XC60 features comfort and performance
AFAST-PACED new model programme with a focus on the SUV segments and recognition through major awards success have been recent themes for Volvo.
In the last few months the compact XC40 has won the European Car of the Year award while the mid-size XC60 scooped the 2018 World Car of the Year prize announced at the recent New York Auto Show.
New Zealand has been an early adopter of the second generation XC60 with a late-2017 launch delivering a choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrain choices for the handsome new fiveseater SUV.
I sampled several variants at the Hawke’s Bay press launch and recently spent more time with the D5 R-design model that combines a sports themed appearance and specification with a high-torque four-cylinder diesel engine.
R-design models are where XC60 customers get a sports exterior and suspension tuning along with the performance advantage of the D5 and T6 engine choices compared to the D4 and T5 units available in Momentum and Inscription grades.
It’s a combo that has list pricing from $94,900 while the test car totalled up at $102,900 with the additional treats of the $8000 Premium Pack — comprising a Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system, air suspension, power folding rear seat backrest, heated front seats and privacy glass.
The D5 model is powered by the Polestar-optimised version of the 2.0-litre Drive-e diesel engine that develops 177kw output at 4000rpm and a muscular 500Nm of torque peaking from 1500-2500rpm.
Paired-up with a smooth shifting eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission that offers responsive kickdown and relaxed highway cruising, the D5 has a long-legged performance style while still managing to sprint through 0-100km/h in a respectable 7.7secs when some pace is demanded.
It’s a diesel with eager response that works well with the wide spread of gearing to achieve 100km/h highway cruising at 1600rpm in eighth gear and either smooth throttle-prompted or paddleshiftprovoked downchanges to 1900rpm in seventh, 2400rpm in sixth and 2900rpm in fifth gear. Like most diesels it’s the open road overtaking acceleration rather than launch-from-standstill urgency that is most impressive and a little extra throttle pressure keeps momentum rolling along.
The driver can select from Eco, Comfort, Off-road, Dynamic and Individual drive modes with Comfort the best solution for the city and easy highway runs while Dynamic sharpens the response for more interesting roads.
Volvo claims an optimistic combined cycle fuel consumption average of 5.5 litres per 100km and my road test averaged 7.8L/100km. An open road journey should achieve real world numbers in the low-sevens.
The strong diesel torque is an ideal partner to the way the XC60 R-design feels on the road and the confidence it carries through sweeping corners. It conveys a wide-track feel on the highway with pleasing weight to the steering and the mix of wide tyred grip and allwheel-drive poise combines nicely