|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
All that is set to change as Volvo tirelessly worked tweaking the XC60, undeniably one of its most important products in the brand’s ever-increasing portfolio. Even in the face of stiff competition, the XC60 remains formidable in the entry-level premium crossover segment. Through a series of nip-tucks and a new drivetrain, it seems to have found the fountain of youth, considering it was launched way back in 2010.
Styling on the XC60 remains typically crisp in the recent Volvo tradition, with just the right amount of edgy character lines to break up the monotonous two-box crossover shape. For 2015, the entire frontend has been reworked with shapelier headlamps featuring more complex projectors, a more upright grille, and daytime running lights nestled in the chiseled front bumper. The sides and the rear are less changed, but at least the revised tail lamp pattern and dual exhaust cutouts at the back lend it a sportier flair.
Inside, occupants are greeted with a beautiful cabin appointed in soft leather, with a simple and well-laid-out dash ahead. The company’s trademark waterfall-style center console is present and accounted for including the handy storage space located behind. The biggest change sees the instrument cluster being swapped from the previous watch-inspired gauges to something decisively more high-tech. Like the V40, the XC60 now has a full LCD gauge cluster which is re-configurable in three ways to suit your preference. It goes from something elegant to something much more eco-minded to something sporty all by flicking through a stalk. It adjusts all relevant information for better legibility and thankfully, in any setting, it’s easy to understand and navigate.
All the surfaces and textures in the X60 are attractive and impart a high-end feel that’s uniquely Scandinavian. The climate control is particularly great, allowing you to quickly direct cool air to whatever part of the body you’d like in an intuitive and attractive way. The steering wheel, too, deserves praise for its thick meaty rim and brushed aluminum trim. The infotainment system, dubbed Sensus, allows for full multimedia control though it doesn’t offer a voice-activated interface. Inputs must still be made via the center console number pad (if you’re calling via Bluetooth). In addition, the smaller buttons in the center console prevents full tactile operation, but at least the four dials that surround them are large and house the most important functions.
Despite having a push-button engine starter, the XC60 still requires you to slot the giant rectangular key into a dash slot to start it up. And opening the doors require you to actually press the ‘unlock’ button on the key; no proximity system at work here. This makes operating the XC60 a bit awkward, especially if you’re used to luxury cars sporting smart keys. The overall process remains frustrating even after a week of usage, but eventual owners will undoubtedly get used to it.
For 2015, Volvo has revised the XC60’s drivetrain. The T5 name carries on, but it no longer stands for a high-pressure turbo inline-5. Instead, it’s been swapped for a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. Part of Volvo’s Drive-E initiative, it’s meant to improve fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. With 245 horsepower and 350 Nm on tap, it certainly is strong on paper and should do well to boost the XC60’s performance credentials. In reality though, this set-up rarely makes the XC60 feel lithe. Things only get lively when the car reaches the upper part of the tachometer. When conscious effort is made to jab the throttle, it surges with a strong pull from the midrange to redline. Below that, power delivery feels largely unexciting with the motor clearly taxed with the 1,833-kilogram curb weight. The heavy body also taxes fuel efficiency, dropping it to 6.83 km/L in the city despite being equipped with an 8-speed automatic. Once things get going though, it can achieve figures close to manufacturer’s estimates. Volvo says highway mileage is 18.18 km/L. In this case, it manages 17.54 km/L. As a motor, this Drive-E engine is hushed in tone and refined, but it does sound rather coarse at full song.
Previously, T5 models come with all-wheel drive, for 2015 this isn’t so. With all the power being directed to the front wheels, wheel spin is inevitable. Pointing the steering wheel in any direction (but straight), a jab on the throttle results in instantaneous torque steer. What’s even more surprising is how easy it is to break traction. Once the front wheels come over something like a road expansion joint, the steering wheel wobbles and the rear will feel like breaking loose. There are electronic driving aids that set everything back in order, but they take a while to kick in; it’ll be a scary few milliseconds before they do. Brake performance is solid, safe, and secure. The XC60 also comes with City Safety which automatically applies full-on braking when an impending collision is detected. The system works, but at weird instances and not at all times. This can be quite discontenting for driver and passengers alike.
Standard issue tires are all-terrain 235/65R17s, quite small by today’s premium car standards, but they still look right in this occasion. The tall sidewalls don’t dissuade the XC60 to perform well with controlled body roll and a steering that feels direct and tight—a noteworthy trait is that steering effort can be adjusted via the on-board vehicle menu, though leaving things in ‘normal’ suffices. On the flipside, the ride feels uneven. It can feel a bit harsh, especially on broken pavement; but can feel plush and refined on other surfaces as well. Although XC60 owners probably won’t take their cars to the great outdoors, it does have some good ground clearance to handle light off-roading, again, if only it were equipped with all-wheel drive.
Volvo Philippines has adjusted the price of the XC60 in order for them to square up against the other premium crossover offerings and at P 3,545,000, it now manages to stand toe-to-toe on just about every level, while offering a different blend of style and performance than any of the others. Of course, something’s got to give; in this case, with the new price, things like the powered front passenger seat and, thankfully, the powered tailgate, have bitten the dust. Nonetheless, it’s still reasonably loaded with all the luxury niceties you’ll ever need. In the end, the 2015 Volvo XC60 T5’s blend of Swedish style and newfound performance make it a formidable choice.
2015 Volvo XC60 T5
|Ownership||2015 Volvo XC60 T5|
|Year Introduced||2008 (Refreshed: 2014)|
|Vehicle Classification||Premium Compact Crossover|
|Body Type||5-door Crossover|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Aspiration||Turbocharged, Direct Injection|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||Inline-4|
|BHP @ rpm||245 @ 5,500|
|Nm @ rpm||350 @ 1,50-4,800|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 95~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,833|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Independent, Multi-Link|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Rear Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Michelin Latitude Sport 235/65R17V (f & r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front and Rear|
|Auto Lights||Yes w/ Swivel|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Seating Adjustment||Electric (driver)|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 20/40/20|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, with Fold|
|Climate Control||Yes, Dual|
|No. of Speakers||8|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|