Volvo XC60 has ditched its diesel engine, but for good...
The XC60 has been a hugely successful model for Volvo in India. The SUV is loved for its dimensions, features and cabin experience. With the competition getting stronger, Volvo recently released a slight update to the SUV. It has now ditched the familiar diesel engine and now gets a smaller hybrid petrol engine. It packs a few cosmetic upgrades and equipment additions as well. We sample one to see if it can still woo someone hunting for a luxury SUV...
Volvo XC60 B5: The New Badge!
The name would be one of the most obvious changes on the vehicle. The new XC60 variants bear B-series names. The one with us is the B5. We are used to seeing D5 and D4s on Volvos- the Swede's way of naming their Diesels. However, 'B' series names signify electrified powertrains, or (mild) hybrids in layman's lingo. For whoever wondering, 'T' series names hint at turbocharged powertrains.
No big changes can be seen on the outside. The overall shape, panels and presence remain untouched. On a closer examination, however, you would notice minor, tasteful retouches on the grille, bumpers, and a new design for the 19-inch alloy wheels. The grille now gets bolder and sharper Chrome on it, and strikes your eyes harder than before. The exhaust tips are now hidden underneath.'
Almost all key details on the inside remain unchanged from the SUV that we're familiar with. The colour themes, cabin layout, and materials feel premium. The facelift gets a crystal finish on its gear selector and suave driftwood trim on the dash. Another major change is in the infotainment unit. The 9-inch touchscreen is now powered by Google. It feels more like having an inbuilt Android Auto- neat and nice! You can download music apps like Spotify and avail free four-year subscriptions as well. The XC 60 features a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system that delivers exceptional sound quality. The feed is crisp and loud. Pump up the volume and the result is epic!
The new XC60 B5 comes with a large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The display quality of this screen is great, and delivers a lot of useful information as well. Even the navigation data is displayed here. However, it is not as intuitive or fancy as the ones found in some modern-day Germans.
Volvo has integrated a lot of features into the updated XC 60. The likes of motorised front seats with massage functions (the style, intensity and speed of which are customizable), wireless charger, seat ventilation, four-zone climate control, and panoramic sunroof, are all included. The downside, however, is that controls for most of these are integrated into the central touchscreen.
The rear occupants enjoy ample space and comfort. There is generous headroom, leg room and knee room. The under-thigh support, something which the SUV has long been criticized for, continues to be unapologetically insufficient, even on the facelift. The rear controls for the climate control get touch operation and feel quite cool to play around with.';
Here's where the key change is. The 2022 Volvo XC60 facelift ditches the massive diesel engine and settles down for a smaller turbo-petrol with integrated mild-hybrid tech. The 2.0L, four-cylinder, turbo petrol produces 250hp and 350 Nm. That's evidently a smaller engine and significantly lesser torque figures than the previous diesel's 480 Nm. On the facelift, the engine is mated to a 48V mild hybrid system that has more to do with improving the fuel efficiency and refinement, than in boosting the acceleration. The gearbox offered is the familiar 8-speed torque converter unit, which is now tuned for a more relaxed driving.
How Is It To Drive?
With the new engine hopping in, a lot has changed in the overall driving experience of the new XC60. It doesn't deliver the massive tug of torque that we're used to having on an XC. The 48V system helps with the initial acceleration, delivers enough juice at city speeds, and the mid-range is decent too, but never as strong as the diesel's. The delivery here is linear and hurry-free. Results are fairly underwhelming even if you floor the pedal in hopes of an urgent acceleration. Similar easy-going behavior is had from the transmission as well.
What excels here is the refinement. With the diesels moving out, there has been a huge leap up in the overall NVH. The engine feels extremely smooth and silent. The diesel clatter is gone. The new engine is so refined that even at high speeds, you would barely get to hear it ! Also, the battery assist feels so seamlessly integrated that you'd hardly notice it working.
The mild-hybrid makes the XC60 a much cleaner car, without losing out much on fuel efficiency. Emissions are now down and despite being a 2.0L turbo petrol, this vehicle returns 11-12 kpl if driven carefully (or 'sedately'). However, if you push it hard or attempt some aggressive driving, the figures will drop drastically- quite common when small turbocharged engines are employed on large vehicles.
There are no conventional drive modes as such. However, there is a dedicated Off road mode (Yes, the vehicle gets AWD!), that needs to be activated via the central touchscreen. The XC60 facelift carries forward all the driver assist features from its predecessor.
Ride And Handling
The new XC60 handles clean. The steering offers decent feel and feedback and body control fair and predictable. Owing to its sheer size, there is ample body roll on offer. Overall braking is good as well, even though there is a fair amount of forward pitching when doing so. The suspension feels slightly on the stiffer side. The XC doesn't feel as softly sprung/plush as what you'd expect from a luxury SUV of its segment-misses out on any adaptive dampers as well. But it is never uncomfortable either. You are notified of its stiff-sprung nature only while negotiating bad patches at low speeds and over speed breakers. The upside, however, is that the vehicle feels stable at highway speeds.
Price And Rivals
Priced at 65.90 lakh ex-showroom, the XC60 competes with the likes of Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Merc GLC. It might not be as tech-packed, or engaging to drive as the Germans, but is definitely worth giving a try if you're into the Swede way of luxury.