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Evolution redefined!

By Arvind Passey on 30 April 2014

Car's Age: 3-6 months

Summary

Overall Rating 5/5
Exterior 5/5
Interior 4/5
Ride Quality 4/5
Maintenance 5000/ month
Mileage (city) 11 KMPL
Mileage (highway) 15 KMPL

Detailed Volvo XC60 Review

What's Good?

Where and how we met is what is vital... we met in Bhopal during the NDTV-Volvo XC60 Adventure Challenge and that is where I fell in love with a 40 L car! So the first good thing about the XC60 is that it makes you fall in love with it. The rest of the good things follow in a line, never falling out or being raucous or boisterous, such is the effect of the car. So whether it is the smooth automatic transmission of the car, or it's impeccable safety features, or the spacious boot opening and closing hydraulically, or the intelli-bending lights, or a central console that initially intimidates you with the number of touch controls and button controls there, or the sun roof, or the range of colour choices... you really have no option but to admit that you're finally in love with a machine. But hey! the XC60 isn't a mere machine. It purrs like a woman (though at time it does purr more aggressively and louder), gallops like a horse in a race, turns like a dolphin in a performance, adopts the right gear like there was an Einstein sitting inside... and manages to give a 56 inch chest that some leader recently boasted about! Let me add here that I drove the XC60 in the city, then on the highway, did off-roading, went up and down the hillls near Pachmarhi, drove throughout the day stopping only for very short breaks, and even slept inside the car. It's 212 hp engine did not register a single complaint... in fact, it was going hoarse warning me whenever I went too close to a jutting rock or careless humans trespassing on Indian roads. The air conditioning was simply superb and it was a pleasure to test it's efficacy by stepping out in the scorching heat of Bhopal and then dive back to see how fast the sweat dried... and it always did in a matter of nano-seconds! Driving on the road within city limits is where I loved this car most... it's advanced reversing controls made parking easier than it always was, and the proximity warnings that it gave must have saved us a number of times. It is good that the rough and tough driving fortnight for me was intrinsically connected to the XC60... it wouldn't have been easy had it been any other car, I'm sure.

What can improve?

It is tempting to write that Volvo needs to improve it's pricing by scaling it downwards by a few lacs... but then seriously, I wouldn't like to enter the slushy and mushy fiscal arena. This, however, reminds me of the awry swishes, lost traction, and a confused steering while negotiating slush and slippery ground during the off-roading experience. It was scary at times but it probably needed more expertise than I had, so I wouldn't really go overboard complaining about it all. In fact, one of my friends says that 'the car lacks a limited slip differential or diff locks, so it seems it isn’t practical as a full-time, serious off-roader...' I agree with him. The digital controls and all the memory functions are not easy to remember but once you get a hang of them, they do make life inside the car much more lovable. There is very little that is sloppy or deserving the cane, so to say... though there will still be improvements and the newer models in the future will have things we cannot even imagine. One thing that bugged me was my not being able to get enough height to stand confidently and out of the open sun roof. This leads me on to the ticklish bump that makes life for the third passenger sitting in the rear seat in the centre far from comfortable. In fact, we took turns to sit in that position whenever three of us were inside one car and sitting in the rear seat. So if this vulgar bump can go, it'll be very fine.

Exteriors (5/5)

Look at the range...Silver Metallic, Seashell, Caspian Blue Metallic, Black Stone, Ice White, Flamenco Red Metallic, Rebel Blue, Cosmic White Metallic, Savile Grey Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic, Terra Bronze Metallic, and Electric Silver Metallic... the one that I drove was black and our team was called 'Midnight Thrillers'... and believe me, all colours suits this car. The length, height, width & wheelbase of the XC 60 are 4644 mm, 1713mm, 1632mm and 2774 mm and they do give a feel of perfect ratio and a well balanced car when you look at it from a distance. I think we must have clicked a whole range of pictures of its newly styled LED daylight running head lamps and of the grille that has the company's logo spreading across it... these two make the car picture-perfect! Anyway, the Scandinavian design simply means that the vehicle is a convergence of simplicity, elegance, and appeal! The dual exhaust tail pipes lends it that very essential new-age sporty look. The tail lamps have vertical cluster that looks amazing and the rear side has LED brake light at spoiler which is located at the tip of the rear side roof. The exteriors, in short, are simply mind-blowing!

Interiors (4/5)

What does a tall man look for? Headroom, of course. Well, the XC60 has ample front and rear headroom that is 1025 mm and 1003 mm respectively... but then when we talk of interiors all we mean is: 'Am I comfortably seated?' The answer is: 'Yes.' End of debate. However, for the nit-pickers, there is a comfort pillow, rear seat cover, sunshade rear window, electric heater, remoter start for heaters, electric compartment heater, and an active TFT crystal display with 3 graphic themes. So does this make you happier? The upholstery is fine, the seats are plush and the rest of the interior probably looks at you and says: 'Relax! You're sitting in a fine car.'

Ride Quality (4/5)

Well, let me share a few secrets here. The first thing my partner and I did was to connect our smartphone through bluetooth and switch on the audio player. The process was hassle-free and the sound regaled us throughout the fortnight that we spent driving this luxury car! Now the sort of driving we were doing wasn't the passive one that company chauffeurs do or the fearful and careful stance that owners adopt... we were quite bindaas about taking it to places where even sanity would cringe and cower... but the XC60 went on bravely with us, tolerating our braking, accelerations, and swerves... and it did everything very commendably. In fact, everytime we came out of the car, my perceptive mind could hear: 'Thank you, your driving has made me stronger and sturdier!' I mean, this voice wasn't there but I could sense the car whispering these words. Barring a few times when we felt that the occupants were made to feel the bumps and the breakers, we were a happy lot.

Other Comments

Well, this is one car that is, for sure, poetry in motion... and will make people stop and wonder: 'Well, isn't this the car that has been appearing in my dreams all these years?' And there will be quite a few of these romantics who will go ahead and buy this one... no, despite being being a hopeless romantic and a poet, I cannot buy it. I'm not rich enough to afford a car that costs more than 40 lacs! But this doesn't deter me from talking about it... from praising it... and from dreaming about owning it some time in the future!

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