Volvo XC60 T6 Inscription an alluring blend of style, luxury, technology and of course remarkable safety.
What is it?
The second-generation Volvo XC60 is all-new from the ground up, and shares its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform along with a number of other key components such as engines, technology and interior components with the XC90, S90 and V90 models.
Although the design is a radical departure from the first-generation XC60, Volvo has ensured that the overall silhouette is similar to the original, so the new XC60 won’t be mistaken for anything else.
The new XC60 is also said to be not only the safest Volvo ever, but perhaps the safest car on sale today. Really. That’s because Volvo has developed a collision avoidance system that allows the XC60 to steer itself away from oncoming traffic, should you drift onto the wrong side of the road, and that’s on top of a City Safety system that can detect and brake for pedestrians and animals.
What’s it cost?
Volvo is offering consumers plenty of choice with the new XC60 range. The line-up opens with the XC60 D4 Momentum from $59,990 plus on road costs, and tops out with the thumping but efficient XC60 T8 R-Design which retails from $92,990 plus on roads.
We sampled the luxury-focussed T5 Inscription which has a starting price of $69,990.
Standard equipment includes that aforementioned collision avoidance system, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, an array of airbags, adaptive cruise, electrically adjustable steering, active cornering LED headlights, satellite navigation and much, much more. So the XC60 T5 Inscription is actually rather good value.
But, as Volvo is a prestige brand, there are dozens of options available at your disposal.
What’s it go like?
Pretty well. All Volvo XC60 T5 models are powered by 2.0 litre turbo and intercooled petrol engine that develops 187kW @ 5500rpm and a healthy 350Nm @ 1500-4800rpm. That engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic which sends power to all four wheels.
Performance off the line is strong, with maximum torque available from just above idle, acceleration is quick, smooth and crisp, which makes overtaking a breeze. That eight speed auto shifts quickly and sweetly.
What isn’t so quick and sweet is Volvo’s start/stop system. It just seems to be active all the time and didn’t restart the engine as promptly as we would have liked in some instances. Average fuel consumption during the test week was 11.3 litres per 100 kilometres, slightly above the quoted 7.8 litre combined average.
The XC60 T5 Inscription test car was fitted with air suspension with a number of modes including: Comfort, Dynamic and Off-Road, all altering the ride and handling to suit the driver’s needs and road conditions. The ride comfort in both Comfort and Dynamic were both excellent, with the Dynamic setting offering moderately better body control, and was our setting of choice.
We also noticed that when Comfort mode was selected, the steering became light, perhaps too light for our liking and almost devoid of feel, hence why we stuck with Dynamic for the majority of the time.
What’s it like inside?
Stunning. Just stunning. There’s no other way to really summarise the XC60 Inscription’s cabin. The XC90 interior is beautiful, make no mistake, but the XC60 Inscription interior raises the bar to the next level.
The chromed vents are thoroughly modern yet avant-garde, that blonde woodgrain trim is a gentle contrast to the chrome and grey and everything is lovely to touch and use. They’ve even made the Bowers & Wilkins speakers as visually appealing as they sound.
If you’re familiar with Volvo’s revolutionised line-up you’ll be familiar with a large chunk of the interior’s componentry. The Sensus infotainment system is found in other models in the Volvo family, as are the front seats.
But these aren’t bad things: Sensus is comprehensive, intuitive to use and graphically sharp. If you don’t want to take your hands off the steering wheel, there is also a receptive voice control system.
Those seats are wonderfully comfortable and offer plenty of electrical adjustment. Our test car was also fitted with seat heating and cooling, which helped take the sting out of an unseasonably warm Melbourne Spring.
Head, leg and shoulder room up front are all fine. Up the back though, we found legroom to be adequate rather than excellent. And that rear bench, as comfortable as it is, is only really sculpted for two bottoms, which is potentially an oversight on Volvo’s part, as the XC60 will be most definitely bought as a family hauler.
At the back, the cargo area can hold 505 litres worth of goods, and the tailgate opens electrically and can be opened remotely via the key fob.
What we like:
- Design, inside and out
- It’s priced just right
What we don’t:
- That start/stop system can be infuriating
- Steering can be overly light
- Rear bench best suited to two
- A gesture control tailgate would be nice
Sale or no sale?
Absolutely. The previous XC60 was an impressive car, but the new Volvo XC60 T5 Inscription ticks all the boxes a luxury SUV should: it’s comfortable, it’s beautiful, it’s nice to drive and it happens to be one of the safest cars in the world.
Options fitted to test car:
Heated Front Seats ($500), Panoramic Sunroof ($2,950), Tinted Rear Glasses rear doors and cargo area ($650), Bowers and Wilkins Audio System ($4,500), Power Cushion Extension ($350); Metallic Paint ($1,900); Fine Perforated Nappa Leather Charcoal in Charcoal Interior and front seat ventilation ($2,950)
Price as tested:
$ 83,790, exclusive of on road costs.