The luxury SUV segment is filled to bursting today and it has just got a new contender, the all new Volvo XC60.
This new model will replace the original XC60 that has sold nearly one million units globally and represents 30% of Volvo’s total global sales.
Built on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, the new XC60 maintains the beautiful proportions of its larger sibling, the XC90 but with a more expressive design on both the exterior and interior.
It comes as no surprise that this Volvo SUV has taken the top spot in the world. There were 34 models entered in the award, which was cut down to just 10 competitors and then down to just three finalists which included the all new Mazda CX-5 and Range Rover Velar.
A panel of 82 automotive journalists from 24 countries was responsible for voting on the award and the votes were tallied by KPMG.
Safety always a Volvo car’s priority
Scoring a near perfect score of 98% in the Adult Occupant category and 95% in the Large Off-Road vehicle class, the new XC60 has been awarded Best Overall Performance by the prestigious Euro NCAP 2017.
This score was possible thanks to the new XC60’s ability to benefit and improve on the safety technologies of Volvo’s 90s Range, the first range of cars built on the SPA platform.
Volvo calls its safety technologies which includes its driver support and active safety systems, IntelliSafe.
The new safety features are designed to provide the driver with automatic steering assistance or support when required and to help avoid potential collisions.
Volvo believes these new features will make the new XC60 one of the safest cars on the road.
What this luxury Volvo delivers
Aside from the car’s spacious boot which comes with split/fold rear seats, the cabin can easily accommodate five adults in comfort thanks to surprisingly generous levels of rear legroom.
The XC60’s suspension set-up is firm. That said, the car remains surprisingly civilised over all but the most poorly surfaced of roads.
Given that the previous bestselling XC60 had the difficult task of delivering a sporty drive on tarmac and be adaptable enough off-road so as not to leave you stranded, this all new XC60 delivers a Germanic-type sporty ride quality in “sports” mode whilst providing refinement on equal standing as a luxury Japanese SUV in “comfort” mode.
This balance between Germanic and Japanese dynamics will convince rival SUV buyers to sign on the Volvo order book.
Driving this luxury Volvo
Drive dynamics and performance is impressive with its power and handling from just a 2-litre turbo unit. The 245bhp engine offers maximum torque of 350Nm from just 1500 rpm. This provides ample overtaking ability throughout the speed range.
The torque curve moves like a sports sedan resulting in a particularly exciting yet comfortable driving experience and this works in combination with Volvo’s new automatic 8-speed gearbox that has steering mounted shift handles for a sporty drive feel.
Straight line speed is very impressive and this XC60 T5 will reach 100km/h from rest in just 7.2 seconds (this is sports sedan territory) and has the ability to put some sport sedans to shame in its mid-range trust.
Volvo chassis experts have chiseled out the driving experience in the new Volvo XC60 with the same passion and uncompromising approach that characterised the development of the all-new S90.
It does not feel unsettling at all over uneven city roads, and when you find a windy road this all new XC60 shows you why you need to really test drive one.
You can feel the chassis working with your commanding steering input leaving you with little reasons not to own one.
The immediate competition
Its direct competitor is the Mercedes GLC 200 which sells for RM288,888 and also comes with a 2L turbocharged engine.
However the GLC200 produces just 184bhp and 300Nm of torque and will do the 0-100km/h run in 8.7 seconds with a top speed of 210km/h.
This means, the XC60 T5 is more spirited and lively to drive and costs about RM20k lower.
Juggling with the need to deliver a car with enjoyable on-road handling and at the same time enough ground clearance and suspension travel to cope with modest off road excursions is never easy.
Few SUVs manage to balance such needs as well as this all new Volvo XC60 T5 and it’s just the badge snobbery that leads buyers into a Mercedes-Benz showroom over the Volvo showroom.