Volvo is quite on the electric offensive these days. The Swedish automaker is rapidly moving towards electrifying its entire range of cars and has a hybrid model (petrol and electric engines) across the board. While the XC60 we’re driving does not feature an electric engine, nor any form of hybrid technology, the model is fitted with a good ol’ diesel engine. And it’s brilliant.
But while Volvo’s been gaining traction with both its sedans and SUVs, it’s especially with regards to the latter that the automaker has been gaining momentum. And this XC60 is one example of it. A few years ago, the second-generation XC60 was launched and almost immediately it raked in the accolades, including being named 2018 World Car of the Year. It’s a monumental feat and it showed that this SUV is not to be messed with.
The XC60 also came knocking on our door and we were all too happy to spend a few days with this champion. Dressed in the D5 AWD Inscription kit, we came to understand why the SUV is held in such high regard.
Punchy diesel engine
Nowadays, Volvo only has one capacity engine driving all of its cars, comprising both petrol and diesel, in different states of tune. In the XC60 D5’s case, power is rated at 173kW and 480Nm. An eight-speed automatic gearbox does transfer duties and sends power to all four wheels. Interestingly, the Inscription’s power delivery is very smooth and bar a little turbo lag, instantaneous. Dab the throttle and the SUV shoots forward as if nothing can hold it back.
Overtaking is a breeze too, and covering vast distances should see you reach your destination with lots of energy in toe.
What can perhaps be an issue is the amount of strain the engine is under. Forcing such impressive power figures from the engine, albeit with turbocharging, can take its toll on the fuel consumption. While Volvo rates the economy at 5.5 L/100km, our figure after a week was closer to 8.0 L. Given that the XC60 is a big vehicle, we weren’t too bothered by this figure. It was a fair return on the SUV’s part; given the mixture of peak traffic, harsh acceleration, and moderate driving.
Volvo is not shy to endow its vehicles with a raft of technologies. It’s the same with the XC60 D5 Inscription; seeing that the SUV has an extensive list of standard features. Included in the price is City Safety: a detection system that identifies pedestrians, cyclists, large animals, and impending accidents. When any of the aforementioned is detected, a warning is displayed on the head-up display (HUD) and if the driver does not enforce the brakes, the SUV will do so automatically. This system might be on the aggressive, but rather this than ramming into an object. (PS: this feature was tested in a controlled environment.)
Other features include Road Sign Information Display (IDIS), Driver Alert Control (DAC) with Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), and Volvo’s new Volvo on Call (VOC).
What should get potential owners excited is the Pilot Assist. This optionally available semi-autonomous system, when activated, will help steer the SUV when drivers fail to do so. Veer slightly out of your lane and the XC60 will steer back into it. Around not-too-tight bends and corners, provided you’re doing a very reasonable speed, the SUV will navigate its own way around it. You can even take your hands off the steering wheel and allow the car to steer itself. However, given that this is a semi-autonomous system, users should not give driving duties over to the vehicle. The system acts as a driving support tool, and not the primary driving force. It operates at speeds up to 130km/h.
The Volvo XC60 D5 Geartronic AWD Inscription (to use its full name) has an asking price of R809 400, but is fitted with optional extras to the value of R153 750.
Premium Pack (R71 500) includes, but is not limited to, heated front seats, a 360° camera, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, Smartphone integration for iPhone and Android, keyless entry and start, and 20-inch alloy wheels. Driver Support Pack (R25 750) includes the aforementioned HUD and Pilot Assist.
Other options include a Panoramic Sunroof (R19 500), Air Suspension (R26 750), and Metallic paint (R3950). The total for the individual options amounts to R56 500.
Price as tested: R963 150