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Driving the 2018 World Car of the Year - exciting or intimidating? The all-new Volvo XC60 is the second incarnation of Volvo’s best-selling car. The previous generation reigned hugely popular over its nine-year lifecycle. Impressively, during that period, a million units were sold. Additionally, the previous XC60 in its last year of sales, which was its best, remained the best-selling SUV in Europe.
Following on from the launches of the 90 Series of Volvo vehicles, the XC90, S90, and V90, the XC60 is the fourth new vehicle in the Volvo family. Over the last several years, the Volvo brand has been streamlining their brand and product offering with people being their inspiration when developing cars.
True to the authenticity of the brand, Volvo focus on creating safe, comfortable and luxurious vehicles. Their new design language is fresh and more vibrant than ever before. Volvos are for thinking people; people who enjoy Scandinavian design – created with the environment in mind, safety as a priority and aesthetic simplicity - easy on the eye and for practical use.
The XC60 is 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 similar to 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 (let’s call this sporty).
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 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, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Subaru Forester.
XC60 D4 AWD Momentum R680 324
XC60 T5 AWD Momentum R707 046
XC60 D5 AWD Momentum R750 436
XC60 T6 AWD Momentum R760 184
Service and warranty
The Volvo XC60 range is sold with a 5 year/100 000km maintenance plan.
XC60 D4 AWD R-Design R733 100
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