Sue Cooke takes the Volvo XC60 for a test drive
Facts at a Glance:
Model: Volvo XC60 AWD Inscription Pro Auto | Price: £59,770 otr| Engine: T8 Twin Engine | Performance: 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 140 mph | CO2 emissions: 49g/km | Combined fuel consumption: 134.58mpg
Driving around this week, very comfortably, in the Volvo XC60 road test car, I was struck by the amount of fellow Sports Utility Vehicle drivers there are on the road. And while currently my own car is a hatchback, when I buy a new car, it will be an SUV…and I am not alone. One major manufacturer says that by 2025, 50 percent of its cars sold throughout the world will probably be an SUV.
In 2007 these sometimes off roaders, represented just 8.5% of market share. In 2017 the market share was 29.3%. With a size to fit all, Volvo offers the XC40, XC60 and the largest XC90 and with the surety of being able to drive through some water and with a decent amount of off-road capability, the SUV has won our hearts.
Gone are the days of the boxy van shape. The Volvo XC60 is a stylish contender. Three designers, Thomas Ingenlath, Robin Page and Maximilian Missoni worked closely together to develop an award-winning Scandinavian design. Volvo says they will now focus on future design opportunities which will be created by the company’s move towards electrified and ultimately autonomous cars.
And this is the other big change – the move from fossil fuels. The UK Government vows to ban new sales of all purely petrol and diesel driven vehicles by 2040. So, what’s the option – hydrogen, electricity or a compromise, the hybrid? Volvo has recently launched the twin engine plug-in hybrid which combines a powerful petrol engine with a battery-powered electric motor. This gives the owner a virtually silent, zero emission city car, an astonishingly fast performance car or a reassuring all wheel drive car, all at the touch of a button.
Owners can fast charge the battery in 2.5 hours. Full charging takes between 3.5 hours (at 10 amps) and 6 hours (at 6 amps). There is a choice of driving modes, Pure, Hybrid, Power or AWD. During my week of road testing I used all four, individually, which are simple to select.
The quality interior is gorgeous with a huge 9-inch touchscreen displaying radio, nav and even the weather. It is easy to change the climate in the cabin or the music by pressing a voice activation button on the steering wheel. Ok, the command wasn’t picked up correctly every time, but voice instruction immediately changed my destination.
I like the automatic gears operation which just requires a light pressure on the lever. I also like the typical Volvo ignition start which is a button which the driver turns to one side to engage. The driver information is clearly displayed in the form of digital circles in the instrument binnacle.
I loved my week in Volvo’s premium car and felt very safe with the ground-breaking technology which can help prevent collisions. City Safety, ‘Run off road’ mitigation, automatic braking if sensors detect that you have turned in front of an oncoming vehicle at junctions as well as automatic headlight dip are all useful features. My favourite is the £800, 360-degree surround view parking camera which includes park assist pilot for automatic parallel and 90-degree parking.
The automotive world may be treading uncertain roads but in this month of peace, love and harmony, I do hope that the Volvo XC60 hybrid is an SUV that will stay around for a long time.