When it comes to SUV’s, Volvo certainly nails the stereotypical well-to-do “soccer mum” troop carrier look. In some of our more leafy suburbs the streets are literally crowded by XC60’s and the larger XC90. So what is it about this executive yet innocuous compact SUV that has many Australians going down the Swedish path? EFTM recently jumped aboard the Volvo XC60 D4 Kinetic.
The 10 Minute Test Drive
As you’d expect there’s the traditional commanding driving position. From the driver’s seat an exceptional, roomy interior surrounds you with premium plastics and other niceties that simply make you feel a tad special and very comfy. Volvo does seats very well, with plush leather and broad headrests that really produce that lounge-room-on-wheels feel. You could drive a Volvo all day and still be able to walk unaided.
A cluster of buttons surrounds a telephone-style keypad on the centre console acting as the control hub for many of the cars multimedia, climate control and telephone functions. One of the four surrounding rotary dials acts as the main control surface for navigating through the various menus systems via the 7’’ colour screen. It’s a fiddly way to operate, requiring more eyes off the road time than other more intuitive systems found in the German competition. However surrounding all this is a copper look inlay, one of the more attractive pieces of craftsmanship you’re likely to see in any vehicle. The aforementioned 7’’ screen exhibits excellent clarity and is set far enough back into the dash to avoid sun glare.
The Adaptive Digital Display farewells the traditional analogue instrument cluster, with three themes on offer – Elegance, Eco and Sport. It’s a novel, colourful yet quite useful piece of technology.
Driving the XC60 is as equally a comforting experience as is the interior. For a heavy car (1748kg) the ride is still well controlled, displaying sensible driving manners when driven by a model driver. However if pushed with any hint of keenness the kids will soon be playing corners in the rear. It’s a machine that’s best suited to simply wafting around the suburbs in.
The 2.0L turbocharged diesel unit never feels brisk but nor does it ever feel laboured. This is one of the more refined diesels around, there’s little diesel clatter intrusion into the well-insulated cabin. It’s also impressively fuel-efficient.
Ins And Outs
Up front sits a four-cylinder 16 valve DOHC turbocharged 2.0L diesel. The vital stats are 133kW @ 4250rpm / 400Nm @ 1750-2500rpm. On the D4 Kinetic model, drive is sent to the front wheels through an 8-speed adaptive Geartronic transmission with sports mode. All wheels get ventilated brakes and 17’’ alloy wheels, a temporary spare is thrown in the boot for you. It shifts smoothly and doesn’t suffer the slowness or confusion some of the other cog-laden boxes I’ve driven recently do. It extracts the best possible performance from an engine which on paper seems a tad under-powered with 0-100km/h dispatched in 8.5 seconds, far from atrocious.
Fuel consumption is a major selling point for this particular model, rated at just 4.9L/100km; I achieved a consistent 5.8L/100km which is surprising given the level of lead in my right foot. Drive-E is Volvo’s marketing term for its latest range of more efficient engines. While not uncommon the excellently executed auto-stop/start engine feature is one of the more seamless around.
Volvo does safety better than most, who could forget the “Staying Alive” ad campaign back in the 80’s. We’ve come a long way since then and the number of safety systems fitted as standard or optional is quite staggering. Aside from the endless array of acronyms outlining the various computer controlled assistance systems there’s one feature which is probably the most useful – City Safety. The system is designed to take charge if you’re a chance of rear ending a moving or stationary object at under 50km/h. The program will halt forward momentum within a whisker of carnage. We’ll be testing this feature on video for a later review. Of course if that doesn’t work out you shan’t be seeing any video nor are you likely to read anymore Volvo reviews on EFTM!
Web browsing (while stationary) is possible via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection and displayed on-screen, I can’t think of many instances where net browsing in-car would even be warranted?
The Hip Pocket
As tested the Volvo XC60 D4 Kinetic (Drive-E) has a Manufacture’s List Price (MLP) of $59,890. Options fitted included metallic paint ($1,750) and heated front seats ($375). For a total price of MLP $62,015.
At this price point the XC60 is relatively well equipped with leather seats, rain sensor, power tailgate, electric parking brake, electrically adjustable-driver’s seat with memory, auto-dim rear-view mirror, climate control with pollen filter and cruise control. A glaring omission is satellite navigation which is optional.
EFTM Rubber Stamp
If you require an executive, compact SUV but don’t care much for some of the more elite and snobby badges the Volvo XC60 is certainly worth a look. It earns The EFTM Credit Rubber Stamp Of Approval.