• The Volvo XC60 is a mid-size SUV that competes against the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.
• The Swedish car company won the World Car of the Year award in 2018 for the XC60.
• This particular T6 model is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 235kW
South Africans might not be able to buy new cars as often as they would like to, but that hasn't stopped manufacturers from offering a vast range of new vehicles.
The difficulty is compounded for those searching in the SUV market. There's everything from entry-level metal to full-size, seven-seater behemoths with six-figure price tags.
The award-winning XC60 is Swedish automaker Volvo's mid-size luxury SUV which picked up the 2018 World Car of the Year award and for a good reason.
The middle child in Volvo's range is underpinned by the chassis that features in the Swede's larger cars. For this model, the XC60 wears R-Design kit that gives the car a grille finished in gloss black, 21-inch wheels, and chrome-tipped exhausts. Its exterior is a mix of brawn and elegance.
Styling is a subjective aspect, but I could see how many looks it received from passers-by. The Thor hammer-style LED daytime driving lights add panache to the front, and LED indicators at the rear make sure the XC60 is always noticeable.
I've experienced several XC60s since its launch in 2018, however, the flagship T6 offers a powerful punch from its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged motor.
Peak power is set at 235kW, and a torque figure of 400Nm is quoted. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed gearbox which is silky smooth. Optional paddle shifts were placed on this model, but the need to use it never presented itself. The T6 is more comfortable in cruising mode as opposed to its dynamic setting.
The air suspension makes the car feel like it's gliding over most surfaces. However, the massive wheels hinder blemish-free ride comfort. The steering is light in comparison to other vehicles in its class, which can feel disconcerting on mountain passes but helpful in a congested city setting.
The power from the Twincharged engine is impressive. There's hardly any lag, and the sleek Volvo will rush to 100km/h from standstill in a claimed 5.9 seconds. It took a while to modulate the throttle to eke out a few extra kilometres from the 71-litre tank, as the 10.3-litre per 100km average fuel consumption is a sore point. On highway driving, I was able to reduce it considerably, but it's the stop-start traffic where the engine chows fuel in first and second gears.
The interior, like other Volvo's, is a lovely place to be. The R-Design embossed seats are perfectly sculpted and offer generous support. My body never felt sore or lethargic after a long drive in the svelte Swede.
The XC60 is fitted with a myriad of safety options that make it one of the safest cars we've ever driven. From a 360 degree camera to blind-spot monitoring and automatic-brake collision alert, the test unit was fitted with everything one needs to feel safe on the road.