REVIEW | Volvo XC60 B6 proves itself majestic and worth spending a million bucks on

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Volvo has recently revitalised its XC60 line-up with new trim levels and packages that make it even more compelling if you are in the market for a premium SUV and want to spend around R1 000 000. News24 Motoring contributor Pritesh Ruthun's time with the Volvo XC60 has ended, but he managed to squeeze in a dealer visit before the vehicle's return.


The range now comprises 13 derivatives starting with the XC60 B5 AWD Essential (all-wheel drive), a mild hybrid priced at R957 900. Although Volvo offered a front-wheel drive model in the XC60 range in the past that was a lot more affordable, the company's scrapped it to maintain an AWD XC60 line-up for the South African market for 2023.

Our test car is the pre-upgrade B6 AWD Inscription, the range-topper among the 48-volt mild hybrids. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine powers it. It is also fitted with a kinetic energy recuperation system (KERS) that charges a battery pack that feeds a 48-volt starter motor that provides an additional twist to the crank when you call upon all horses with your right foot. Every time you apply brakes or when you coast downhill in some instances, the car replenishes its battery so that there is always more than enough poke in reserve.

REVIEW | Knight Rider levels of tech: 6 reasons why Volvo's XC60 B6 makes life on the road better 

2022 Volvo XC60 B6
2022 Volvo XC60 B6

Schedule time for regular maintenance 

Our car has been performing flawlessly. It never once asked for an oil top-up or threw up a warning light, even though it has seen its fair share of revs and sporty driving on occasions when I drive it on my own. I use it daily to drop off and fetch my child at school and to the office a few times a week. In all sorts of weather. It refused to hiccup through torrential storms and in the extreme summer heat with the climate control in its coolest setting. 

A couple of weeks ago, an information message popped up on the digital gauge cluster to remind me to schedule time for regular maintenance. The car is almost a year old and needed a workshop trip for a quick oil change. I called Auto Baltic Midrand, and within a few minutes, the XC60 was booked for its service. 

On the day of its service, I arrived early and was greeted by friendly staff who quickly assessed the vehicle and asked me if there were any specific challenges I wanted them to look at on the car. I did not have any problems with the vehicle, and as such, I told the service advisor it was driving nicely, and I had no issues to report. He said he would perform the latest Google operating system update during the service so that the instrument cluster and the infotainment system now match the recently facelifted 2023 versions of the XC60. This is very nice, as you get the latest user experience, even though you are in an older model.

READ | We drive Volvo's electric XC40 Recharge Twin

Volvo XC60 B6
Volvo XC60 B6

Another upgrade the service advisor wanted to perform is the Polestar upgrade, which raises the kilowatt and torque output of the B6 engine to near S60 Polestar levels of shunt. If you remember the giant-slaying S60 Polestar, it made BMW M3s look pedestrian from a standing start. The XC60 B6, with 220-odd kilowatts and 300Nm, is not slow, as it can easily fend off pesky hot hatches. I told the service advisor not to perform the upgrade, as I did not want to fiddle with performance. It is nice that Volvo offers this kind of performance-boosting upgrade in-house, as your warranty and maintenance plan stays intact even though the vehicle's modified.

The scheduled maintenance was worthwhile, as Auto Baltic checked the brakes and fitted new air, pollen and oil filters. It didn't need new brakes because the car was never punished on the road. 

Latest Google operating system 

In our last update, we mentioned how easy the Google operating system embedded in the latest Volvos is to use. Our XC60's Google Assistant made life so easy. Once you log in with your Google account, you gain access to all your apps in the car. In my case, YouTube Music and Spotify are used the most, and I use voice control to search for the playlists, artists or songs we want.

2022 Volvo XC60 B6
2022 Volvo XC60 B6

The latest update improves latency with paired devices. Bluetooth connections drop less, and the system is more stable and speedy. In the past, before the software update, the vehicle struggled to decide which device to use when we had two phones and the Wi-Fi dongle paired. Now that the upgrade at the dealer is complete, it is smooth, and it automatically uses the device with the best internet connection to update the embedded Google Maps as you drive. It can eat through data quickly if you use Google Assistant often, but we found the best thing to do is download your favourite songs or videos in your favourite apps and then play them from your downloads folder.  

Best buy for around a million bucks? 

New car prices are ludicrous right now. We won't beat around that bush. Carmakers tell us it is inflation and the ongoing stock shortages, and rising demand for mobility solutions in other parts of the world that are leading to exorbitantly high prices for new cars in South Africa. 

One million rand does not go as far as you may think, but you can still buy a lovely premium midsize SUV like the XC60. It's large enough for a family of four or five and packed with safety features.

Volvo XC60 B6
Volvo XC60 B6

Our Inscription model came exquisitely appointed as standard, and if you can find a demo model, I reckon you should grab it. The latest versions, as nicely appointed as they are, have risen in price. We averaged around 11.0 litres per 100km in a combined cycle test period over more than 4000 kilometres. I have seen as low as 8.0 litres per 100km on the highway and as high as 16.0 litres per 100km when giving it horns. Drive it nicely, and you will not be disappointed with the way it sips fuel compared with the performance on taps.  

READ | Premium conundrum: Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge, or is a XC40 P8 Recharge better?

If you're in the market for a new Volvo XC60, check out the latest 2023 line-up or there are also some cool demo 2022 models for sale on Autotrader if you want to save a few R100 000 without compromising on style or performance. All Volvos come with a five-year or 100 000km maintenance plan and a Concierge service with SOS On Call roadside assistance for added peace of mind regarding your and your family's mobility. 

Pricing for the Volvo XC60 range starts from R957 900.

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