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  • Writer's pictureIshaan Bharadwaj

'All The Car You Would Ever Need' - Volvo XC60 B5

There is no denying the fact that Volvo makes the most timeless and sophisticated luxury cars for the masses in the world. The Scandanavian approach of keeping it simple, yet out of the world is something that very few people have been able to appreciate, especially in a country like India where the more Gucci you look the more new school celebrity status you attain. I've personally admired the way Volvo cars make you feel once you start living with them, it's something that will get you off the radar without getting you off the D-list.

But as the years passed and the legislation of diesel cars living on the roads for 10 years at max came into play, Volvo in India took tiny punches on its face since their entire line up had turbocharged diesel engines fitted to them. Although late to the party Volvo India decided to swap all the cars with diesel engines with Turbocharged Petrol motors with Mild-Hybrid technology, and the latest product of this idea is the XC60 B5.

Whats' new under the bonnet?

The XC60 gets fitted with a 2-litre turbocharged petrol motor mated to a 48V integrated starter generator motor. This motor does not have a massive battery pack to deliver a Full EV mode like in the XC90 T8, but it rather acts as a support system to the engine to improve fuel economy at city speeds. It does this effectively during lift-off regen and braking for charging of the 48V battery. With the engine and the 48V system combined, you get an output of 250 bhp of Max Power and 350 Nm of Max Torque.

This does sound like a decent amount of power and torque from a 2-litre turbocharged engine, pretty much similar to the new BMW X3's. But, where it looks good on paper, in the real world, the performance output is programmed to be much smoother and linear than outright performance-oriented like the BMW. I like how there is a progressive humm when you start the engine like it's opening up each cylinder sequentially.

What all has changed in the way it looks?

Nothing much, it still has those stately sharp looks that make you look like an IT company CEO or perhaps someone with an IQ as high as Steve Jobs. There are a few tweaks done to the front and the rear bumper in the 2021-22 Model Year and Volvo has thrown in some fresh 19 inch diamond cut alloy wheels into the package.

And with this shade called the 'Pine Grey,' it looks very elegant to me indeed. The XC60 surprisingly has a paint thickness of 120 to 145 µm which exceeds the standards of Mercedes Benz and BMW that we have tested before, also the panel gaps do not exceed 2.5 mm at any spot on the car. Volvo's quality control, even after being localised is very strict and ensures that the car reaching the hands of the customer is of top grade.

What is going to be majorly missed are the twin rear tailpipes with this B5 Mild-Hybrid model. Volvo decided to omit those to make the rear end look more elegant and sophisticated. Luckily, they have actually achieved their intent by not giving fake exhaust tips in the bumper which does make the rear end feel a lot less desirable in some of the competing German cars.

I've been on some road trips with this car and every time I took a stopover for a cup of chai, I would just walk around the car or stand still to glance at how beautiful it is. Volvos are very underrated when it comes to design and if you're one of those people who are truly inflicted by the way their cars look, there is no turning back.

Let's talk about the Interiors.

The cabin of the XC60 is an absolute treat to the senses. The eyes behold the beautiful design and the rich textures, the skin touches all the soft leather and wood grains, the ears listen to the glorious sound of the Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system which is the best car stereo under the ₹1 Crore price tag and the smell of the new car is sustained over a longer period because every material used in here is of the highest quality and this cabin will age like a fine wine.

The fully digital instrument cluster now gets fresher graphics and gets even more data integrated into the User Interface, but what I sorely miss are the different themes that we could choose in the previous generation model. What also comes as a welcome addition is the Orrefors Sweden Crystal Glass on the gear selector which just ups the luxury quotient of this rather minimalistic cabin. Everything you touch and feel is of the highest quality and Volvo has proved it over the years with its supreme fit and finish in every detail.

Talking of details, the seats on the XC60 are the most comfortable and well-appointed chairs to spend long hours in, in the entire class of cars. They have been designed in collaboration with orthopaedic surgeons and it shows up in the way they hug your body and magnificently supports them. What also betters the experience is the standard heated and cooled front seats with 5 step massage programme, settings of which are integrated into the multi-media interface.

The All-New Google integrated Multi-Media Interface is the biggest update Volvo is bringing to its cars. The Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play come packaged into the interface which makes it quite a familiar connected car experience. You don't always have to connect your phone for Google assistance and maps, the system in fact helps retain the battery and processor of your handheld devices ensuring better integration of data and useability.

What is it like to Drive?

The turbocharged petrol engine delivers an ample amount of power and torque to do your daily chores, and a 0-100 km/h time of 7.8 seconds as tested with this 8-speed torque converter gearbox mated to the Mild-Hybrid engine, it is quite a decent performer. I did a road trip from Delhi to Agra and back in the XC60, running on 95 octane fuel and a 100 km/h set speed on cruise control, it barely felt like it was driving.

Go any faster and you'll notice a tiny bit of vertical movement over undulations. The cabin insulation is solid and the suspension system does soak in the worst of undulations with relative ease. It is only when the potholes get bigger do the dampers get a little audible. Overall ergonomics, great low and mid-range torque and properly equipped interior make the experience inside the XC60 a great one! Full marks to Volvo for this. It's a Hybrid, it better be Fuel Efficient!

I've lived with this car for about 2400 kms in total and the best fuel economy I have extracted is 21.7 km/l on the highway, has been during my road trip from Delhi to Agra during the freezing January Winters running on 95 Octane fuel at 85 km/h average speed. In the city, it supplies a decent 15.3 km/l when driven with a lighter foot at speeds up to 60 km/h, which for a petrol-powered luxury SUV is quite staggering.

In Conclusion. Scandinavian design, autonomous driving aids of the future, driver assistance systems and safety features built-in one of the most ergonomic and properly designed packages in the industry make the Volvo XC60 B5 the most desirable family SUVs in India today.

I absolutely love what Volvo does with their cars, and as a mechanical engineer myself it really truly allures my senses to the max! Priced at ₹63.5 lac ex-showroom, it is the best value for money proposition in today's time. If you're eyeing a big family SUV at this price, don't look anywhere else.

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