It has been said before and I am going to say it again: Volvos are no longer boring. Gone are the days when they were considered the sensible librarians of the auto world. Now, it is the teenager who sneaks past librarians for a bit of mischief. Well, the new XC60 isn't as striking to look at as the V90 Cross Country was, but it promises to hold its ground by being loaded to the gills with features. It's time for us to take the SUV on a short drive in order to figure out two things. First, does it still have the old-school Volvo charm? And second, just how modern is it?
Radar based safety systems
Excellent massage fuction for front seats
Very comfortable seats
Effective air suspension
Gear indicator only on instrument cluster
It is offered in just one variant
Only heating function for rear seats
Stand Out Features
Bowers & Wilkins 15 speaker sound system
The 2017 Volvo XC60 is quite a competent luxury SUV. It’s premium, properly comfortable for four people, and is loaded to the gills with safety systems that can keep you in check when you aren’t paying attention to the road. The cabin’s noise insulation and seat comfort are commendable. Its high tech air suspension is extremely capable and can alter the ride experience depending on what you want the car to do.
Add to that the fact that it looks really good and packs in enough features to even keep children happy. This really makes the new XC60 a very capable urban SUV. Expect a price of around Rs 55 lakh for the D5 Inscription variant, the only one available at the time of launch, on December 12.
But first, let’s take some time to admire the finer details. This Volvo no longer has the pointy nose of the previous generation. Instead, it gets the new-age Volvo grill which is flanked by sleek headlamps featuring the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED DRLs, which extends right till the grille itself. A new touch here is that the bumper features sharper creases towards the end, which add some drama to the front profile. The cornering fog lamps are neatly tucked under the lower lip. This combined with the active bending headlights light up corners while turning at night
Move to the side a bit and you realise that while the new design is sharper, it's still the subtlety of the XC60 that makes it look beautiful. The window line now kinks up at the back, making way for a more angular C-pillar. But the body crease still flows straight and goes right into the taillamps. Viewed from the side, the best features though are the 19-inch 10-spoke wheels with their low-ish profile 235/55 size tyres. The tyres used in the XC60 are made by Michelin especially for Volvo, with the addition of a grippier compound to make the car accelerate faster and stop in a lower distance.
Get behind the SUV and the vertically oriented taillamps take you back to the older generation. But, this time around, the units flow into the boot gate. These feature an LED border which adds quite a modern touch. But still, the rear looks typically Volvo -- simple, sober and a tad boring. Also, the new XC60 is 44mm longer, 11mm wider and 14mm shorter than the last gen, giving it a squatter stance. This helps the front of the car make a strong impression and gives this SUV an impressive presence. But, as you move to the back, it starts to fade away, just a bit.
Premium leather has been used on the seats, dashboard and doors to wrap the occupants in luxury. The Nappa leather used on the seats is of fine quality and it feels luxurious. The dashboard looks quite similar to the S90 with a similar layout and an identical centre console. But here, the highlight is the matte finish ‘driftwood’ which runs along the width of the dashboard to break the black monotony. It all look simple yet elegant. The seats offer a commanding driving position with a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster and a heads-up display showing all relevant information.
Speaking of the seats, the front two are heated, ventilated and feature one of the best massage functions we have ever experienced in a car. Not to mention, they are electronically adjustable, right till the under-thigh cushion. The are extremely well bolstered and keep the occupants cocooned right from their thighs to their shoulders. The centre console offers tons of storage spaces, with a tambour door sliding open to make way for cup-holders, which also double up as a neat little key holder. And there is lots of space under the armrest, in the glovebox and in the large front door pockets. Not to nitpick, but some of the plastic bits like the glovebox cover and the interior light switches do not match the quality of the rest of the cabin.
The rear bench has a similar story. These are one of the best contoured rear seats in the segment and come with a heating function. At the back, you’ll also find centre- and B-pillar-mounted AC vents cooling the sabin swiftly via a 4-zone climate control. The centre armrest falls perfectly to support your elbow and even features a storage compartment and foldable cup holders. Headroom and legroom is ample, but knee room could be a little cramped for passengers taller than 6 feet in height. Open up the panoramic sunroof blind and the cabin feel airy and large.
The boot is large, with 505 litres of storage available, and buttons to electronically drop the rear seats into a 60:40 split to open up more room. The boot even feature buttons to lower the loading lip height by dropping the rear air suspension. And if you want more convenience, the boot gate can be operated and closed hands-free by waving your foot under the rear bumper, though it can take a few attempts to get right.
The cabin is feature rich as well. Its 9-inch vertically placed centre console display gets a plethora of options, with controls right from the sear adjustment to the radar guiding driving assists. You also get Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, an excellent Bowers & Wilkins 15-speaker setup with a variety of audio configurations, navigation, a very capable 360-degree camera with better resolution than most mobile phones, and a whole list of safety features like lane keeping assist, blind spot warning and radar-guided cruise control.