the SUV is now based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform. SPA is one of two vehicle architectures developed by Volvo Cars on which all future models will be based on. The other vehicle platform is the company’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). Volvo is said to have invested a total of $ 11 bn in the development of both these vehicle architectures.
The Volvo XC60 features a fully-active chassis system equipped with air suspension on all four wheels, along with the AWD system, which has a 60 % bias to the front wheels during regular driving conditions. It comes with aluminium double wishbone suspension set-up in the front, with multi-link design at the rear. The driving modes allow the driver to get the best performance out of the vehicle, as they make appropriate changes to the chassis and shock absorbers. The air suspension also allows the car to be lowered at the rear for ease in loading items into the boot, by pushing a button inside the load area.
The XC60 is a well-behaved SUV – much to the credit of the SPA platform – especially when driven on good-quality highway roads, which our drive was predominantly on. The vehicle doesn’t feel twitchy when pushed into long curves at high speeds, which may not be the case it terms of small, hilly roads. At high speeds the vehicle does seem to be a little cushiony, mostly due to the air suspension. However, four-wheel disc brakes, along with the specially-developed wide tyres bring back a high level of confidence in the SUV. The power steering unit in the SUV is a speed-dependant one, but doesn’t offer much feedback while driving.
SAFETY, INFOTAINMENT & CONVENIENCE
The all-new XC60 is the fifth model from Volvo Auto India to feature radar-assisted safety technologies after the XC90, S90, S60 Polestar and V90 Cross Country. The radar-based technologies offer detection of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals; collision avoidance; oncoming and run-off road mitigation; lane-keeping aid and adaptive cruise control. It also offers blind spot detection with steering assistance, road sign recognition, Heads-Up Display, and rear collision warning. It also comes with Park Pilot, which enables in automatic parking in and out, with capability for both parallel and perpendicular parking manoeuvres.
The highlight on the dashboard of the new XC60 is the Sensus infotainment system, equipped with a 9-inch portrait touchscreen. The infotainment system includes a 1,100 W Bowers and Wilkinson audio system with 15 speakers, wireless connectivity for smartphones through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, steering-wheel buttons and voice control. It also provides satellite navigation, and is the screen for the 360° view of the vehicle. The infotainment system is slightly-angled towards the driver for better ergonomics and has an improved interface from the earlier version for ease of handling, noted Volvo Auto India.
From our first drive of the all-new XC60, it is clear that Volvo Cars is focussed on continuing to keep the premium SUV as a high-selling model in its vehicle range. The powertrain option, technology features, comfort and safety equipment and levels of luxury make the XC60 a very compelling choice, when compared to competition. The vehicle’s launch price of Rs 55.9 lakh also makes it a good value proposition as a standalone product, but could be considered premium when compared to a couple of competitors. However, as a vehicle carrying so many features unchanged from models that form the top-end of the company’s line-up, the XC60 could be poised to receive much interest from those in the market looking at purchasing a five-seater SUV in the premium segment.
TEXT & PHOTO: Naveen Arul
(Read a detailed review of the vehicle on our website www.autotechreview.com)