Cars & Gadgets
Look: Volvo's Best-Selling Model Made Even Better
The second-generation Volvo XC60 is here, with more safety, luxury, and tech upgrades than you can imagine.

Launched in 2008—in automotive terms, almost a lifetime ago—the Volvo XC60 remains the Swedish carmaker’s best-selling model. In 2016, it even sold more XC60s globally than in the previous year, demonstrating the continued appeal of this luxury midsize SUV. After the car’s big brother, the XC90, retired its first generation and launched an all-new version in 2015, it was just a matter of time before it, too, had a reboot. That time is now.

Like the larger XC90, the XC60 is built using Volvo’s new modular vehicle platform, which it calls “Scalable Product Architecture.” Besides simplifying the manufacturing process for all its models, Volvo claims the new platform allows significant vehicle weight reduction while improving safety. Despite the brand-new frame, fans of the first generation will find much to love in the current model. Taking an “if it ain’t broke” approach to the car’s outer design, the Swedish carmaker made sure there was a continuous visual link between generations. Though subtle, there are a few changes; perhaps the easiest to notice is the placement of the sculpted side panels, which are also considerably larger, giving the XC60 a more contemporary look.

The interiors have the feel and look of timeless Scandinavian furniture.

Taking another design cue from its larger stablemate, the XC60 incorporates a bit of Norse mythology into its daytime running lights. Here, a thin line of LED lights expands near the edges into a distinctive T-shape. Stare at it for a bit, and you’ll understand why it’s been dubbed “Thor’s Hammer.” At the back, things are slightly different too, as below the main brake lights, a line of red illuminates across the tailgate when you brake.

It’s inside the car that more substantial changes have taken shape. If there was anything to nitpick with the old-generation XC60, it’s that the dashboard seemed rather drab compared to the rest of the car. It’s now been redesigned, supposedly inspired by Scandinavian furniture design, a wise choice if you ask us. There’s a generous allowance of leather and metal trim, and everything looks and feels right to the touch.

The top-of-the-line Bowers & Wilkins audio system.

The infotainment system was among the best at the time of the original launch, but in today’s world, the screen is no longer adequate. Thankfully, Volvo scrapped all that and put in upgrades straight from the XC90. At the center of the dash, a nine-inch vertically oriented highresolution touchscreen puts you in full command of the car information or entertainment options. Surely the added ease makes you appreciate the 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system even more? Consider this: right from the get-go, the XC60 was designed to integrate this top-of-the-line system from the prestigious audio firm. “It means that the speakers can realize their full potential and create clearer, more realistic sound,” says Henrik Svensson, director of Audio & Displays at Volvo. “What you hear is closer to what the artist intended you to hear.”


The Volvo XC60 conquers the streets.

With that being said, what you don’t hear is equally impressive. For the Philippine market, the XC60 will be available with the surprisingly quiet 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. Performing equally well on open roads and crowded city streets, the engine puts out 190 horsepower with 400Nm of torque. In case you were wondering, the XC in the car’s name stands for Cross Country, and that’s underlined by the five driving modes at your disposal: Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Offroad, and Individual. Comfort is the default setting, and you probably won’t be changing this much. Pair this with the optional 10-way adjustable seats with massage function and you’ve got a winning combination.

For years, Volvo has been synonymous with car safety and that’s not going to change anytime soon. The XC60 has its share of the latest advancements in technology, including the Oncoming Lane Mitigation system, which uses Volvo’s Steer Assist technology to help prevent head-on collisions. Steer Assist is also used in another feature, the Blind Spot Indication System, which helps reduce the risk of collisions when changing lanes. With the Standard City Safety braking system enabled, the SUV can detect if a collision is about to happen and will apply the brakes automatically. Similarly, Pilot Assist is billed as a semiautonomous driver assistance system, capable of steering, braking, and acceleration (up to speeds of 130 kph), though Volvo states that the roads have to be well marked for it to work as intended. If you’re interested in self-driving cars but not ready to give up full control just yet, this could be the next best thing. Distributed by Scandinavian Motors Corporation;

This story was originally published in the December 2017-January 2018 issue of Town&Country.

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Pierre A. Calasanz
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