The new Volvo XC60 was released earlier this year, with several significant “under the skin” changes implemented.
I was fortunate enough to drive the Volvo XC60 D5 AWD Inscription to experience these changes, and I was truly impressed.
Across the range, the new XC60 gained an updated grille, bumper, and wheel designs – while higher-end models like the one I drove feature a new radar, camera, and ultrasonic sensors.
Comfort and convenience
The XC60 is built on Volvo’s s scalable architecture platform, meaning it shares many parts with the larger XC90.
Inside, technology is integrated throughout the upscale cabin and this might be what sways a prospective buyer towards the Volvo.
It features a 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, and every other class-leading driver-assistance feature the company could think of.
From an interior design and quality point of view, the XC60 also leads the pack.
It’s a stunning cabin dominated by a portrait-oriented touchscreen in the centre of the dash that has been updated to run on Google’s Android Automotive operating system.
This means it now uses Google apps natively, even if your phone is not connected. Navigating around the settings menu is as intuitive as using a smartphone, too.
Android Auto was always just a “Hey Google” away when I drove it, and the much-improved voice activation and control made it easier to navigate the infotainment system.
The new model gets a wireless phone charging pad, too, along with a digital driver’s display that provides a luxurious feel and a high level of customisation.
Volvo is synonymous with safety, and as a result the XC60 is fitted to the roof with life-saving equipment as standard.
A feature that has been a long-standing staple for Volvo – and only recently introduced on other cars – is its autonomous braking system to guard against accidents.
In addition, it gains traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, and various sensors and cross-traffic alerts that beep when there are cars or cyclists approaching from behind.
The XC60 also earns itself a 5-star Euro NCAP rating.
Additionally, the Inscription model on review has the Four-C Chassis system as standard – adding adaptive dampers and air suspension.
Air suspension set-ups in high-end SUVs offer the best of both worlds – comfort and involvement without it ever being too sporty or wallowy.
The XC60 is no different.
Although it has a reasonable amount of get up and go, it’s not stiff and rigid like a BMW X3 M Sport, and doesn’t squat and dive like a Toyota Fortuner.
But perhaps its most endearing feature is its ability to float over rough ground, tunable through its drive modes: Comfort, ECO, Dynamic, and Off-Road.
This model uses an all-wheel drive system, and while I never tested the XC60 on a harsh off-road route, selecting this drive mode raises the body significantly.
Pulling all this tech along is a 2.0-litre, turbo-diesel engine putting out 173kW and 480Nm of torque.
This is good for a 0-100km/h acceleration of under 7 seconds, while all the torque allows a generous towing capability of 2,400kg.
Fuel consumption then returned an average of just under 6.0l/100km during the period I drove it.
Lots of space
The Volvo is a large car – bigger than its competitors – but hides its size well.
Thanks to a clever design, it never feels larger than a big hatchback – and this is where the XC60 shines.
It’s as much a pleasure to drive and park in town as it is to cruise along the highway.
Its exterior dimensions translate into a larger interior space, too, which is more than big enough for the driver and four passengers without ever feeling cramped.
The 505-litre boot is large enough to fit most luggage, and thoughtful touches like a reversible boot floor provide extra practicality.
The Volvo XC60 is a great vehicle stacked with comfort and convenience features.
It is generally cheaper than its rivals, and offers better value in most cases.
Its latest enhancements bring this XC60 up to date with the likes of the latest German SUVs, and if I were putting my money down on a medium-sized luxury SUV – in this case R953,200 – it would be on this sweet Swede.