Let’s be honest no one wakes’ up dreaming all night to be strapped behind the three-point seat belt of a Volvo, which by the way was invented by Nils Bohlin, the famous engineer at Volvo itself and, in spite of it being patented, was thrown open for any car manufacturer to embrace it freely. All this is in the larger interest of humanity and safe driving. Full respect. So when we got the 2021 VOLVO XC60 in our garage, the enthusiasm levels were not hammering a V12 on a race track. It was sedated, and the mind was wrapped around Swedish luxury with front row massage seats. Because I had just driven the Facelifted Audi Q5 not so many moons ago and had taken the earlier generation of Xc60 from Delhi to Leh, I grabbed the keys, booked myself a weekend villa and got down to business.
Let’s begin the Story.
Scandinavia is famous for having the best beaches of Northern Europe, unique Viking heritage, royal palaces, wooden churches and then there are two extremes. On the one side, you have Koenigsegg, famous for high-performance sports cars and on the other side of the spectrum, you have Volvo, the safest car manufacturer in the world. Let’s cut a long story short, Volvo has launched the 2021 XC60; B5 Inscription model in mild-hybrid petrol engine. A step towards its full-electric menu by 2030 as the diesel engines have already phased out. Priced at 61,91,000 Ex-Showroom, it is Volvo’s answer to the Midsize luxury SUV segment, which has Audi Q5, Landrover Discovery Sport, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. That said, none except the GLC has the front row massage seats in their offering.
The Story so Far
XC60 is Volvo’s best-selling car, and almost 30% of its sales globally comes from it; placed between the XC40 and XC90, it’s a perfect five bencher with most of the xc90 features. It is relatively proportionate in size for city life. It found a niche for itself with folks who were bored of looking at the Germans’ and found the rather chiselled XC60, which is sharp like a Japanese katana, yet forged in Scandinavia. With the plug pulled from the diesel power trains permanently, Volvo is committed to going completely electric by 2030. The XC60 comes with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and is a step towards total electrification. As an outcome, it helps increase fuel efficiency and the electric motor acts as a starter to rev up the engine smoothly and give that initial boost.
The Inside Story – Interior, exterior & features
The overall silhouette of the car hasn’t changed, but a significant transformation has taken place underneath. Starting with its design upfront, the 2021 XC60 features subtle styling updates to distinguish itself from the outgoing generation. These include a new grille design, a restyled lower fascia, reprofiled rear bumper and redesigned 19-inch alloy wheels. One neat feature is the heated Volvo logo at the front grille, which prevents ice frosting and houses the sensors and the camera. But of course, in a tropical country such as ours, we generally stop driving ourselves and start playing with it if we see ice. Step inside, and it feels like you have stepped into a posh lounge amidst the Scandinavian hills.
Superb Nappa leather everywhere you touch, matte natural grain wooden inlays with this chrome strip running across the dashboard. The vertical infotainment system with its massive digital instrument cluster accentuates the modern feeling. There are more chances your inner OCD will trigger with this exclusive interior, as it picks up dirt and fingerprints pretty quickly. But that’s something you have to live with every car in the segment. The AC controls are two clicks away in the infotainment screen, and there isn’t any driving mode knob either. There is only off-road mode available operated through the screen, and it’s a reminder that it is not meant to play fast and furious on the road. But in terms of driving aids, there is an exhaustive list of features like Adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation support, hill descent control, lane-keeping assistance, etc. Making the ride leisurely comfortable and, importantly, safe. Talking about safety – it’s like you are wrapped inside a cocoon. Every possible safety feature on planet earth is thrown into the XC60. I can’t recollect any other car in this segment that surpasses it, right from side impact protection system, whiplash protection system, rollover protection system where suspensions work their art in shifting the bodyweight back on track. The rear brake lights are high-positioned to remind the trailing vehicles from a distance about your intent of braking, 8 Airbags and a few more, but what I loved the most was the hazard light blinking on ORVM whenever the vehicle is in close proximity with another obstacle. Another neat feature worth mentioning is the steering support, which begins to swerve if the car sees an obstacle ahead and uses one-sided braking to keep the car pointing forwards.
That’s in addition to systems that help the car steer away from running off the road, or into the path of oncoming traffic. And let’s not forget all Volvos are limited to 180 km/h keeping safety in mind. So you are better off with a Koenigsegg in case your daily drive includes visiting a race track.
The Story in motion – DRIVING
The 2.0-litre gasoline engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox is fine for cruising. It is not docile either and will give you enough power for that quick overtake. It drives very well with a composed poise and mannerism, and it’s not always in a hurry, but whenever you need it, it gets its 250 horses and 350 NM of torque running in action. Driver engagement certainly isn’t the prime mission of the suspension. Instead, it maintains an unruffled decorum through bends and absorbs mostly whatever the road is throwing at it. There are no paddle shifters, but the steering is nice to grip & feels luxurious. It is the most connected steering literally, always having a silent conversation with you through its haptic feedback mechanism, which plays a big part in the driving and safety aids. When compared with XC90, it’s easy to pilot a car-less bulky when you’re threading down city streets or narrow lanes. The front row passengers get massager function, and except Mercedes GLC, none of its other competitors, namely the 2021 Audi Q5, BMW X3, Landrover discovery sport, does not have it. It’s pretty relaxing and can also be deployed for long night drives to keep you awake and is also quite effective.
The Tech Story
Volvo has equipped the XC60 with some well-thought features. The advanced air cleaner with PM 2.5 sensor ensures that the occupants always breathe in fresh ionized air. You are considerably cutting off or diluting the outside pollution and toxic gases. Whether you’re a bathroom singer or a professional musician, the 15 speakers 1100W Bowers and Wilkins music system will blow your mind away; just to keep things in perspective, the facelift Q5 gets 750 watts.
The updated infotainment system now comes standard with in-built google assistance, making sure you are just a click away from playing your favourite music to calling anyone one or finding the nearest bakery. XC60 comes with google services and you get real time navigation on screen with the help of the embedded sim. Not only that you can download spolity, Youtube music and other radio apps. In the larger interest you can’t download netflix or instagram ensuring your eyes are glued on the road ahead.
The screen also shows a bird’s eye view of the vehicle with 360-degree cameras acting as an extra pair of eyes. The guiding lines are so precise and accurate to the level that you can manoeuvre the car within tight parking spots without even looking outside. Honestly, the clarity and intuitiveness of the crisp display and fluid touch sensitivity excited everyone in the TG Clan.
And the story concludes.
To summarize, Volvo’s have always been understated. They are like a fine Ted Baker suit smartly fitted and comfortable for the one wearing it, yet to the outside world, it’s not bragging. If this makes sense to you, then the XC60 will make a lot of sense to you.
Priced at Rs 61.90 Lakhs ex-showroom, it is different from its German counterparts and ticks all the right boxes. It’s going to be an intelligent choice to buy it and drive home. Rather safe!