By Alex Forrest
When Volvo was bought by the Chinese car maker Geely in 2010, in rolled some much-needed cash to develop new technologies and new models.
The new iteration of Volvo’s most popular current model, the XC60 mid-sized SUV, has benefitted tremendously from that.
It competes with mid-size premium SUV big guns such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC – each of which logged more than twice the XC60’s 1800 sales in 2017.
That said, the new XC60 was only available from October, so the Germans could be in for more of a challenge this year.
Pioneering vehicle safety technology is nothing new for Volvo, and this vehicle follows the tradition of the first generation XC60, which in 2008 was the first Volvo to get autonomous emergency braking as standard equipment.
Debuting on the new XC60 is Oncoming Mitigation, which steers the vehicle away from a potential head-on crash.
It also has intersection collision avoidance, which automatically applies the brakes if the driver turns in front of an oncoming vehicle. This was introduced on the larger XC90 as a world first in 2015.
Pricing starts from $67,800 drive away for the D4 2.0L diesel. Though at this price, heated front seats ($500), tinted rear glass ($650) and metallic paint ($1900) should be standard.
Its exterior strikes a balance of premium quality and style, but without being especially conservative.
Inside, the large, tablet-like touch screen in the centre of the console will garner much conversation, but it is the fine design details and the integration of materials which truly impresses.
The brushed metals, the intricately cut speaker grills and the shape of the air vents and their surrounds could each be cool Swedish ornaments themselves.
Our test vehicle was a D4, which comes with a 2.0-litre diesel with 140kW and 400Nm. The eight-speed transmission keeps it in the sweet section of the rev range, and its overall refinement is in line with expectations of a premium vehicle.
The quality of the seats, both in their materials and their function, is class-leading, though it’s disappointing the build-in booster seats from the old model aren’t available – yet.
|Engine:||2.0-litre turbo diesel|
|Power:||140kw @ 4250rpm|
|Torque:||400Nm @ 1750-2500rpm|
|Claimed fuel economy:||5.4L/100km|
|ANCAP Rating:||5 stars|