We take the Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E for a drive. 2-litre 4-cylinder engine, 8-speed auto Geartronic transmission, 245hp, 350Nm. It’s a leaner and meaner Viking.
These days, the purchase of an SUV makes perfect sense for the urbanites alike. It carries the space of a sedan with additional cargo space, and a ground clearance high enough to traverse the more rugged terrains that we might come across. When all is said and done, these SUVs never climbed a kerb, let alone driven off road but that didn’t stop people from snapping them up away from the showrooms.
As far as premium SUVs come into picture, they are probably seen as a lifestyle image even though some are properly engineered to be capable to take on the dirty stuff. Volvo’s famous SUV has always been the XC90, the full size all-wheel drive SUV that will take seven on board. It was a huge success for Volvo prompting them to replicate that success in a smaller package, consequently the XC60 was born.
|Name||Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E|
|Segment||Premium Compact SUV|
|Engine||1,969 cc 4-Cylinder Turbo|
|Transmission||8-speed Auto Geartronic|
|Max Power||245 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Max Torque||350 Nm @ 1,500 – 4,800 rpm|
|Price||RM 288,888.00 (OTR without insurance)|
The original XC60 officially went on sale in 2008 as the younger and more stylish sibling to the XC90. With a range of petrol and diesel engines driving either the front or all four wheels, it offers versatility to the Volvo buyers who doesn’t need the extra space of the XC90. After five years in the market, Volvo engineers gave it an update not only to the outside, but under the skin as well.
The star of the update is the more powerful and more efficient new Drive-E powertrain that replaces the old Ford-derived units. Introduced here in June 2014, the XC60 range consists of the turbocharged T5, and the turbocharged and supercharged T6. Both are powered by the new 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E petrol engine driving the front wheels via the eight-speed Geartronic auto.
The Twilight Bronze XC60 we have here is the less powerful T5 variant, but it still dishes out a healthy dose of 245 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Wrapped in a chic and curvy body, will that be enough to take on the rivals in the premium compact SUV segment? Let’s find out!
The rejuvenated XC60 now sports a less fussy headlights arrangement where the LED strips have been migrated down to the bumper. This allows for a broader grille to be fitted which makes the XC60 appear to be wider than before. While the previous XC60’s face might look like it was trying too hard, the new one is much more understated yet classy.
By using radar-based sensors for the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), the side mirrors are now free from the bulky cameras. The strong rising shoulder line side profile is retained, and the back still looks the same with those sexy and curvy LED-infused taillights. Down below is a pair of foglamps and a pair of oval tailpipes hiding deep inside the chrome trapezoidal finishers.
The interior from the pre-facelifted XC60 has been largely carried forward to this XC60. Solidly built and stylish as it may be, it’s beginning to look dated especially the floating dash that’s crammed with buttons. The Sensus Connect system is pretty clunky to use and not as intuitive as you would expect, but it’s not short of features such as DVD and MP3 playback, Bluetooth phone pairing, and even GPS navigation.
Behind the steering wheel sprouts a pair of shift paddles, and the optional Adaptive Digital Display looks too cool for you to leave it out of the options list. Both front seats are electrically-operated and the driver’s seat has memory function. They have sufficient side bolsters although the flat seat base won’t hold your buttocks as effectively as the backrest does to the back of your torso.
There’s plenty of space for three at the back, however elbow room can get pretty tight. The rear bench split and fold 40/20/40 and each of the two outer seats incorporate a built-in two-stage seat booster for little kids, while the middle backrest folds down to reveal a twin cupholders and a lidded compartment. The boot will swallow 532 litres worth of cargo which is big enough for the occasional trips to IKEA, facilitated by the low boot sill for painless loading and unloading of items.
Elsewhere in the cabin there’s a deep lockable glovebox, well-sized door pockets, and a large cubby under the front armrest. Despite that, the placement of the twin illuminated cupholders in the high center tunnel is a bit awkward because when they are occupied, the drinks might get in the way of your left arm the moment you want to operate the gearlever.
Safety has always been a major subject for Volvo, so it’s not surprising that the XC60 is stuffed with airbags at the front, side, and even inside some of the door pillars. What’s more, its occupants are protected by the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS), Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), and Roll Over Protection System (ROPS). All that resulted the XC60 to bag itself the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ award recently.
Under the sculpted bonnet beats a new heart. The new four-cylinder Drive-E still displaces 2.0-litres, but the new engine gains 5 more horses and 30 Nm more torque compared to the outgoing turbocharged four in the previous XC60 T5.
With 245 hp and 350 Nm on tap, the XC60 spins its front wheels from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds and all the way to the top speed of 210 km/h.
Not only the new Drive-E is more powerful, it’s also more economical with start/stop function equipped as standard. Besides that, the pairing with the new eight-speed Geartronic helps to further improve the fuel consumption, which is now rated at 6.9 l/100 km.
