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Test Drive Review : Volvo XC60 T6

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Front three quarter view

When mentioning the name Volvo, what automatically comes to mind about this Swedish marque is safety, and normally performance isn’t always mentioned (unless the name Polestar or something with a capital R in it comes up). So when Chris passed me the keys of the new Volvo XC60 T6, I wasn’t expecting any serious performance at all, and I could not be more wrong.

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Front view of the Volvo XC60 T6

Starting from the exterior styling, the Volvo XC60 is very understated, without drawing much attention to itself. On the front end, you’ll get the signature Volvo grille, with a pair of daytime running lights running along the sides of the bumper. On the road, the Volvo XC60 T6 does have a good amount of presense. Moving onto the rear end, the XC60 has a pair of LED tail-lights that curves along the rear of the car, giving it a rather natural curve. The only hint of performance is the T6 badge, but more on that later.

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Rear three quarter view

The Pan Alloy wheels measure in at 18 inches, and are wrapped with 235/60R18 Pirelli P-ZERO ROSSO tires. While not entirely high performance tires per se, they do the job just fine. If the design of the stock wheels are too fancy for you, Volvo does have a selection of rims you can choose from. You can also choose to kit up the exterior with an optional exterior styling kit.

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We took the Volvo XC60 T6 to Kellie’s Castle

Moving onto the interior, you’ll be greeted with the trademark Volvo interior, with an 8-inch LCD display called Adaptive Digital Display in front of the driver that replaces the traditional analogue meters. The Adaptive Digital Display has three different themes, namely Performance, Elegance and Eco. Like a sports car, the meter glows red in Performance theme, with a power meter on the right which shows how much power the engine makes and how much you’re actually using. The Elegance and Eco themes are more laid back, and suits the target market just right.

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Performance theme
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Elegance theme
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Eco theme

One thing we do want to mention, is that navigating through the Navi system is quite a handful, as the seven-inch LCD display above the aircon does not offer touch inputs. Keying in the address for points-of-interest via the navigation knob can get clunky and slow, although you can alternatively use the keypad. Other than that, the radio, Bluetooth and USB functions work just as intended. Audio quality is also top notch from the stock sound system.

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Navigating through the GPS can get clunky
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Busy centre console

One interesting addition (for me at least) has to be the bolster cushion for the little ones. The steering wheel is leather wrapped, and so are the seats. Soft touch materials can be found in abundance in the Volvo, which gives it a nice premium feel.

Bolster cushions for the kids
Bolster cushions for the kids

Powering the Volvo XC60 T6 is Volvo’s B4204T9 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine, good for 306 hp @ 5,700 rpm and 400 Nm of twisting power from 2,100 rpm to 4,500 rpm, thanks to its twin-charging technology. As mentioned earlier, the XC60 T6 has a Performance theme in the Adaptive Digital Display, which means this SUV is capable of out-dragging many other cars off the green-light, with the century sprint being completed in just 6.9 seconds, before reaching an electronically-limited top speed of 210 km/h. The Aisin-sourced “Geartronic” 8-speed automatic gearbox offers smooth shifting and free of unnecessary gear hunting. For a more involving drive, there is also the paddle shift option and shifts are quick and easy, albeit feeling a bit too artificial.

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Volvo’s 2-litre twincharged engine, good for 306 hp and 400 Nm of torque

As for the drive, we took the Volvo XC60 T6 to Taiping, via the North South Highway, where we noticed that triple digit speeds can be achieved with minimal hassle. Upon flooring the throttle, the Volvo downshifts a cog or two, and the engine growls nicely. Overtaking is not a chore for the Volvo XC60 T6. But when driven sedately, expect the Volvo to deliver decent, if not excellent fuel economy. Volvo quotes a combined cycle of 7.3L/100km, which the 70 L tank can travel a theoretical range of 960 km.

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Quite possibly the best angle of the Volvo XC60 T6
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Putting the Volvo XC60 through its paces
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A little water splash.

While highway cruising can be very comfortable, the same could not be said about B-roads driving, however. Road imperfections were transmitted into the cabin, resulting in a rather bumpy ride. On the flip side, the car handles B-roads rather well, with little indication that you’re driving a 1.8-tonne crossover. Do remember with 400 Nm of torque pushing through the front wheels, torque steer can and will happen, but Volvo has an intelligent Corner Traction Control with  Torque Vectoring to ease some of the torque steer. The steering on the Volvo XC60 T6 is speed dependent, and the higher the speed, the heavier the steering will be. Road feedback is almost non-existent, however.

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The interior of the Volvo XC60 T6

In terms of ease-of-use, the Volvo XC60 T6 does offer decent kit, like a powered rear tail-gate, booster cushion for the little ones behind, multiple 12-V power sockets and illuminated vanity mirrors for both the passenger and driver. Being a Volvo, the XC60 T6 comes with a full suite of safety equipment, with equally interesting acronyms, like Driver Alert Control (DAC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Active Bending Lights (ABL), Road Sign Information (RSI) and Intelligent Drive Information System (IDIS). Airbag count is at six, with dual stage front airbags, dual front chamber SIPS airbags and side inflatable curtains.

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Volvo’s Intelligent Driver Information System

All in all, the Volvo XC60 T6 is a really promising package. It ticks all the safety and performance options, yet at the same time, without drawing too much attention. If you’re the type that regularly travels on the highways, there’s little to fault the Volvo XC60 T6, and it is also one of the safest premium compact crossover on our market.

CW says…

If the numbers on the spec-sheet don’t impress you, taken as a whole, the rest of the car surely will. But in addition to opulence, Volvo has always also been synonymous with understated-power, and have produced some truly incredible ‘sleepers’ in the past; the 850 T5 Estate for example and the later T5 R, which even by todays standards is one mighty quick car, and do remember it first appeared in the mid-90’s! The new XC60 T6 is no different, it’s a sleeper and then some, possessed of incredible acceleration and all from what’s basically a 2.0-litre 4-cyl engine. Twin-charging really is a remarkable tech. – Chris Wee.

In Detail: Volvo XC60 T6

Price: RM315,888 (OTR w/o insurance) *introductory price*
Engine: 2.0-L inline-4 transverse
Horsepower: 306 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque: 400 Nm @ 2,000 rpm – 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 8 speed Geartronic automatic
Top Speed: Electronically limited 210 km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.9 seconds

Enjoy our photo gallery below.