My impression of Sweden’s style and engineering ethos is that it is simple, practical and logical, but most importantly, refrains from unnecessary elements, choosing instead to excel in the fundamentals.
So it was no surprise to find that the new Volvo XC60 surpasses its competitors in modesty, efficiency and reliability.
The latest medium-sized SUV from the Swedish motor house succeeds in appearing lean as opposed to bulky. True, it has some remnants of Audi in the front grille, but it impresses in its own right. The back lights are positioned high on the body, while the lateral lines are slim and graceful, giving it a modern edge.
Happily, it is as balanced inside as it is outside. The interiors are the simplest I have ever seen. You will not see a cluster of buttons and commands, but an iPad-like centre screen from where all functions can be controlled. It is intuitive and fast.
Seats are firm and well positioned, while the atmosphere is light and pleasant. The essential and sober style remains classy, with subtle details here and there including stitching. I can tell the car was designed for long trips, as I feel at ease from the moment the door closes.
Under the hood, a two litre, four-cylinder engine beats at the heart of the XC60 T6. It has 310bhp and 400Nm of torque. It has two turbo chargers, and the result is worth it.
The unit delivers the performance of a double-sized engine, with possibly half the weight and better fuel efficiency. If they hadn’t told me, I would have guessed I was sitting on a V8, naturally aspirated engine. I call it an engineering miracle.
Active and Passive Safety have always been a great focus for Volvo, and I can tell how much effort has been put into what is probably one of the safest cars in the world today. Countless technologies are keeping me safe from sudden obstacles.
The adaptive cruise control comes in handy, too. I choose a minimum distance from the traffic ahead. The Volvo Radars and cameras keep me away from trouble.
Driving dynamics are decent. I am driving an SUV that is nearly two tons, and I can tell that it was not made for racing. Nevertheless, the XC60 is exceptionally smooth on corners. Roll is limited, steering is accurate and traction is secure.
While I wouldn’t buy it for a thrilling drive, I would for an everyday ride. Priced at around $73,500, it provides good value for money. My guess is competitors from Japan and Korea will be wary of this new kid on the block.
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