Last week we were whisked away to Hastings, to the amazing facility at Craggy Range Winery for the New Zealand launch of Volvo’s new mid-size SUV, the XC60. As we arrived, they were laid out for us to see, with a beautiful clear Hastings sky beaming down on them. The day seemed to be pretty packed, and things kicked off right away with an in-depth presentation on the new XC60, Volvo’s innovations and safety systems. There was so much to take in, most of which will either be in the main review we do once we get the XC60 or in some additional articles, highlighting some of the innovations many are unaware are inside their Volvos. At the end of the presentation, we got a tour around the vehicles.

There are 3 models, the Momentum, the Inscription and the R-Design. And within these variants, there are multiple engine specs. The Momentum, T5 AWD has a 2.0L i4 Petrol Turbocharged engine, with 187kW and 350 Nm and starts at $84,900.  And the D4 AWD has a 2.0 l4 Common-Rail Twin-Turbo Diesel, that produces 140kWand 400 Nm and start at $86,900. The inscription comes in petrol and diesel. The D4 AWD has a 2.0 l4 Common-Rail Twin-Turbo Diesel, that produces 140kWand 400 Nm and start at $91,900. And the T5 AWD has the same petrol engine as the Momentum. 2.0 l4 Petrol Turbocharged with 187k and 350 Nm and starts at $89,900.

The R-Design comes with 3 engine formats, T6 petrol, D5 diesel, and T8 Hybrid. The D5 AWD is a 2.0 l4 Common-Rail Twin-Turbo Diesel with Power Pulse. This engine produces 177kW and 500 Nm and starts at $94,900. The T6 AWD has a 2.0 l4 Petrol Supercharged/Turbocharged and delivers 246kW and 440 Nm and starts at $97,900. And finally, we have the T8 AWD which has the Plug-In Hybrid with 2.0 l4 Petrol Supercharged/Turbocharged and Electric Motor. This combination gives you 331kW, 680 Nm and starts at $117,900.

The XC60 models come with a wide range of specs, Adaptive Cruise Control with Pilot Assist, Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist and Cross Traffic Alert, City Safety, Distance Alert, Head-Up Display, ISOFIX Child Seat Mounting Points, Lane Keeping Aid, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Park Assist Pilot, Rear Collision Warning and Mitigation, Road Sign Information, Run Off Mitigation and Protection, Side Impact Protection System, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Whiplash Injury Protection System and Panoramic Sunroof.

We drove all of the XC60 models back to back across the day. Overall the XC60 is an easy car to drive and just as easy to love. The seats across the entire range are great, with my favourites being the R-Design race-inspired seats. The main thing you feel in the XC60 is at ease, the comfort and the entire interior is well designed and a pleasure to travel in. And the ride is great too, smooth but firm. Good feel from the road, while not being annoying. The T5 AWD Momentum and Inscription drove very well. And the D4 Inscription was on par, but you would never guess it was a diesel, It was so quiet and smooth. Both models and engine variants performed as one would expect, with good power for overtaking and ease of use around town.

Then we came to the R-Design, which is where it got interesting. I started out in the T6 AWD, and right from the get-go, I felt like there was a decent bit of turbo lag. I spoke to the Volvo team about it, and they said that this should decrease as the Polestar Optimisation on the R-Design range can take 50-500km to bed in. I then tried the D5 AWD, and much to my surprise I really like this one, over the T6. There was much less lag, but there also seem to be a smoother power delivery across the entire band, which could be due to the 60 extra Nm it has over the T6. Last but not least we have the T8, the twin-engine hybrid. A Plug-In Hybrid with 2.0 l4 Petrol Supercharged/Turbocharged and Electric Motor, and a zero to 100 time of 5.2 seconds. Naturally, this was the first thing to test. And this combination really pulled the XC60 from a standstill. It was almost hard to tell which powertrain was being used, either the petrol engine, plug-in hybrid or both. Very seamless power delivery across the board. The main question with the T8 is around the cost, is it worth its extra $20k, over the petrol and diesel R-Design models? This we plan to put to the test when we get it on a full review.

Overall the XC60 was a well designed and complete package. And it was not hard to see that Volvo won’t struggle to sell them. The only issues they face might be getting people in the door to test them. After that, I think even the most average Joe, will see that the quality and value are there and that you can’t get what Volvo offer for the same price anywhere else.

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John Galvin (JSG)
It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.


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