Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design

A guide to breaking up with a German

"Introduced in 2008, it barely took any time to settle down and compete - just compete!"

"XC60 is Volvo's bestselling model in the Middle East"

"Rounds up the wish list of a family car" said Ershad

"Traditionally, Volvo is a "safety first" car"

A new jingle in town that is coming from a Swede automaker. I said Swede, so it's a Volvo all right. I mean, check out the attitude. Don't get me wrong, but if they don't live up to what they have said, things can really go bad. It's not a gamble as I doubt anyone is in a mood to play unsafe; so it is about confidence. We took the all new 2015 Volvo XC60 for test and here's our take; perhaps I had to make some attitude adjustments.

Volvo XC60 is a 5 passenger compact luxury crossover SUV which is in fact Volvo's bestselling model in the Middle East. Introduced in 2008, it barely took anytime to settle down and compete - just compete! Still impressive I would say, compared to the already established heavyweights in the market. Let's say the Germans like BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and the Japanese like Lexus RX and Infiniti QX50. And we have Cadillac SRX from the States.

Our test car was a T5 variant equipped with a Drive-E turbocharged 4 cylinder 2.0 liter engine. After the major cut and blow done last year, the 2015 version is basically a carryover with the introduction of Drive-E engines on a front wheel drive setup. While I tested the 245 horsepower turbocharged version, there's another option in the showroom - a turbocharged and supercharged model spitting 302 hp.

XC60 stands tall and unlike the old boxy Volvo's, this one has character with a rakish profile. The front end looks wider thanks to those horizontal lines on the grille with its chrome bars. Active Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs look nice. Oh, our tester is "R-design" equipped, so you'll see R-design décor, grille, dual exhaust pipes, skid plate and 20" alloy wheels sets.

The R-design style with full leather fits in very well and matches up with Volvo's reputation as a premium brand. We spotted many R-design stamps and stitching on the leather wrapped 3 spoke steering wheel, pedals, décor inlays and floor mats.  Drivers can check out the new TFT digital display for all the numbers and stats. The floating center stack is slightly titled to face the driver. It is integrated with a 7 inch integrated color screen with the Sensus infotainment system: Bluetooth hands free system, USB/iPod connectivity and a high performance sound system with 12 speakers. Dual zone electronic climate control with rear A/C vents kept the climate on check. Here is a list of other options available:  cruise control, keyless entry, panoramic sunroof, power seat, driver and passenger with memory for seat and exterior mirrors to name a few.

The FWD model T5 delivers 245hp with a torque of 350Nm on an 8 speed automatic transmission system. The Drive-E 2.0 liter direct-injected four cylinder engine is lighter than before and it offers better fuel efficiency, plus Volvo claims that it is even quicker.
Traditionally, Volvo is a "safety first" car, so you'll see the obvious suspects starting from ABS with EBA, airbags, ASC, driver alert system, dynamic stability traction control, BLIS (blind spot detection with cross traffic alert), lane departure warning, child seat attachment, rear seat sips airbag, whiplash protection and finally, Volvo's all new "city safety" system. While on low speeds, if an object passes by, the system automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not.

Redesigned seats along with side bolsters offered the best of seating positions in the segment. Room for rear passengers was above decent and cargo space was in abundance. Steering was well balanced with a good road feel apparent to the move. I was a bit skeptical initially about the ride mainly because of the car's height and the engine output. Apparently, XC60 handles politely most of the time. Gear shifts are smooth with good ratios, but I felt a lag at times when pushing hard and in a hurry. It's a perfect crossover driven on a mid-range, which is to say, in ideal conditions. It has Impressive engine refinement on a straight line, but on gravel, there was a lot of road noise and it felt jittery. The feedback on corners and curves were encouraging, but I wouldn't advise to play it hard on tight corners. Brakes were, however, trustworthy, and they never disappointed. Fuel economy was impressive as it took only 7.5l/100km in a mixed run.

Verdict
An easy drive overall and to emphasize that, I can say it feels essentially like a sedan that can take you to the target segment. Sufficient power, premium feel, cargo space and a good fuel economy round up the wish list for a family car. Soccer mom's car was in the past - not anymore!

Pros: safety champion, new design, practical family car, fuel economy  
Cons: outside noise and jittery feel on gravel road, better with 18" alloys 
Rivals: BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Lexus RX, Infiniti QX50, Cadillac SRX, Land Rover Discovery Sport 
Engine: Drive-E 2.0 liter direct-injected 4 cylinder, 245 hp, 350 Nm
Transmission: Eight speed automatic, FWD
Performance: 0-100 kph: 8 sec, 7.8 L /100 km, Top speed: 208 kph
Curb Weight: 1,833kg

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