With the massive wheels and the turning radius of an oil tanker, truck drivers will feel at home in the XC60. For non-truck drivers it means that maneuvering in tight parking areas can be daunting sometimes, but they will get used to it eventually. Even though it has front and rear sensors, the inclusion of a reverse camera would be greatly appreciated on a vehicle with a rather limited view backwards.
However, once on the move the XC60 feels surprisingly nimble, like a smaller car than it actually is; enabling you to quickly gain confidence in handling it like a normal hatchback. Although the ride can get rather lumpy on the dilapidated roads of KL with the optional 20-inch wheels. Terrible temporary roadworks and small crevasses get amplified to the cabin, so unless the roads where you’re staying are smooth as glass, you might want to uncheck those handsome Candor wheels option.
On the dry twisty roads the 255/45 R20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero Assimetrico provides optimum grip alongside torque vectoring that brakes the inside wheels to minimise understeer. Enthusiastic drivers will find the steering carries a nice heft to it, never mind it’s not particularly direct in feel.
Don’t get too carried away though, torque steer is still present at times, therefore do treat the throttle pedal with care especially in the wet. If driven vigorously be prepared to be thrown around on flat seat base, but at least the helm is chunky enough for you to hold on to your dear life. The Aisin-sourced eight-speeder is neither the smoothest nor the quickest gearbox out there, making the shift paddles most likely to be left untouched for most of the time.
As you settle to a cruise on the highway with the speedometer indicating north of 110 km/h mark, the engine is not even spinning at 2,000 rpm. There are still noticeable wind and tyre noise, nevertheless the cabin is generally hushed from the outside hullabaloo. The torquey Drive-E unit makes overtaking slower traffic effortless, it doesn’t really need to be revved hard as the torque is readily available from a lowly 1,500 rpm.
Similar to the other modern four-cylinder engines the Drive-E sounds like a diesel at idle, but give it the beans and it’ll emit a rather muted but sporty timbre with a hint of turbo chirp as you short-shift your way up the eight available ratios. At the end of the day, the fuel consumption varies depending on your right foot, but throughout the period this writer did a combined 7.3 l/100 km.
IS IT FOR YOU?
Not unlike the other premium compact SUV in the market, the XC60 is a capable SUV to suit multiple needs of an urban dweller. The engine is punchy enough for a quick burst in and out of traffic and on the highways it’s able to show those pesky B-segment wannabes a good clean pair of heels too.
To choose the XC60 over the rivals however, is most likely due to the attractive price tag and the brand appreciation. If you’re sold on the looks alone, do remember that our test unit is fitted to the brim with the Viking package that will set you back more than 25 grand, so we suggest you to head to the nearest Volvo showroom to check out how the base XC60 looks like before deciding.
As mentioned, against the German rivals the XC60 is the cheapest here, but then again our test car here is loaded with the optional extras pushing the price to well above RM 300,000. The BMW X3 xDrive20i is the most expensive at RM 325,800.00 despite being locally-assembled like the XC60. On the other hand, the fully-imported Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI Quattro is RM900 cheaper than the BMW.
Standard equipment are more or less the same, leather seats, auto climate control, auto lights and wipers, multiple airbags, and all sorts of acronyms to represent the safety systems fitted.
All three employs the same formula of a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Power is distributed to the all-wheel drive system except in the XC60 where it only drives the front wheels. While the XC60 may not have all-wheel drive traction as the other two, the benefit from that is it sips less fuel than the two Germans.
Apart from the better fuel consumption, the XC60 is the most powerful of the bunch with 245 hp. The Q5 is close behind with 225 hp, while the X3 is trailing behind with just 184 hp. The X3 is also 80 Nm short on torque, compared to the Audi and Volvo with 350 Nm.
|Volvo XC60 T5 Drive-E||BMW X3 xDrive 20i||Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI Quattro|
|Type||4-cylinder direct injection turbo petrol||4-cylinder direct injection turbo petrol||4-cylinder direct injection turbo petrol|
|Type||Electrical power-assisted||Electrical power-assisted||Electrical power-assisted|
|Transmission||8-speed Geartronic||8-speed Automatic||8-speed Tiptronic|
|Type||MacPherson struts / Multilink||MacPherson struts / Multilink||MacPherson struts / Multilink|
|Front||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc|
|Rear||Ventilated disc||Solid disc||Solid disc|
|TYRE & WHEELS|
|Tyres||235/65 R17||245/50 R18||235/60 R18|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS|
|Max Kerb weight||kg||1,794||1,810||1,850|
|Luggage Capacity (VDA)||L||523||550||540|
|Tank Capacity||70 litres||67 litres||75 litres|
|Consumption||6.7 L/100 km||7.2 L/100 km||7.9 L/100 km|
|0 – 100km/h||sec||7.2||8.2||7.1|
WILL I BUY IT?
The XC60 T5 is an interesting package and a great alternative to a premium compact executive sedan. Being a front-wheel drive SUV doesn’t bother me that much even though it’s always good to have all-wheel drive for extra assurance in worse conditions. But this particular XC60 won’t be my pick, especially when fitted with those 20-inch wheels. Instead I’d plump that extra dough on the T6 and leave the understated look as it is.