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Volvo XC60 review: Not your dad's Volvo

Volvo rolls out the XC60, which has the greatness of the XC90 - but is cheaper and prettier.

Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design.

Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design.


VOLVO is on a roll. The success of its XC90 sports utility vehicle (SUV) and its S90 large sedan has raked in record sales in 2015 and 2016, and it expects to do even better in 2017.

Befitting, since Volvo is Latin for "I roll".

The new XC60 (Volvo's latest, mid-sized SUV) has a mission to keep things rolling along nicely. It's longer, wider and lower than before, and these changes are set off well by its sleek appearance. The R Design model emphasises this with its body kit, large wheels and a rear diffuser.

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This is an important point to note as the XC60 faces very stiff competition in this looks-conscious segment, with the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Jaguar F-Pace vying for a slice of the SUV-buyer's roll. So it's good that the XC60 doesn't look like your dad's Volvo.

The car's best trick is packing features from the bigger XC90 SUV into a smaller and more affordable package. It's endowed with a tall seating position and comfortable R-Line-themed sports thrones. The cockpit layout is cribbed from the XC90, so there's a lot of technology (active driver's instruments, a portrait-oriented infotainment touchscreen) juxtaposed with clean Scandinavian design (aluminium trim, a relative dearth of buttons).

The XC60 is also smarter and safer than preceding models. It retains all the safety features of the XC90, and adds on a system that steers you to safety if you veer towards oncoming traffic.

The model we tested was the T6 - the most expensive variant - packing 320hp from its 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine. It's plenty fast, thanks to all-wheel drive and waves of torque.

Driving dynamics are where there are some stray lemon seeds in the gravlax. The powerful engine is vocal and not the most refined. The ride and steering quality are good, but not class-leading. The latter has a disconnected feel at times, though to be fair, most SUVs have at least one minor, dynamic niggle as well.

To that end, this test unit packed 21-inch wheels - the largest available - while standard T6 R-Line models wear 19-inch alloys that should give a more comfortable ride.

It's not a driver's car, but the XC60 doesn't need to be since it excels everywhere else. If you don't have a big family but are intrigued by what the XC60 offers, wait for an even smaller XC40 model which will be rolled out next year.

Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design

Engine 1,969cc, 16V, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 320hp at 5700rpm
Torque 400Nm at 2200-5400rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 230 kmh
0-100km/h 5.9 seconds
Fuel efficiency 8.0L/100km
CO2 183g/km
Price S$258,000 with COE
Agent Wearnes Automotive
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