The Volvo XC60 T6: Big and quick

Published on June 16th, 2015

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Let me start with a rant. I really don’t get it why people love big vehicles. It’s just so cumbersome to drive! It’s not dynamically interesting due to the sheer weight and size, of course that also means you’d end up spending more time (and money) at the pumps too and if you tell me it’s comfortable; i’ll come back and tell you that it’s just utter bull***t.

Given a choice – I’d take a wagon any day in a heartbeat. Wagons look better, they’re more economical and seats 5 just like an SUV with the same boot space. But in the name of impartiality, my stand will have to take the back seat.

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These days, the name of the game with SUVs are – you have to create one that is just as dynamically pleasing as a car yet has still maintaining the ability as a go anywhere vehicle. It’s tough… considering once upon a time, these vehicles were designed to spend 80% of it’s time off road and 20% on road just to get it driven home and back to the garage. But today… these urban cruisers are the choice of the modern world.

Sometimes, I reckon the new world is a funny place. Manufacturers are pressured to develop SUVs because that is what the real-world market wants. It is difficult to stay ahead of the game when the competition is just so strong.

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The baby boomers generation only considers the selection from the likes of Land Rover, Jeep or the Merc G-wagen those days but the new generations are spoilt for choice on SUVs. I’d be lost if I were to consider one.

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Volvo came into the SUV territory in the early 2000s. It became a success story for the brand because they had no idea that their XC90 would sell like hot cakes. But the niche that it offered was it had an extra two seats at the back, making it a 7-seater with a decent sized boot space still available.

Looking at the competition, the introduction of the XC60 was in hope of another game-changer. It was more traditional in setup thus it quickly became THE choice for the modern soccer moms. But in Malaysia, the badge was a question in reckoning.

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Though you may think otherwise – Volvos are actually fabulous cars to own. The swedes have stepped up the ante on everything that they make, from the smallest to the largest but many has yet to know its excellence as its overshadowed by the German counterparts.

Volvos started coming back into my radar only as late as last year when I drove and tested the V50 T5 (insert link). I found it to be one of the Q-cars that no one really looks at and a great one at that. I don’t have much experience on Volvos, but back in the late 90s my family used to own an 850GL for a very short period – and all I remembered was how comfortable it was.

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The XC60 T6 is one of those cars that wants to make a point in the industry. As overrated as power can be, it is the ONE thing that people love. And that’s what the swedes threw in. Small displacement that packs a punch – the T6 2.0-litre turbocharged unit pushes a 300ps figure to the tarmac. With 440nm of torques, the weight becomes a mere issue for the powerhaus.

Fascinatingly – our market does not get the AWD T6 version (325bhp); instead we’re given the “slightly” more economical, front-wheel drive version. With 300 horses on taps, the car does suffer from the inevitable torque steer but it’s not the downfall to the XC60.

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How does 6.1 seconds to a hundred sound? That’s the sprint figures and it’ll keep accelerating to a top speed of 220km/h (as tested). It may not sound like much, but let’s remember that a car of this physique is aerodynamically challenged at high speeds.

So where’s the best seat in the house? Where the steering sits.

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The drive is well balanced between ‘sporty’ and comfort, though do not mistake this thing as a hot hatch. There’s no running away from the weight, so it’s best to keep the run on the sprint-sectors. The tall ride gives you a commanding driving position, and it will be favoured by most complexities but as I’ve established from the beginning, a tall car is not my cup of tea.

I’d be lying though if the XC60 T6 did not tickle my funny bone a couple of times. It’s quick. There’s no denying and because you’re flourished in comfort, and that supple ride; you tend to forget the speedo (and the fuel bar). Sometimes you get distracted talking to your buddy on the passenger seat and find yourself catching a speeding ticket.

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Lovely build quality all round; something that you expect of Volvos. The most intriguing part of the car for me is the speedo. Similar setup as the one on the V40 and it keeps me entertained all the time.

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The XC60 comes equipped with goodies like GPS Navigation, Volvo’s BLIS system that guides the driver on blind spots, memory seats and a sound system to appreciate. The lounge-like interior setup is perfect for the family of 4 or 5, thanks to a roomy, comfortable cabin which many will come to appreciate. This is why SUVs are booming.

As per Volvo’s car-making philosophy – it is undoubtedly one of the safest vehicles to be in. Known for it’s 5-Star Euro NCAP rating, it comes with 6 airbags that are strategically located to keep you and your loved ones safe. Volvo also takes pride with safety equipments such as the Road Sign Information System fitted on the car’s GPS module that informs of road signs and alerts the driver.

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So how do I end this? Let’s just say – I stand impressed by many things that the XC60 is capable of. The sheer power makes it a sweet daily driver and it being a Volvo, it’ll probably last you a while. Remember the tagline? “Volvo… for life”?

Its stellar design would be a pretty alluring choice for the family man looking for a change from a mundane sedan. Yes, indeed the boot is huge and will fit whatever you want it to. But what are these factors when a wagon can do the same? Too bad the Malaysian market don’t fancy wagons.

Words: Qhalis Najmi

Photos: HazNajims

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