We can assure you this is not déjà vu. Yes, we did a review on the Volvo XC60 awhile back but that was the T5 variant. Currently, Volvo Malaysia has two variants of the XC60 on sale; the T5 and the T6. This time we got our hands on the T6 with 61 hp more (and costing RM30k more) than the T5.
The claws of emission laws have got hold of the car industry and manufacturers have resorted in a move to downsize their engines to cut emissions. So instead of a 3.0-litre straight six used in the pre-facelifted XC60 T6, the new T6 uses the basically the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E engine as appeared in the T5 but adds on a supercharger. As a result, the new T6 is not only kinder to the environment, it’s also more powerful than before. Sounds good already doesn’t it?
|Name||Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E
|Segment||Premium Compact SUV|
|Engine||1,969 cc 4-Cylinder turbocharged & supercharged|
|Max Power||306 hp @ 5,700 rpm|
|Max Torque||400 Nm @ 2,100 – 4,500 rpm|
|Price||RM 318,888.00 (OTR without insurance)|
Unlike the first generation Volvo XC90 that stayed in the market for a good 12 years looking the same, the little brother XC60 received a makeover after six years in its lifecycle. It’s not just a mere facelift though, Volvo took the opportunity to introduce their latest Drive-E powertrain to the world. The flexible new Drive-E engine has been developed to suit multiple applications with multiple states of tune, and eventually it will be featured in every upcoming Volvo vehicles in the range.
The Drive-E T6 in our Seashell Metallic XC60 here produces 306 hp and 400 Nm of torque, and similar to the XC60 T5 it sends all the power to the front wheels alone. You read that right, that amount of power in a front wheel drive SUV should equals massive torque steer, but is that really the case with this XC60 T6? We set out to investigate.
After the recent nip-and-tuck, the XC60 looks more matured than ever. With the simpler front end and colour-coordinated all-round skirts, it should appeal to a broader set of audience. If the previous XC60 was a jersey-wearing youth with scruffy facial hair, the facelifted XC60 is more of a clean-shaven gentleman in a sharp suit.
However, if you find it too plain to your liking, you can always opt for the styling package as appeared on our XC60 T5 we drove earlier. But in its stock form, the XC60 won’t turn any heads although it’s stylish, classy, and ticks the right boxes to qualify it as valet-worthy.
The T6 looks virtually identical to the T5, save for the headlights that feature Active High Beam Control and a blanked-out panel in the grille housing the sensor for the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
The standard wheels are 18-inch “Pan” alloys wrapped in 235/60 R18 Pirelli, which is an inch up from the 17-inch wheels fitted on the T5. Admittedly, they’re not as visually arresting as the optional 20-inch “Candor” wheels that was fitted on the T5 we drove earlier, but the high-profile rubbers should provide a better cushioned ride overall.
Again, the back is almost indistinguishable from the lesser variant save for the badge. Disappointingly too, the reverse camera has been dropped in this T6 but it gains a powered tailgate. Personally I’d take the reverse camera in favour of closing the tailgate myself, but I guess the parking sensors are sufficient for most people.
The outside may have received a makeover, but the inside appears to be locked in a time capsule from the year 2008. The trademark floating center console is festooned with buttons that look like they were taken off a 90’s mobile phone, and the interface to the Sensus Connect system is fiddly to operate. At least it’s beautifully styled with quality materials and still dripping with Scandinavian coolness.
Gratefully the Adaptive Digital Display brings the cabin up to date to 2015. Featuring sharp graphics and three preset themes, it’s a real eye candy and suits every mood that you might come across while driving.
The rest of the practical cabin mirrors the T5’s, though. Loads of headroom and legroom on offer, and there are sufficient amount storage compartments at the front and back. You get powered front seats with memory function for the driver, 40/20/40 split folding rear seats with two built-in two-stage child seat boosters, and a 532 litre boot like on the T5; but on the T6 you also get a powered tailgate for added convenience.
And since it’s a Volvo, you can be rest assured that the vehicle is chock full of safety kit. Need we remind you that the XC60 won the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ award? Well, they achieved that by having a big bowl of safety abbreviations such as WHIPS, SIPS, and ROPS.
The new T6 might have lost a couple of cylinders and 1,000 cc of displacement from its forebear, but it gained 21 hp from the turbocharged AND supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E engine. Generating a total of 306 hp and a heady 400 Nm worth of torque, the XC60 T6 sends the power to the front wheels via an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.
Start/stop is standard, playing its part to contribute to the claimed 7.3 litres per 100 km fuel consumption. Despite the cleaner credentials it now boasts, the T6 will accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, with a top speed of 210 km/h to boot. That’s pretty quick for a 1,800 kg SUV.
Starting my drive in the wee hours, I nonchalantly chuck the column stalk into high beam knowing that the Active High Beam Control (AHBC) will take care of adjusting the light beam for me. Fitted exclusively on the T6, the AHBC will automatically dip the beam when it detects oncoming traffic and resumes full beam as traffic clears.
