Svelte Swede - Volvo's XC60 is hard to fault

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2020 Volvo XC60. Image: Motorpress
2020 Volvo XC60. Image: Motorpress

I've become very familiar with Volvo's SUV line-up, from the compact XC40 to the flagship XC90 and I've even done a few long road trips in them. 

One of my annual 'pilgrimages' is to Makhanda in the Eastern Cape for the national arts festival and I've only driven there in Volvos, twice in the large XC90 models and most recently in an XC60, the 2018 World Car of the Year. 

Recently, I've had the XC60 or the middle child of the range, on test and it has been a reminder as to why it's an excellent mid-size SUV. 

I've also seen more of them on the roads around where I live in Cape Town, and that's a good thing for the Swedish company which still isn't as popular as its German rivals. 

The D5 derivative is the top of the range diesel model powered by a strong 2.0-litre forced induction engine producing a healthy 173kW and 480Nm. It utilises that power via an eight-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels. 

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Image: Motorpress

A 71-litre fuel tank and relatively good fuel consumption translate into a range of over 800km displayed on the on-board computer. Thing is, the D5 goes about its business in a swift, smooth manner when accelerating. Several passengers on those road trips have commented on how quickly it picks up speed.

Volvo claims a 7.2 second 0-100km/h sprint time, and to be honest, in the real world, it feels like sub-7 seconds.  

So, it'll get you where you want to go quickly and safely by being fitted with safety systems like an automatic braking system, blind-spot indicator and it'll even tug the steering wheel electronically when you wander out of your lane.  

It even picks up road sign information and displays it on the clear heads-up display. 

Parking and maneuvering in tight spaces are aided by the cars many cameras that display on the large LCD screen. 

Arguably the XC60's best attribute is its cosseting ride quality courtesy of the optional air suspension. It offers a deliciously relaxed drive that soaks up bumps and gleans over surfaces in an orchestral manner. 

A powered tailgate opens a 468-litre boot that has a nifty cover that locks into place and hides any valuables when the boot is closed. 

At the rear, there are standard Isofix points to fit a child seat or two, and a plethora of airbags keep occupants safe. 

After a week with the XC60, it isn't a surprise to see more of these vehicles on our roads. Buoyed by its win at the 2018 World Car of the Year awards and positive reviews in the press, I see Volvo expanding their footprint in the market despite tough times. 

Price as standard - R817 936 

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Image: Motorpress

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