Sometimes, the bond between a certain landscape and machine is almost inseparable. There’s a time when certain attributes of an automobile match so perfectly with the aura and appeal of a city, that their qualities pour it more fluently, in that particular space. Take for example our drive in the Volvo S60. There was only one city capable of bringing out the best in this special executive sedan – Jaipur. But, why? Well, there’s only one way to find out.
The drive began in the wee hours of the morning, from our nation’s capital towards Rajasthan, a mystical land with many unique stories. There was mist and fog on the way, but nothing the S60’s imposing LED headlamps couldn’t handle. The best part is that it looked so good while doing it too. After a few fours, the morning sun was shining down on the glistening pearl white colour – a sight that recharges our batteries in a hurry. Then came the unmissable local market opposite the enchanting Hawa Mahal, a structure that has stood the test of time, much like most of Jaipur, a city dripping with culture.
Immediately, the Volvo brand sprang to mind. A company that has selflessly dedicated itself to the cause of safety, an approach which most might not completely comprehend, but those with a touch of class relate to immediately. As they say, it’s not just about participating, it’s about leaving a mark and doing things differently. In case you are not in the know, Volvo has a brand that has existed for more than 90 years. All the while creating legendary machines like the P1800, 245 and 760. And the S60 follows in the strong lineage to create its own mark on Volvo’s history.
But again, why Jaipur? Similarities were drawn from some characteristics the S60 possess. For starters, the S60 comes with one of the best rear seat spacing, something the maharajas of yore from the great land of Jaipur, would truly appreciate. Then there’s the luxurious interiors with Nappa leather, which adds to the sense of space, much like the ‘Pink City’. Jaipur isn’t a small town, nor is it a big one but it holds a different value in the hearts of many. It reminds of a way of doing things, which is different and special. It goes without saying, it matches the sensibilities of a car like the S60, which sets itself apart from the competition, not by conforming to certain norms, but of creating a separate niche altogether.
While cruising the streets of Jaipur or exploring the surrounding highways, the Volvo S60’s characterful 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, the turbo-petrol motor with 190 bhp and 300 Nm of torque, was smooth as butter. The 8-speed automatic gearbox kept the shifts light in city traffic, but if need be, became lightning-quick at the drop of a hat, quite literally. Volvo has taken it one step further with an easy-to-use driving mode selector, right next to the beautifully crafted gearbox and dashboard as a whole. Everything from the AC vents to the twist-to-start engine start/stop button feels solidly put together; all with a certain sense of aesthetic.
On top of that, quite literally, is the generously large panoramic sunroof, which lights up the S60’s cabin unlike anything else. But, every now and then, while admiring the beauty of the S60’s interiors, all the while visiting epic places like Jawahar Circle, which is claimed to be the biggest circular park in Asia developed on a highway traffic circle, the S60 was put in ‘Dynamic’ driving mode. It has everything from musical fountains to joggers park, all the while drawing inspiration from the epic locations in Jaipur. As a result, the S60 would become sharper with better throttle response and sharper handling, but the speed was kept at a pace where the passing beauty of this wondrous city could be admired.
Next, it was time to head to a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Amber Fort and Palace. Now, in case you’ve been living under a rock, Jaipur is a UNESCO World Heritage City, an honour that is also held by the city of Ahmedabad, in India. Why? Well, let’s take the City Palace or ‘Jaal Mahal’ or the glorious Nahargarh Fort, maybe? There are a number of reasons why the city of Jaipur is so popular, but it’s the combination of these factors that make it truly stand out from the rest. It has everything from chaotic bazaars to calm-inducing palaces, where people can hear a pin drop at certain points in the day. That’s not all, it has colourful streets and tourists from all over the globe, looking to capture the essence of a 400-year old city, built to be remembered for centuries, going forward. And all this, the S60 served as a calm and cool companion, only adding another layer to the beauty at hand.
If any help was ever needed with the directions, a quick glance down at the elegantly crafted 9-inch touchscreen which displays a whole host of information, and of course keeps are tunes playing at all times, a little ghazal and soft music to suit the mood of the city, and the car too. And as the sun began to go down, it was time to head back to Delhi, it dawned on us, why Jaipur sprung to mind in the first place. It’s the fact that Volvo’s premium sedan creates such a sense of occasion, it has a grandeur that it is unlike anything else out there.
One way to simply put was, if the Maharaja’s of yesteryear were to pick a car which spoke to them, through its uniqueness, flair and power, it would be the Volvo S60 – that is high praise for any automobile. To sum up then, it’s not one particular feature or site which makes the S60 or Jaipur, respectively, better than the rest, it’s the combination of all those little details, which show the craftsmanship that has withstood the test of time. After all, a king must have a befitting throne and city to show off, right? A car like the S60 to appreciate his kingdom too!