Volvo XC60 review, test drive

Autocar India
First Published: 18:26 IST(18/2/2014)
Last Updated: 14:37 IST(24/2/2014)
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Traditionally, SUVs have been all about looking butch, intimidating even. Volvo’s attractive XC60, however, marked a refreshing departure from the typical SUV template, with its swoopy design. While time has been kind to the handsome XC60, the carmaker has gone ahead to give its sleek SUV a mid-life makeover. Wearing its maker’s new corporate look, the XC60 gets a wider grille, larger headlamps and a smartly squared-out bonnet section.
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You’ll also notice the older XC60’s distinctive vertical day-time running lamps beside the headlights have a new home in the restyled bumper. It’s a bit ironic, but the revised XC60 looks somewhat generic from the front and has lost some of the visual drama of the original.   
 
A quick walkaround also reveals a few other styling tweaks. The plastic cladding on the lower portion of the bumpers and doors has been done away with, while scuff plates at the front and rear are new additions. Redesigned ends for the dual exhausts and LED detailing on the tail-lights complete the update.
 
There are few changes to report in the cabin, the major update being the inclusion of Volvo’s customisable TFT display instrument cluster. As on the updated S60 and V40 Cross Country, the display can be adjusted to any of three modes, namely Performance, Eco and Elegance, each with its own theme for colours and layout. We just wish Volvo had updated the interface of the car settings menus; the XC60 sold abroad gets a touchscreen and that’s something that ought to have made it to India too. We also wish Volvo had eked out a bit more in terms of cabin width; the rear seat can be tight for three occupants. But no complaints for the super supportive seats.     
 
The update does not bring any mechanical changes with it and, just as before, the XC60 is available with a 2.4-litre, five-cylinder diesel in two states of tune. Punching out 215bhp, the more powerful D5 version has ample power across the rev range and performance is good. However, it won’t match a X3 3.0d for sheer power or refinement, and the six-speed auto, though quick enough, won’t grant you the snappy shifts we’ve come to expect from BMW and Audi’s latest. That said, it’s reasonably fun to drive. All-wheel drive and torque vectoring ensure handling is predictable at all times and you can adjust the level of steering assist to your liking as well. Buyers will like the ride quality that remains supple at most times, but still isn’t free from that underlying firmness, a given on European cars. Being a Volvo, the XC60 is armed with safety kit, including a full arsenal of airbags and an updated version of City Safety.
 
Whether the restyling exercise works in favour of the XC60, only time will tell. But, behind the facelift remains a solidly put-together SUV that scores well on comfort and performance. It’s not the most exciting of SUVs, nor will it be the most capable off-road, but it’s still rather alluring. With prices ranging between Rs. 42.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base 163bhp version and Rs. 55.1 lakh for this D5 Summum, it’s priced at par with the competition and certainly worth a look.  

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