A couple months ago I visited the family in Surrey, UK to spend time with my year old nephew. My brother has come into the young Dad lifestyle quite spectacularly, and even traded in his chunky monster bakkie (which was impractical in England anyway) for none other than the Volvo V70. You know life is getting real when your party animal baby brother gets the serious family car. But what a brilliant car! With prams, dipper bags and a young puppy to boot, this Volvo simply accommodated everything in its stride and it was easily adaptable giving my brothers’ young family all the space, performance and convenience they needed.
Having struggled to get my nephew in and out of smaller cars, driving the V70 was a marvel. It drove like a dream, as Volvo’s always do, and offered fantastic comfort.
But this is not a review of the now outdated V70, this experience just got me thinking…Could the Volvo range be one of the best mixes of style, comfort, technology and convenience? Whether you’re a young family, a sporty individual or just an urban warrior, could the Volvo range be the classy, sophisticated option for the everyday runabout?
Getting back to SA, I asked Volvo SA to give me the new Drive-E engine XC60 to put to its paces. They happily obliged and so the planning began. Short of taking the car on a long-haul road trip, I chucked in as many “everyday” activities as I possible could. I hosted a picnic in Emmerentia park, for around 20 people, I packed the XC60 with 4 of the guests and all of the picnic supplies including chairs, fold-away tables, blankets, all the food and drinks and still we were comfortable and spacious. Not being in possession of a baby of my own, I took the “active Johannesburger” route. I folded down the seats to load in a mountain bike, took the boys (5 of them) out for a party night in New Town (I was designated Dave), and threw in the dreaded monthly grocery shop. However no matter what I tried out, I found that the Volvo XC60 was the kind of vehicle that not only made the task easier, but actually made it pleasant, and all while being stylish and comfortable, not to mention the incredible safety features.
What was so convenient?
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a little in love with this car. When Volvo invited me to test out the Drive-E engine in their “60” range earlier this year, I spent a day driving the three vehicle (S60, V60 and XC60) around White River, but that was an isolated and separated circumstance, now I was testing it out in my usual day-to-day life.
Firstly the auto boot opening and closing function is a dream. I know a lot of high end cars have this, so the convenience is more in the option that the particular vehicle, but picture this… in typical guy fashion I believe I can make it from the elevator to the car with 8 shopping bags in each hand because “real men don’t make 2 trips”. Fingers near breaking under the pressure a simple click of the remote and the boot casually swings open as I approach. The XC60 is conveniently at waist height, so I simply relieve myself of the packages, push the button on the boot door and I’m done, while the boot closes and secures itself.
I’m not a cyclist, but decided to borrow a mountain bike from a friend just to see how it would fit. The designer leather seats in the back folded forward with ease, and in went the bike no problem, in fact I’m sure you could fit 2 in there with a little creative maneuvering.
The song “Volvo driving soccer mom” always used to stick in my head when it came to this brand. But where the generation past thought of Volvo as the safe option that they wanted to cart their kids around in, today the brand has built on to that characteristic to be not only one of the safest cars on the road, but also one that is extremely sporty, stylish and comfortable. I had the new T5 FWD Drive-E engine XC60. This vehicle boasted 180kw with 2.0 litre turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine. They also offer a 22kW version in the Drive-E range, and a T6 224kw and R-Design (sports) 242kW version in the normal engine range. For more information on the Drive-E engine see my previous post ( http://bit.ly/1jnoCfx )
The XC60 is one of those cars that cruises along and never actually transfers any of the road impact or driving conditions on to the driver. It’s a smooth, responsive, sporty and dynamic drive. It can accelerate from 0 to 100 in around 7,2 seconds, with a 8-speed Geartronic (automatic) transmission. Simply put, the XC60 is the kind of vehicle that exceeds expectations every day.
From the outside, the XC60 as a simple yet sleek design. It is a definite huge step up from the first XC6 and the original XC90 design ethos, with its broad lower body, clean lines and tapered upper body. Inside the cabin, it is true to what Volvo is known for – Custom designed, sophisticated and stylish interior which is complex in its simplicity. Fully digital dials, multi-function steering wheel, keyless entry and drive and electric, ergonomic leather seats offer the driver a unique experience.
So the only question remains, would I buy..? Point me in the direction of the closest dealership, this car is one which can fit any lifestyle …but perhaps not any pocket. Starting price of R512,700 for the entry level T5 and going up to R676,100 for the top of the range T6 Geartronic R-Design. This is very competitive in this genre of vehicle, so worth the consideration.
|Volvo XC6 T5 FWD Geartronic||BMW X3 xDrive 20i||Audi Q5 2.0T FSI SE Quattro|
|Price||R536 900||R553 000||R626 000|
|kW||180kW||135 kW||165 kW|
|Transmission||8-Speed Geartronic||8-Speed Auto||Triptronic|