Test drive

AGAIN WITH THE COMPACT SUVS? YES, AND THE SWEDE’S FIRST FORAY INTO THIS EX­PAND­ING SEG­MENT MEANS A SLICE OF FUN AND DE­CENT VALUE FOR MONEY.

GQ (Australia) - - GQ CARS -

STYLING

While it’s not quite as ap­peal­ing as its older, award-win­ning sib­ling, the ‘XC60’, it’s still a stylish stand­out in the dull sea of so-called compact SUVS we’re see­ing at the mo­ment. The square-jawed front-end fea­tures a wel­come and dom­i­nant grille, flanked by Volvo’s sig­na­ture Thor’sham­mer head­lights and softly slop­ing roofline that draw the eye back and along. Eigh­teen­inch al­loys as stan­dard also help out – though we’re here for the sportier ‘R-de­sign’ spec and its high-gloss grille and in­te­grated black pipes out back.

EN­GINE

We largely spent time with the petrol ‘T5’ on the re­cent na­tional launch near Ade­laide – get­ting to know what’s a pretty re­spon­sive 2.0-litre tur­bocharged en­gine ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 185kw of power and 350Nm of torque as sad­dled to an eight-speed auto. It means a whippy 100km/h time of 6.5 sec­onds. The ‘D4’ diesel is a 2.0-litre twin­tur­bocharged four­cylin­der pro­duc­ing 140kw of power and 400Nm of torque. Both are AWD.

DRIV­ING

Grippy, cer­tainly punchier than we were ex­pect­ing and some­thing that is, ul­ti­mately, a bit of fun to belt about in. That’s right – fun, a word not of­ten as­so­ci­ated with this Swedish mar­que. The driv­ing po­si­tion is high and wel­com­ing – over­see­ing a 12.3-inch driver dis­play that de­liv­ers all you need. We also man­aged to not feel too many bumps when hit­ting some rougher coun­try patches – even on the R-de­sign’s 20-inch al­loys. There’s ac­tu­ally lit­tle to fault for a car pitched as a stylish every­day run­about.

IN­TE­RIOR

Roomier than ex­pected with some fine flour­ishes and de­tails that make this ap­peal­ing. That cen­tral me­dia screen in por­trait is some­thing we’ve come to love – and it works again here sup­port­ing Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto as well as sat nav while also pulling dou­ble duty as re­vers­ing cam­era. Fur­ther con­nec­tiv­ity means wire­less phone charg­ing and USB ports (plu­ral), a re­mov­able cen­tral console ‘bin’ and some re­ally clever touches such as in­te­grated bag hooks. R-de­sign adds a sun­roof, pre­mium Har­man Kar­don stereo, heated seats and tinted win­dows, among other wel­come touches.

PRICE/ DE­LIV­ERY

Avail­able now, with the ba­sic ‘T5 Mo­men­tum’ from $47,990. Things move up with nu­mer­ous op­tions in play, with our pre­ferred ‘T5 R-de­sign’ com­ing in from $54,990. The diesels are the more ex­pen­sive op­tion, start­ing from $50,990 and in­creas­ing to $59,740 be­fore on-road costs. Such num­bers are ar­guably steep - largely be­cause many still don’t think of Volvo as a true pre­mium mar­que. But it is, and such fig­ures sit neatly against what’s of­fered by the other Eu­ros. volvo.com.au

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