2021 Volvo XC60 facelift petrol road test review
The Volvo XC60 in its earlier diesel form was one of the more compelling choices in the midsized luxury SUV segment, especially if you weren't swayed by the German competition. But we're now driving the XC60 to see if still makes a similar impression with a new petrol mild-hybrid engine and added technology. This update is part of a larger move by Volvo India to move to a petrol-only line-up before it goes predominantly electric by the middle of this decade. The S90 sedan and the larger XC90 have also received similar updates during this transition.
2021 Volvo XC60 petrol interior, features
While the general layout remains unchanged, the interiors of the revised XC60 seem even more lavish than they did already with the light brown upholstery and the darker wood veneers now being used. The rich textures and fit continue as they were. The new backlit glass shifter is another touch that significantly amps up the feeling of luxury here. The front seats are immensely supportive and adjustable and should be comfortable for most, especially with the massage function. And for the chauffeured set, the rear seat with the four-zone climate control and large sunroof is a bright and comforting place. The backrest angle is just right as is the slightly firm cushioning, but the bench could do with a touch more under-thigh support.
But the big talking point is the new Google-based infotainment that Volvo has been rolling out across its cars. You don't get Android Auto/Apple Carplay but the new system is an advancement over these. Its inbuilt Android OS mean that Maps and the Google Assistant can be used right from the 9-inch screen, along with other apps from the Play Store. The Maps display on the simple new 12.3-inch digital dials is another useful touch. As before, the Volvo XC60 continues to be one of the best-equipped cars in this segment with highlights being heated, cooled and massaging seats, Bowers and Wilkins audio with the expanded sound modes, wireless charging and the new PM 2.5 air cleaner.
2021 Volvo XC60 petrol styling
The Volvo's clean styling with simple lines and surfaces has aged well since it was first introduced in India in 2017. The SUV still looks contemporary although this update has brought with it a new bumper with more angular elements that freshen up the XC60 further. The larger Volvo logo and a spruced up rear bumper complete the changes. The XC60 is only marginally larger than some rivals, but its wide, flat stance afford it quite some presence on the road, even in a plain white shade such as here.
2021 Volvo XC60 petrol engine, specifications, driving impressions
The XC60 here is the new B5 variant that Volvo Cars India is also offering on the S90 sedan. The 2.0-litre motor makes the same 250PS and 350 Nm here and the experience is largely similar to the sedan from behind the wheel, except that it pairs with an all-wheel-drive system here. The 8-speed Aisin torque converter gearbox is also smooth and reactive as anywhere else but the sometimes hesitant downshifts we've experienced with this powertrain combination before seem a bit more discernible here, possibly with the added weight of this SUV.
As for the engine, it's got the same wide and linear powerband as we've experienced in the S90, which is pleasingly quiet in usual operation but then turns into a sporty growl as revs build. Notably, the quite sharp initial response from the throttle we noticed in the sedan is more subdued here, which makes smoother driving easier. And given the audience this SUV is aimed at, performance is adequate.
Having said that, the competent SPA architecture gives the XC60 a solid feeling on the road at lower speeds or on a steady cruise. The AWD system helps at a level but the Volvo's generally soft set-up means that body movements are much more apparent than before, especially on hilly roads or at higher highway speeds. The light steering and good sightlines are also very useful in shrinking the SUV around you in the city though and the steering is direct enough to not be discomforting at higher speeds. Braking performance is especially good with a confident feel from the pedal.
A big dynamic difference from the previous diesel XC60 is that the new petrol version doesn't get air suspension anymore. There are no drive modes either, apart from an off-road setting. We were big fans of the breadth of ability this feature provided to the SUV earlier but the XC60 still manages to hold on to its comforting demeanour on the move to an extent. Most small to medium potholes and rough patches all but vanish under the SUV, but the generally soft suspension doesn't do too well over high-speed undulations or the worst of the rough surfaces you might encounter. Jolts are passed into the cabin in such situations and there is a hollowness that comes through from the suspension here.
2021 Volvo XC60 petrol safety
The refreshed XC60 also gets Volvo's updated suite of driver assistance systems. While a wider range of blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts and braking are the major new additions here, the entire system with its automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assists have been updated to function more naturally and be less intrusive in regular use. There are front, side and curtain airbags and a clear 360-degree camera on offer too.
2021 Volvo XC60 petrol verdict, price
The Volvo XC60 may have lost the wider dynamic edge the air suspension provided but the SUV remains one of the better value propositions in its segment. It undercuts its rivals in price but still offers one of the widest feature and tech packages in the segment. The safety systems only solidify this advantage.
2021 Volvo XC60 petrol real-world mileage, performance
City - 9.95 kmpl
Highway - 13.07 kmpl
Overall - 10.73 kmpl
0 to 100 kmph - 8.9s
30 to 50 kmph - 1.8s
50 to 70 kmph - 1.9s
60 to 80 kmph - 2.1s
100 to 0 kmph - 38.2m, 2.9s
Images by Sumit Gaikwad
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