If your car accidentally drifts out of its lane, the steering wheel turns slightly hard to alert you.
If your car accidentally drifts out of its lane, the steering wheel turns slightly hard to alert you. If the car continues to drift, a technology called Lane Keeping Aid steers your car back into its lane. If a vehicle is trying to overtake your car, a technology called BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) senses as that vehicle enters the blind-spot area on either side, and alerts you by illuminating a lamp in the side mirror. If you activate a turn signal, the BLIS icon flashes to warn you not to turn. If you’re approaching a slower-moving or stopped vehicle at a speed that suggests a collision is likely, a technology called Pilot Assist automatically applies brakes to your car.These are among the dozens of in-car technologies I experienced while recently driving the new Volvo XC60 on the East Coast Road between Chennai and Pondicherry. The car was launched in India on Tuesday.
What is XC60?
The XC60 is a mid-size luxury SUV, and Volvo’s largest selling vehicle both globally and in India. It constitutes 30% of the company’s sales. The new XC60 I drove was introduced globally earlier this year and within six months Volvo has launched it in India.
How does it look like?
It looks bigger than the outgoing XC60 and, from some angles, like the XC90—the company’s flagship SUV. The exterior has an athletic sculpture with a subtle, timeless quality. The signature Thor’s Hammer headlight design (its German competitors have crystals and laser headlights) and angular tail-lights give it a sporty stance.
How is the cabin?
It’s quite spacious, but more than that, it oozes quality. In fact, today, Volvo is perhaps the only company that matches Mercedes-Benz’s magnificent interiors, and in some areas even betters it. The interior of the XC60 is a masterful composition of Scandinavian luxury and beautiful use of materials. Nappa leather (a particular soft and smooth leather) and fine wood along the dashboard that boasts of a nine-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen give the cabin a lavish look.
Is the cabin really equipped?
The touchscreen at the centre of the dashboard is driver-oriented; it feels and operates a lot like the Apple iPad. A premium sound experience is a crucial element of luxury driving, and the 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround sound provides an almost ‘real’ audio experience, i.e. if you play a concert hall music, you’ll feel you’re sitting in a concert hall. Seats are also in Nappa leather and are ventilated for both heating and cooling. A unique experience is the front seats can massage your back and shoulders in four different ways. Once you shut the doors, you completely shut out outside noise. And the panoramic sunroof lets in ample sunlight.An interesting feature is that you can open and close the tailgate by waving your foot under the car’s rear bumper.
Which engine powers it?
Under the hood is the 1969cc diesel engine that delivers 235bhp of power and 480Nm of torque. It is mated to the 8-speed automatic gearbox that comes with paddle shifts. It may be a comparatively smaller engine, but what makes it special, and very powerful, is a Volvo invention called the PowerPulse. This technology spools up the turbo instantly, thereby negating any turbo-lag generally associated with a diesel engine, especially in a stop-go situation. The result is that the XC60 can accelerate from 0-100kph in well under 10 seconds and can touch a top speed of 230kph. There are five types of drive modes—Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-Road and Individual—which provide you a varied choice of settings apt for different terrains.
How safe is it?
Volvo produces among the safest cars in the world and the XC60 is no exception. Features such as airbags, inflatable curtains and whiplash protection are a given. The XC60 not only helps protect passengers, but also people outside. For example, it has a technology that can help you detect pedestrians and cyclists. When you drive at speeds below 50kph, the City Safety collision avoidance technology brakes automatically if you are about to run into an obstacle. Then there are technologies such as Oncoming Lane Mitigation (uses steering assist to help mitigate head-on collisions). All these technologies fall under an umbrella called IntelliSafe.
Who are its competitors?
How affordable is it?
Luxury is not value for money, it is money for value. The new XC60, even though it is a CBU import, is priced Rs 55.9 lakh (ex-showroom), all-India, which slots it right in the middle of competition. However, what sweetens the deal is that the XC60 is available in just one, fully-loaded variant, so you don’t have to compromise on a feature or two. If you compare this SUV with the top variants of its competitors, you might find it value for money, and if you see it as a standalone product, it appears to be money for value.