Volvo’s XC60 is taking SA by storm

2018-12-27 06:00

Apart from the World COTY, won at this year’s New York Auto Show, Volvo’s worldwide bestseller scooped the North American Utility of the Year award too. Further, Volvo sold 7.3% more cars worldwide in this past January to November period with “Other” regions, including South Africa, contributing growth of 25.6%.

Apart from a brief dip, while buyers waited for this new version to arrive last May, XC60 is the SA company’s top seller, notching up roughly one-third of its total sales since then.

This second generation XC60 was EuroNCAP’s best performer in 2017; scoring 98% for Adult Protection, 95% for safety assistance features, 87% for Child Occupant Safety and 76% for pedestrian protection.

Volvo’s City Safety Autonomous Emergency Braking system added steering support for times when automatic braking alone might not help prevent a collision. Additional assistance includes Oncoming Lane Mitigation with Steer Assist, to help alleviate head-on impact, while Blind Spot Information and Steer Assist work together to reduce risks of colliding during lane changes.

There are two versions of the 1969 cc diesel engine; D4 rated at 140 kW and D5 putting out 173 kilowatts. T5 and T6 versions of the two-litre petrol motor produce 187- and 235 kW respectively.

Trim levels are “basic” Momentum, higher grade Insignia and sporty R-Design. All models use Aisin-Warner’s eight-speed AWF8A35 gearbox, relabelled TG81SC for use in Volvo cars. Apart from taking up no more space than the old six-cog unit, it spreads the ratios for smoother transitions and greater efficiency.

We tested it hard under real-life conditions, but could not seriously fault it. All models boast all-wheel drive. Our test rig was a 140 kW, 400 Nm, D4 Insignia.

The measurements

The wheelbase is 91 mm longer at 2865 mm and body length gains 60 mm (now 4688). It is also 11 mm wider at 1902 mm and 57 mm lower (now 1658). These create more people-space inside yet, despite being less tall, rear seat headroom remains plentiful. Your 1.85-metre tester found almost a fist’s-width of open air above his head. There was also plenty of space for knees and feet.

The only negative aspect of the car’s increased size is that our 1.6-metre copilot found it difficult to open the front passenger door wide enough to get it to stay put. It tended to swing back to smack her on the shins while exiting.

Also disappointing is that, compared with a five-cylinder D4 we drove in 2013, ground clearance is now 216 mm versus 230 back then. Departure and break-over angles decreased slightly too, although its approach measurement is marginally sharper. On the other hand, wading depth is up 50 mm, to 400 mm.

Proving its effectiveness, it shrugged off our moderately nasty test trail; one that turns most city folks’ faces pale and sweaty, without incident. Further on that theme, “our” XC 60 also made easy going of the rippled and bumpy gravel road past the vegetable farms. We couldn’t say that five years ago.

The most visible interior change since then is the Sensus touch, scroll and swipe control screen. It’s best left to a teenager to set to his or her parents’ requirements before being banned from the front seat forever. They fiddle, you know.

Being a Volvo, XC60 is built to be strong and safe; it is loaded with safety kit and more can be added optionally. It’s also big, luxurious and comfortable. Loads of convenience, appearance and contentment options are available too.

It’s a lovely car and the world agrees. We would just prefer something smaller and less complicated.

The numbers

Base price including VAT and CO2 tax: R718 124

Engine: 1969 cc, four cylinder, twin turbo, commonrail diesel

Power: 140 kW at 4250 rpm

Torque: 400 Nm between 1750 and 2500 rpm

Zero to 100 km/h: 8.4 seconds

Maximum speed: 205 km/h

Real life fuel consumption: About 8.7 l/100 km

Tank: 71 litres

Luggage: 505 — 854 litres

Warranty and maintenance: five years / 100 000 km

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