Fantastic, he says – Damien O’carroll is obviously impressed by the new Volvo XC60.
Given the number you see of them on local roads, it would be very easy to say that the XC60 is the quiet achiever of the Volvo range. Except that isn’t even slightly true. The XC60 is, in fact, the heavy hitter of the Volvo range, both her and globally, with the medium SUV being the company’s best selling model since 2009, making up a full quarter of Volvo’s sales here in New Zealand. So, yeah, it does well for them. That is why an all-new model is so vital to the Chinese-owned Swedish manufacturer; it is a big seller and they need it to stay that way. So it is lucky then that the all-new XC60 launched here late last year just happens to be a thoroughly convincing and excellent car. The XC60 range starts with the T5 Momentum at $84,900 and tops out with the plug-in hybrid T8 R-design at $117,900 and the example we drive here is a T6 R-design that clocks in at $97,900 as standard, while our particular car packs a few options that take it up to $109,765, which is a not-inconsiderable amount for a medium SUV in anyone’s book. Fortunately the T6 is a solidly convincing basic package topped with an impressive amount of standard equipment. The standard T6 comes with a vast range of equipment, including Volvo’s excellent Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driver assist system, handily eschewing the situation of not all that long ago where all the tasty safety and assist systems were pricey options on Volvos, seemingly going against that brand’s long standing reputation of safety as standard. Luxury items like four-zone climate control, Nappa leather, LED lighting and 21-inch alloy wheels all come standard on the T6, while our example added a Premium Pack (air suspension, heated front seats, power folding rear seats, tinted rear windows and a premium Bowers & Wilkins audio system) for $8,000, laminated side windows for $950 and a panoramic sunroof for a hefty $2,915. The T6 is powered by a turbo and supercharged version of Volvo’s 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine and produces 246kw of power and 440Nm of torque driving all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine is superbly powerful and responsive, with only a slight hint of fourcylinder noise betraying its small capacity and cylinder count, while the 8-speed auto is sublimely slick and utterly unintrusive in its shifts. The XC60 is a wonderfully pure SUV that doesn’t try to be overtly sporty (despite having a “sport” mode) and as a result ruin its own ride and comfort. Around town it is serenely composed and responsive, while out on the open road it is confident and superbly comfortable. It can handle a winding back road with dignity and ability, but its true nature shines when cruising at high speed. The XC60 is a medium SUV that puts luxury, comfort and practicality first, but also brings some seriously good looks, a fantastically Swedish design approach inside and a fantastic drivetrain to the party. Sure, it is pricey, but you certainly get your money’s worth with it.