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How cool, Volvo owners. When purchasing any new Volvo, have the option to download the Volvo On Call (VOC). This app pairs to your car, giving you control of the vehicle as well as relevant data. It is basically a multitasker - you can remotely lock or unlock the doors to your car, check the fuel level from your office desk, and cool or heat your car before you get in – and you can do this all via your smartphone, smartwatch, tablet or desktop. Cool hey! You get a Minion, in the App, that can tell you about the best coffee spots in town and send the destination to your its navigation system. It knows when you have appointments, where they are, and how to get you there!
We all get a bit frantic sometimes. This can mean forgetting to lock your car. Be thankful for the App – you’ll get a notification message letting you know, and you can lock it remotely from the App. If you are unfortunately in an accident, Volvo On Call automatically contacts the emergency services for assistance and shares your location.
Other remarkable capabilities of Volvo On Call include the ability to provide an in-car WiFi hotspot, which can be accessed by everyone in your car. You can stream music and films too!
Going back to being frantic – you park and don’t pay attention. You return to the parking lot and can’t find your Volvo. Relax, the app will show you the location of your car on a high-definition map, and then provide directions on how to reach it. You can even ask your car to hoot and flash for five seconds to identify itself and guide you to its location.
Volvo On Call is a standard feature in South Africa with effect from model year 2020 Volvo derivatives. It is entirely free of charge for five years. Thereafter, it can be extended for a small fee.
I also got a Volvo to review along with the App, and they do go hand in hand after all! An XC60 T6 Inscription, a medium-sized family SUV; space for five adults and brimming with practicality. The XC60 shares its platform with its bigger sibling, the XC90. Very similar but not a scaled-down carbon copy. Rather, the XC60 has its own design nuances, like the L-Shaped light cluster at the rear, which is like the V90 Estate. Although the XC60 is elegant and sophisticated like the XC90, its proportions are less overt and more harmonious.
Where the XC90 has bold masculine lines, the new XC40 is rather playful and the XC60 is elegant. This unique approach to individualized design is appreciated; it is a sign of the brand’s understanding of their customers’ needs and wants.
Keeping things simple is Volvo’s strong point. The Volvo XC60 range is offered in either 2.0-L turbocharged diesel or petrol motor. The only variance is the power outputs, via the turbocharger, that is denoted by badging. The D4 (140kW/400N.m) is the entry point into the diesel range and arguably, all you’ll need. The D5 motor is more powerful (173kW/480N.m), which is enough to accelerate the vehicle to 100km/h in 7.2 seconds. The petrol options are the T5 (187kW/350N.m) or T6 (235kW/400N.m). I’d stick with either of the diesel options because they are quiet, refined and efficient.
Depending on your budget and specification preferences, the Volvo has custom packaged their cars under three archetypes: Momentum is the entry-level spec (let’s call it executive chic), Inscription (let’s call it elegant luxury) and R-Design (we’ll go with sport Luxe).
Highlights of the XC60 are a gorgeous interior that features refined pieces of driftwood fitted into a flowing decorative dash panel. Like the XC90, the XC60 features a large touchscreen tablet that operates a plethora of the car’s systems. It takes some time to familiarise yourself with its system due to the huge variety of functions available, but once you get it, it’s easy enough to operate. The optional Bowers & Wilkins sound system is phenomenal. If you like music, it’s well worth the investment.
Oh, and the seats! Best in the business – comfortable, supportive and luxurious due to the use of real soft-touch leather. Accommodations are generous, too. The boot is large with lots of usable space – not the biggest in its class, but nothing to worry about.
Being a Volvo, safety is a priority. Fitted with every conceivable sensor, laser and warning aid, the car is completely averse to an accident. The systems are so advanced, they potentially could improve the driver’s skills. I enjoyed the semi-autonomous driving aid – Pilot Assist. During rush hour traffic on a congested highway (up to speeds of 130 km/h), I was able to activate the system. Acceleration, braking and assisted steering are covered. There is no chance of having a bumper bash in this car.
Is this the best SUV in its class? If criteria for awarding an accolade like the World Car of the Year are things like being unique, comfortable, safe, luxurious and very refined, the Volvo XC60 is a worthy winner. There are sportier SUVs, but that isn’t the point in this category of cars.
Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLC.
XC60 D4 AWD Momentum R692 600
XC60 T5 AWD Momentum R719 600
XC60 D5 AWD Momentum R763 400
XC60 T6 AWD Momentum R773 200
Service and warranty
The Volvo XC60 range is sold with a 5 year/100 000km maintenance plan.
XC60 D4 AWD R-Design R738 600
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