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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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