Rediscovering Scandinavian Elegance With Volvo XC60

In the annals of automotive history, Volvo will be regarded as one of those brands which stood out for its unique identity and innovative approach. A bastion of safety, reliability, and Scandinavian elegance, Volvo’s legacy is etched into the very fabric of the industry, and the brand prides itself in staying one step ahead of the competition when it comes to sustainability and innovative technology. It makes sense then that Volvo has constantly been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries when it comes to setting ambitious goals for its own sustainability going forward, vowing to sell an all-electric lineup by 2030 to meet its carbon emission goals. As we look towards the future and reimagine what tomorrow’s Volvo looks like, we find ourselves at the crossroads of tradition and innovation, reflecting on the legacy of excellence that has defined Volvo’s internal combustion models in the past. And what better way to experience that than the Volvo XC60, one of the brand’s most popular offerings globally, and one that will soon be replaced by an all-electric offering in the next year or so.

At first glance, the Volvo XC60 captivates with its commanding presence and understated sophistication. The design isn’t flashy by any means, but the XC60 still manages to grab attention no matter where it goes. The exterior design of the XC60 has undergone subtle tweaks over the years but still manages to retain its quintessential Volvo appeal, a testament to the brand’s commitment to timeless elegance and functional aesthetics. From the iconic Thor’s Hammer LED headlights and the signature chrome grille, to the quintessential and instantly recognisable Volvo tail lamps, every aspect of the XC60’s design exudes confidence and purpose. The sculpted bonnet and prominent body lines along the side, combined with the squared-off stance at the back, lend the XC60 a strong and muscular stance, and the overall design is a masterclass in subtle and understated aesthetics. 

Step inside the Volvo XC60, and you’re greeted by a sanctuary of Scandinavian luxury and comfort that  treads the line between luxury and everyday usability. The cabin is an amalgamation of premium leather, fine wood inlays and elegant metal accents. Volvo’s excellent craftsmanship is on show thanks to the intricate stitching on the seats and the dashboard, and the combination of premium materials and excellent build quality create an ambiance of refined elegance and relaxation. The front seats are well bolstered and provide ample support, in addition to providing heating, ventilation and massage functionality. The spacious cabin offers ample room for four passengers to stretch out and get comfortable, and carrying five isn’t the worst either, thanks to the comfortable seating position at the back. The interior of the XC60 is functional too, with several useful storage spaces, spacious door pockets, and a decent sized glovebox. More than anything though, it’s the little details that we’ve come to love about the XC60’s cabin, such as the Swedish flag carved into the metal trim on the dashboard, or the cold, tactile feel of the air vents. The XC60 is a special place to be in, and the feeling of safety and serenity that the cabin provides for its passengers is a hallmark of the Volvo experience.

As Volvo has updated the XC60 over the years, the car’s feature list has continued to grow. Most of the technology looks familiar, with a vertically-oriented 9″ infotainment screen sitting front and centre on the dashboard. We’ve come to like the simplicity of Volvo’s system over the years, although we haven’t come around to adjusting the HVAC controls through the infotainment system. The system is integrated with Google’s suite of apps, and helpfully also provides a Google Maps view in the car’s crisp and uncluttered digital instrument display. Other features include four-zone automatic climate control, a crisp 360-degree camera, a huge panoramic sunroof, a fabulous 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system and a built-in air purifier. Additionally, the XC60 boasts the latest in Volvo’s advanced safety and autonomous driving features, including blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, cross traffic alert, rear collision mitigation, pilot assist and adaptive cruise control. Volvo’s ADAS systems can be a bit intrusive sometimes, especially in Indian road contexts, but we’re still glad to have the tremendous safety net that they provide.

As Volvo slowly but surely moves away from internal combustion engines, the XC60 is a fantastic reminder of why we loved Volvo’s engines in the past. Under the hood, the XC60 offers a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, which when mated to a 48V mild-hybrid system, provides a throughly refined and elegant driving experience. The mild hybrid setup, paired with a 4WD system and an 8-speed automatic transmission, produces a healthy 250 bhp and 350 Nm of torque. The XC60 has more than enough grunt to tackle almost everything you throw at it, and this big, luxurious SUV still manages to complete the 0-100 km/h spring in just over 7 seconds. But while the XC60 is capable of doing that, it would rather not, as it’s a vehicle very much set up for comfort and luxury over dynamics. Put your foot down and the power and torque comes in gradually and in a linear fashion, rather than a surge that throws you into the back of your seat. While we did sometimes miss the instant surge that some of its rivals offer, the engine and transmission setup in the XC60 very much suits its personality. The smooth power delivery makes for a relaxing and supremely comfortable drive, and the 48V mild hybrid system does well to plug in the power gap from time to time. The steering feels amazingly light and the XC60 is a breeze to drive in the city, although there’s an option buried in the infotainment system to firm up the steering feel slightly. While the transmission is smooth to shift while cruising, it isn’t the most eager to downshift when you put your foot down, and the absence of paddle shifters means you can only do so much to take control.

Where Volvo has truly excelled with the XC60 is in passenger comfort and ride quality. The suspension has a soft set up that absorbs most road irregularities at high speed, although some low-speed bumps do make their way inside the cabin. All that changes when you get to high speeds and the XC60 begins to glide above the road surface, creating a feeling of disconnect from the road that makes the drive all that more comfortable. NVH levels in the cabin are extremely low as well, and the engine’s refinement, combined with great insulation around the interior, lends a sense of calm to the XC60’s demeanour. As long as you drive the XC60 like a typical Volvo, it continues to provide one of the most comfortable and luxurious driving experiences in the segment.

As we conclude our time with the Volvo XC60, we are reminded once again of Volvo’s rich legacy of refinement and excellence. Without shouting its credentials, the XC60 exemplifies everything that Volvo has come to stand for. The XC60 combines elegant design, craftsmanship, high attention to detail, and technological innovation to provide what is essentially a complete package, and its tremendous global success over the years is a testament to Volvo’s commitment to engineering excellence, sustainability, and safety. As Volvo heads towards an all-electric future that we are truly excited for, it’s great to remind ourselves about why we fell in love with Volvo and its offerings in the first place. And the XC60, priced at INR 68.90 lacs ex-showroom, will push you to do just that.

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