• Volvo XC60: First Drive Review

It brings the minimalistic luxury concept to SUVs

Have you seen a contemporary home? One that has clean lines and exudes minimalism yet packs in all the amenities you’d expect in a modern home? The Volvo XC60 reminds me of one of those. Volvos have always stood apart from the crowd and the stands out from other luxury SUVs in its segment, bringing in its own unique form of luxury.

For 2022 the SUV gets a subtle facelift and the front end looks more slab-sided now, thanks to a new grille and cleaner looking bumper that better complements the LED headlamps with Thor’s hammer DRLs better. The sides remain unchanged, save for the new 19-inch machined alloys while the new rear bumper offers a cleaner look, thanks to the exhaust being tucked underneath. Overall, the cleaner straight lines and subtle chrome accents make the XC60 look elegant.

The elegance of minimalism continues inside with the matte finished wood and brushed aluminium accents. It follows the contemporary, unconventional approach as seen in the curved lines on the layered dash and vertical placement of AC vents and also the nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Even the console approaches technology differently. Unlike other systems that offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, this Google-powered interface features pre-installed apps like Spotify and Google Maps. Like most contemporary homes that have a talking piece like a sculpture or a painting, the XC60 too features one in the form of a uniquely shaped crystal gear knob from Orrefors, a world-famous crystalware manufacturer. Another cool feature is the Advanced Air Cleaner technology that not just filters air but also measures PM 2.5 levels inside the cabin. The interiors are a study in both minimalism and attention to detail.

The highlight for me is the 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins music system that delivers crystal clear audio. It heightens the driving experience and with its vast presets you can enjoy both a sonata and a rap concert in equal measure. The setup offers a proper cinematic experience.

Like before, the XC60 also gets a bouquet of radar-based active safety features such as blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control and front and rear collision mitigation support. I liked the lane keep assist particularly, which gently nudges the steering wheel if you veer off your lane.

The XC60 skips a diesel powertrain in favour of a 2.0-litre mild-hybrid turbo-petrol mill, paired with a 48V battery. It pushes out a respectable 252PS and 350Nm. There is no grin-inducing shove in the back when you mash the throttle pedal, rather a strong seamless surge of torque. The hybrid system offers performance assist during acceleration and helps improve fuel efficiency by reducing engine load as well, courtesy seamless start-stop operations.

It seems like Volvo has focused on offering a relaxed driving experience and this shows in the powertrain’s impressive levels of refinement. Even the eight-speed Aisin sourced automatic gearbox offers seamless but slightly laidback shifts.

The suspension feels firm at low speeds but ride quality improves as speeds go up. On highways the XC60 feels planted. The light steering makes it easy to drive around in city but at speeds and in corners it doesn’t offer as much feedback. While it grips well in corners thanks to the all-wheel-drive setup, the pronounced body roll will have you let off the throttle. This is an SUV meant for sedate highway drives rather than spirited driving.

Volvos have always made cool cars and the XC60 is no exception. It might feel understated at first glance but peel through the layers and its purity of intent will surprise you. This one focuses on offering zen levels of relaxed driving experience and on most counts, it delivers. We would have loved a more supple low speed ride but besides that, it is hard to fault. At ` 61.9 lakh exshowroom the XC60 is a fantastic left-field alternative to similarly priced German luxury SUVs. If you own a modern home, with the Volvo XC60, your contemporary experience does not end at your doorstep.

Cars First drives

Leave your comment