That’s not all. It will read traffic ahead and selectively blocks out a section of the beam to avoid dazzling the rearview mirrors of the cars in front, at the same time saving the driver from being labeled as some inconsiderate motorist who doesn’t know how to dip their beams. It works brilliantly, and with Active Bending Lights the projected light path even follows where you point the steering wheel.
Manoeuvring the T6 is exactly like the T5, with large turning radius and quite limited rear view. On the brighter side, similar to the T5, the T6 shrinks itself once on the move with lithe handling and surprising amount of agility for a tall-riding SUV.
Although the T6 grants you the choice of three different steering assistance, I left it at the heaviest setting 99 percent of the time mainly because the lightest setting made me feel like a puppeteer.
Grip is abundant from the 235/60 R18 Pirelli P Zero Rosso and the smaller yet higher-profiled tyres contribute to a better ride compared to the T5 fitted with the optional 20-inch wheels. I know it’s hard to resist the gorgeous Candor wheels but in the long run you’ll appreciate the more supple ride, and the cost of replacing the rubbers is considerably cheaper too.
The T5 we drove earlier was quite a handful on the limit, dishing out a huge dollop of horsepower in one lump sum to the front tyres once the turbo comes on song somewhere around 1,500 rpm. As mentioned earlier, with more than 300 hp powering the front wheels alone, yours truly was expecting the T6 to be some sort of an unwieldy beast after the T5; but Volvo proved that it was not the case.
The inclusion of the supercharger works well to fill the gap where the turbocharger wasn’t able to. The T6 feels surprisingly docile, where power delivery is spread gradually and smoother across the rev range compared to the T5. Though it’s still laggy below 2,000 rpm, the torque doesn’t arrive out of the blue as though you’re being splashed with a bucket of ice-cold water by surprise; so you don’t get as much torque steer as you get from the less powerful T5.
It sounds better on the move too. The muted turbo whistle from the T5 is now accompanied by a zingy supercharger whine in this T6, notwithstanding the fact that ultimately the soulful creaminess of the previous six-cylinder T6 will be sorely missed. Volvo claims the T6 sips 7.3 litres of petrol for every 100 km, but with a heavy right foot you’re looking at well above 10.0 litres per 100km.
Taken to the highway, the T6 manifests itself as a great cruiser. The Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist and Distance Alert is particularly a plus point, as it takes out a huge chunk of the driving from you by accelerating and braking itself automatically based on the traffic in front, leaving you with the task of just steering the vehicle. It’s almost like a preview of what fulll automated driving is going to be like.
Apart from that, the Swedish nanny in the T6 is more alert than the previous V40 T5 and the XC60 T5 we’ve driven before. If you’ve exceeded the speed limit she will inform you with the Road Sign Information (RSI) in the instrument panel, if you fail to indicate upon switching lanes she will make herself audible with the Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and when she senses you’re tailgating too close or about to hit the car in front, she will scream her lungs out and flash you a strip of red lights on the windscreen with the Collision Warning system. And being a caring nanny, with the Driver Alert Control (DAC) she will even suggest you to have a cup of joe if she catches you slowly losing concentration behind the helm.
IS IT FOR YOU?
Are you the type that doesn’t like attention? Do you appreciate the finer things in life but rather not be shouty about it? Or do you just wish that the XC60 T5 could be more powerful yet remains under control? If you answered “yes” to those questions then the XC60 T6 is right up your alley. And the best thing is, Volvo cars are generally cheaper than any of the closest German rivals in Malaysia.
The RM218,888 XC60 T5 is a bargain next to the German duo, the BMW X3 xDrive20i which sells for RM 325,800 and the Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI Quattro at RM 324,900. And yet, this XC60 T6 still undercuts the German duo by more than RM6k. Of the three, only the Q5 is a CBU unit, and only the XC60 is front-wheel driven.
A 2.0-litre four-cylinder paired to an 8-speed automatic can be found in each vehicles with most amount of horses reside under the bonnet of the XC60. The power figures speak for themselves, 306 hp and 400 Nm in the XC60, 225 hp and 350 Nm in the Q5, and 184 hp and 270 Nm in the X3. Fuel consumption is sub seven litres per 100 km for all three.
|Volvo XC60 T6 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||235/60 R18||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||7.3 L/100 km||7.2 L/100 km||7.9 L/100 km|
|0 – 100km/h||sec||6.9||8.2||7.1|
WILL I BUY IT?
It is safe to say that the T6 is my pick of the XC60 range. After experiencing both the T5 and T6 variants, the T6 comes out to be the more complete of the two. It’s remarkable how the supplementary supercharger makes the T6 more powerful but at the same time makes it more driveable compared to the T5.
If the Drive-E engine is a curry, the turbo in the T5 is the salt; it lifts up the curry with a full body taste. While the additional supercharger in the T6 is the sugar, it balances everything out nicely to deliver a complete flavoursome taste. On a separate note, I’m pondering on the prospect of the Scandinavian curry being served in the V40.