The World Car of the Year, Volvo’s new XC60

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Exciting or intimidating – to drive the 2018 World Car of the Year? 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 - for easy on the eye and 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.

Driving the XC60 is sublime. The D5 Inscription model I drove was fitted with optional air suspension. With or without it, the ride quality is outstanding, as with all Volvo SUVs. With the system, combined with the highly insulated cabin, the world moves past you as you drive in an extremely relaxed, cosseted environment. Steering is quick and light with an adequate amount of feedback. The XC60 is balanced for comfort first. Cars like the Jaguar F-Pace and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio are sportier in their ability to entertain the drive during enthusiastic driving.

Acceleration from the cars 2.0-L turbocharged diesel is effortless. The engine features a unique PowerPulse technology that ensures no lag at pull-offs. The D5 motor is powerful (173kW/480N.m) enough to accelerate the vehicle to 100km/h in 7.2 seconds.

The entire range is offered with either 2.0-L turbocharged petrol or diesel motors. The only variance is the power outputs. The D4 (140kW/400N.m) is the entry point to the range and arguably all you’ll need. 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. The system takes time to familiarize yourself with, 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 Rx price 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. 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 – Piolet 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 bashing 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 is XC60 worthy winner. There are sportier SUVs, but that isn’t the point in this category of cars.

Plus +

  • Build quality.
  • Design.
  • Saftey.
  • Refinement.

Minus –

  • Very little.

The competition

Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Subaru Forester.

The pricing

XC60 D4 AWD Momentum R666 924

XC60 T5 AWD Momentum  R686 546

XC60 D5 AWD Momentum R735 636

XC60 T6 AWD Momentum  R738 084


Service and warranty

 The Volvo XC60 range is sold with a 5 year/100 000 km maintenance plan.


My Choice

XC60 D4 AWD R-Design R710 400




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