Driven: 2019 Volvo XC 60 R-Design
I’ve spent the last month getting really familiar with Volvo’s SUV range. I started off at the top of the range with the full-sized Volvo XC 90 Inscription before going all the way to the littlest member of the family – the Volvo XC 40 R-Design. This week I got to test the mid-range option of Volvo’s SUV family, so let’s see if the Volvo XC 60 is as good as its siblings.
The design of the XC 60 doesn’t stray too far off the usual Volvo design script. Up front are two clean LED headlights that integrate ‘Thor’s Hammer’ within, which is personally one of my favourite design elements of the new generation of Volvo. The lower bumper is more aggressive than the regular XC 60, with every vent and line serving a purpose. The sporty black grille gives the front end a slightly menacing look, hinting that you’re looking at an exclusive R-Design model. The rear isn’t the most attractive end of the SUV to me but it features some clever gadgets to make up for it, like the standard electric tailgate.
I think the Volvo XC 60 benefits the most from its size. It’s not as big as the XC 90 making it easier to park and manoeuvre tight areas, and it’s a bit roomier than the XC 40 which frees up a bit more space for passengers and a bigger boot. It also scores on the interior which is almost, if not, identical to the uber-premium XC 90. The seats are very comfortable and come with standard electric adjustment, and the optional panoramic sunroof just pushes the luxury envelope even further.
Up front you’ll find an electronic display that digitises the instrument cluster, and to the left of that is a big tablet that acts as the information and media hub of the car. In this tablet you’ll find vehicle, climate control, media and safety setting that you can toggle to fit your exact requirements. The high-performance Bowers and Wilkins sound system is a necessity in the Volvo XC 60. However, I did notice that it was missing the Gothenburg Orchestra Hall setting, although I’m pretty sure that feature is reserved for the XC 90. Another necessity is the duo of adaptive cruise control and lane assist which work together to add an element of autonomy to the SUV.
The model that I tested was the Volvo XC 60 D5, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine that produces 173kW of power and 480Nm of torque. The D5 is also equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission which is almost unnoticeable when driving the SUV. The XC 60 also does a lot better than its siblings in terms of fuel consumption, with Volvo claiming a figure of 5.5-litres/100km. Of course this figure is somewhat unattainable in normal driving conditions, but I was pleased with its consumption which regulated itself below the 8.0-litre/100km with some good driving. Piloting the XC 60 feels very similar to the refined drive of the XC 90, without the mild anxiety of driving a 7-seater SUV.
I think the Volvo XC 60 strikes a good balance between the Swedish manufacturers SUV range. It’s the right size, has enough power, is refined and comes with a lot of bells and whistles for its starting price of R811,400. Some of the standard features include City, Driver Alert Control with Lane Keeping Aid, Road Sign Information display,Rear Park Assist, Navigation Pro, Volvo on Call and an Electrically operated tailgate.
The price of the model we tested was a bit higher at R977,750 due to some optional extras such as the beautiful Crystal White metallic paint and the R-Design Premium Plus pack, which includes Heated front seats, Headlamp cleaners, 360˚ Camera, Auto dimming side mirrors, Premium Sound by Bowers & Wilkins, Blind spot warning, Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Keyless entryand a set of 21" Black diamond cut alloy wheels to top it all off. Still, even with options, the Volvo XC 60 is an incredibly well balanced car.