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Test Drive: Volvo XC60 T5 – The vibrant Viking

POSTED BY admin ON 24 September 2014

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No one ever associates words such as fun, dynamic, fast and cool with a Volvo. Perhaps it’s because they are not synonymous with the safety aspect of a vehicle.

Years of advanced expertise in this area have made Volvo one of the safest brands on the road, and by 2020, the now Chinese owned Swedish based company has confidently stated that no driver or passenger will ever be seriously injured in their cars.

These facts are true about their cars and we believe that their cars will get safer, but the part where Volvo vehicles are not associated with adrenaline pumping, emotion tingling words are not even close to accurate.

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On the contrary, when we took out the XC60 T5 for a drive down to Cherating near Kuantan, it felt at home either on the fast paced motorway, or twisty bending coastal roads.

Globally and in Malaysia, the XC60 is Volvo’s best selling vehicle to date, and the updated SUV has been re-tweaked to enforce this.

The facelifted SUV now spots Volvo’s new Drive-E engine, new front bumper with a set of vertical LED daytime-running lights that complement the new wider front grille which visually promotes confidence and sturdiness.

The lower half black body cladding has also been replaced with a one-tone body colour scheme which emphasises the silver skid plates that are positioned at the lower front and back of the SUV.

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Without a doubt, the XC60 is one powerful vehicle. The 2-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E engine is somewhat of a beast as it can produce up to 245hp and 350Nm of torque, which is 5hp and 30Nm more than the previous T5 engine.

Some have said that the XC60’s eagerness of power is no longer there with the addition of the Drive-E engine, but we begged to differ, as when we came across a certain high-powered German hatchback, the Swedish SUV gave it a run for its money.

Perhaps the punchless feeling of the SUV is down to its new eight-speed Aisin gearbox as it was designed to conserve more fuel and Co2 emission rather than provide a sporty feel.

But this does not mean that the car is not full of fun. The great thing about Volvos is, even fun comes with a safety element.

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The XC60 T5 comes with corner traction control as standard, which counters any understeer by assisting in braking. As we found out, this was particularly useful especially when we over estimated a corner. When entering a corner, the vehicle corrected itself by braking the inside wheel, and later sent more power and torque to the outside wheel to counter balance.

This ensured confidence on the handling of the car, which around single lane coastal roads came in pretty handy. Not only was it very agile and manoeuvrable, it was also great at absorbing road imperfections on the old tarmacs.

The interior is largely unchanged, but then again, why fix something that is not broken. The famous fountain centre console has been left untouched, but the addition of silk brush metal trimmings have been added.

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The whole feel of the cabin oozes simple luxury, and rear passengers complimented that every time they sat on the rear seats, they felt like sleeping. With soft leather all around, including the steering wheel, it’s not difficult to see why this is so.

The boot size is also more than generous, and can easily fit cargo for a whole family with three kids. If children are not the priority, the rear seats can be folded flat to create more space for more cargo.

The infotainment system is easy to operate, which made the satellite navigation easy to understand. This is also a particular highlight of the car, as most satellite navigations systems are as complex as a physics textbook. It always pointed out the next rest station accurately as well as destination end-point.

After being with the T5 XC60 for some time, it’s not hard to understand why the SUV is Volvo’s best selling car to date.

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It’s fast, comfortable, economical, safe and handles great. With the assurance of a five-year warranty, service and roadside assistant, the XC60 is a good proposition.

Volvos are no longer brick shaped either and the smooth curvaceous sexy lines are all to be desired for. It is now fun, hip and somewhat of a trendsetter.

If the Volvo T5 XC60 is this great, we could only imagine what the T6 XC60 would be like when it comes out next year.
Specifications of the Volvo XC60 T5 (Viking package)
Engine: 1,969cc 4-cylinder direct injection turbo petrol engine
Max power: 245hp @ 5,500rpm
Max torque: 350Nm @ 1,500-4,800rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission
Fuel consumption (mixed): 6.7 litres/100km
Safety features: EBA, emergency brake light, city safety, dynamic stability and traction control, roll stability control, blind spot & traffic alert, whiplash protection system, side impact protection systems, inflatable curtains, dual-stage airbags
Viking package: Iron stone front bumper and skid plate, Candor 20-inch rims, primed colour running board and aluminium side step, adaptive digital display,  4 front and rear body mouldings
Price: RM288,888 OTR/insurance; (Viking package: RM25,155)
ALSO IN CLASS:
BMW X3 (CKD)- RM329,000
Audi Q5 – RM325,000

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