Volvo’s stylish new SUV proves a safe bet

by Michael Moroney
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Volvo aims to build on its enviable safety reputation with the launch of the new XC60 mid-size SUV that brings together new levels of safety coupled with style.
Volvo claims this new XC60 is one of the safest cars ever made because of the level of safety technology that’s standard on many of the models.
The XC60 does the SUV thing with a level of style and comfort that makes this car less intrusive, more acceptable and now with its new platform, also more comfortable. While the Volvo headline story for the new XC60 is about safety, for me the car excels in terms of driving performance and comfort.
On the safety front, the new XC60 Volvo now adds Steer Assist to their ground-breaking City Safety system to every XC60 version. This car is also available with the new Oncoming Lane Mitigation which uses the Steer Assist to help prevent head-on collisions. And now Volvo’s Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS) uses Steer Assist in reducing the risk of lane-changing collisions.
Volvo’s City Safety system is fitted to every XC60. This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, and the world-first application of Steer Assist. This feature helps to avoid or limit the severity of collisions at low speeds by assisting with the steering in an emergency, such as when swerving to miss an obstacle.
For new XC60 buyers the attraction of the car revolves around the optional impressive safety package that’s not offered by the competition. The Volvo Pilot Assist is a good example, which is Volvo’s semi-autonomous drive feature.
Volvo Pilot Assist assists with the steering (up to 130km/hr) and takes care of the acceleration and braking required to keep the car within lane markings and at the desired cruising speed or distance from any vehicle in front. Pilot Assist is a step towards fully autonomous driving.
I drove the new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel version of the XC60 with an enhanced engine feel that shows little change in actual performance and economy features over the engine used in the previous model.
All new version XC60’s come with an eight speed automatic gearbox that allowed very smooth acceleration and gave the car a pace that was impressive. This car gives an impressive feeling of being well balanced in every respect, power, performance safety and comfort, a true all-round offer at the higher end of the market.
Over a 1,100km test route that brought me on a mix of longer country drives with some city collections, this new XC60 made driving a total pleasure. The standard all-wheel-drive system was rarely engaged as summer road conditions were good.
Volvo’s new Sensus infotainment system is also standard. This is operated through a 9” portrait-style touch screen that’s easy to get used to. The package includes satellite navigation with lifetime annual map updates and Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) and an intuitive voice-activation system. It also provides access to the internet and a range of cloud-based apps.
The Volvo XC60 is in the luxury end of the mid-size SUV market and it deserves to be. Entry prices start at €53,950 but you’ll soon drift up the specification trail with the range of optional safety features offered on this car. For me, the car is hugely balanced as an impressive and comfortable driving machine that sets new standards in safety. The others will follow.

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