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Volvo XC60 D4 AWD Inscription: Fresh, distinct and sophisticated family SUV

By Ghaith Madadha - Sep 25,2017 - Last updated at Sep 25,2017

Photo courtesy of Volvo

The latest in its product offensive, the Volvo XC60 proves that the Swedish automaker is on a veritable roll with its new platform, design and technology. A distinctly Scandinavian approach to automotive luxury, the XC60 brings a fresh and capable alternative in the wildly popular premium mid-size SUV segment.

Stylishly designed inside and out, comfortable and well-packaged, smooth driving and with flexible and capable drivelines, the recently launched second generation XC60 stands to make a mark and is offered in a range of well-equipped trim levels and choice of turbocharged (and hybrid) four-cylinder engines, including the most luxurious Inscription specification.

 

Distinctive design

 

A follow-up to the well-received XC90 SUV and S90/V90 saloon/estate models, the XC90 is Volvo’s third completely distinct model line built on its versatile contemporary Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and the first such mid-size incarnation. Longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, the new XC60, however, uses lighter stiff steel components and features shorter overhangs and a bigger footprint for better stability and a more grounded stance.

Designed exclusively for four-cylinder use (and a hybrid T8 model), the XC60’s SPA platform features a sportier and more luxurious rearwards cabin design, and rides on sophisticated double wishbone front and integral-link rear suspension, with optional adaptive air suspension, as tested.

Distinctive among a largely homogenous automotive segment, the XC60’s design is sportily urgent yet classy, and is particularly elegant in Inscription trim with limited by effective use of chrome. With broad upright grille with vertical slats, the XC60’s fascia features an interplay of concave and convex surfaces with sharp angles and triangular motifs echoed across its design. 

Slim, browed headlights are bisected by Volvo’s unique “Thor’s hammer” LED signature, while its flanks are chiselled and muscularly surfaces and shoulders. A long bonnet and sweepingly rakish roofline create a sense of momentum, which is complemented by a jutting tailgate framed by angled and slim rear light design.

 

Refined and confident

 

Expected to be available in Jordan in 250BHP T5 and 315BHP T6 turbocharged petrol versions, all XC60 variants, however, feature the same engine capacity and cylinder count, including the entry-level D4 turbo-diesel engine variant available with Inscription trim level, as driven at regional launch at the southern Turkish coast. 

A versatile and economic engine option if rumours of the possible easing of restrictions on diesel passenger cars were to pan out in Jordan, the XC60 D4 is smooth, willing and muscular in mid-range. With virtually no diesel clatter audible from inside the cabin and quick, progressive delivery, one might even think it a petrol engine.

Developing 187BHP at 4250rpm and revving to somewhere in the region of 5000rpm, the XC60 D4 also produces a thick and meaty 295lb/ft serving of torque throughout 1750-2500rpm, which allows for confident pulling power on inclines and for overtaking at cruising speeds.

Capable of 0-100km/h in 8.4-seconds and a 205km/h top speed, the D4 returns 5.1l/100km combined fuel consumption, which is frugal given its standard four-wheel drive, high equipment and luxury levels, and near two-tonne weight.

Standard across the XC60 range is a smooth, quick and slick shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox, with aggressive first and second gears much minimising low-end turbo lag in the D4 version.

 

Comfort and composure

 

Allowing for responsive and quick acceleration across the model range, the XC60’s gearbox also features tall seventh and eighth ratios for quiet, smooth and efficient cruising, while different gearbox driving modes calibrate response levels and include a manual “tiptronic” mode.

Driving all four wheels, the XC60 allocates more power to the rear when necessary on loose surfaces, whether to tighten a cornering line or ensure tenacious road-holding. Off-road, the XC60’s four-wheel-drive proved capable when driving steep slow inclines over loose rocks and dirt.

Meanwhile, optional air suspension proved very useful in raising ground clearance by 40mm in off-road mode and provided taut body control through on-road corners in normal ride height.

Stable and reassuring at speed, it is also tidy and capable through switchbacks, where it well manages its height and weight with good body control and tidy turn-in, helped by quick, light and direct steering. Agile for its class, it weaves through corners better than expected, while air suspension well manages road imperfections, and tyres prove grippy through corners. Best on smooth fast roads, the Inscription specification model’s low profile 255/45R20 tyres were slightly firm side over rougher, broken backroads and gravelly paths away from urban centres near Marmaris, Turkey. 

Similar to rural Jordanian roads, one would recommend the next down tyre size, riding on 45cm alloys for enhanced comfort and fluency.

 

Airy and advanced

 

Confident, composed, comfortable and well-controlled, the Volvo XC60 is settled and buttoned down on motorways and on rebound over crests and dips, and is refined, well-insulated inside. With a distinctly Swedish sensibility, the XC60 Inscription has an airy, almost natural feel and tones to its cabin, but is nevertheless exquisitely classy and well crafted with quality materials. 

With comfortable and supportive seats and confidently high, yet reassuringly car-like driving position, the XC60 is ergonomic and well-packaged, with good space front and rear even with optional sunroof, yet one felt that the driving mode selector is positioned somewhat far back in the centre console.

Luxurious, comfortable and well equipped, the XC60 Inscription features numerous standard and optional features including a 22-centimetre smartphone-integrated, voice-activated infotainment system with cloud-based apps and wifi hotspot capability. 

Edging closer to fully autonomous future driving, the XC60 features a host of advanced and innovative driver assistance safety systems including Pedestrian, Cyclist, Large Animal Detection, Run-Off Prevention, Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist and Oncoming Lane Mitigation to prevent head on collision. 

 

Other systems include Steer Assist, which works alongside City Safety systems and can provide steering input to avoid collisions between 50-100km/h, while braking individual wheels to maintain vehicle stability at the same time.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 2-litre, turbo-diesel, transverse 4-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 82 x 93.2mm

Compression ratio: 15.8:1

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, common-rail direct injection, variable valve timing

Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel drive

Ratios: 1st 5.25:1; 2nd 3.029:1; 3rd 1.95:1; 4th 1.457:1; 5th 1.221:1; 6th 1.0:1; 7th 0.809:1; 8th 0.673:1

Reverse/final drive: 4.015:1/3.329

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 187.5 (190) [140] @4250rpm

Specific power: 95.2BHP/litre

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 295 (400) @1750-2500rpm

Specific torque: 203.15Nm/litre

0-100km/h: 8.4-seconds

Top speed: 205km/h

Fuel consumption, urban/extra-urban/combined: 5.8-/4.7-/5.1-litres/100km 

Fuel capacity: 60-litres

Ground clearance: 216mm

Approach/break-over/departure angles: 23.1°/20.8°/25.5°

Aerodynamic drag co-efficient: 0.32

Unladen weight: 1990kg

Steering: Speed sensitive electric-assisted rack & pinion

Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones/integral-link axle, active air suspension

Brakes: Ventilated discs

Braking distance, 100-0km/h: 36-metres

 

Tyres: 255/45R20

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