1 Feb 2009
VOLVO entered the burgeoning premium compact SUV segment in February 2009 with its XC60 wagon.
A trio of turbo-charged XC60s arrived initially, while a fourth model – with a naturally aspirated 3.2-litre petrol engine – came later.
All boast Volvo’s world-first low-speed crash avoidance technology called ‘city safety’.
Standard on every XC60 sold worldwide, city safety has already prompted one insurance agency to offer 20 per cent lower premiums.
Devised to decimate the popular BMW X3, the XC60 is the first production Volvo from design director Steve Mattin after a decade of models under the stewardship of Peter Horbury.
Seeking a sleek wedge shape with coupe-like forms (for a drag co-efficiency of Cd 0.35), the XC60 evolves the Horbury-era look with a raised waistline, offset window area, V-shaped frontal aspect, broad shoulder line encapsulating high-set micro-optic LED tail-lights, and low roof/wide track/high ground clearance/big wheeled stance.
Volvo’s signature “floating” centre console reappears, as does the asymmetrical look of the dashboard, but it is angled towards the driver to reflect the marque’s new-found dynamic and performance orientation.
To that end, buyers will be able to choose between the company’s long-serving 2.4-litre twin-cam 20-valve five-cylinder turbo-diesel with particulate filter (D5) or the 3.0-litre twin cam 24-valve in-line six-cylinder twin-scroll turbo-charged petrol engine with continually variable valve timing on the inlet side (T6), also found in the V70 wagon and S80 sedan.
As seen in other Volvos such as the XC90 full-sized SUV, the D5 produces 136kW of power at 4000rpm and 400Nm of torque from between 2000rpm and 2750rpm.
The D5’s accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 9.9 seconds, hits a top speed of 200km/h, has a combined fuel consumption average of 8.3 litres per 100km and combined carbon dioxide emissions rating of 219gm/km respectively.
By contrast, the T6 – with its 210kW at 5600rpm and 400Nm between 1500 and 4800rpm outputs – achieves a 7.5 second sprint-time, 210km/h V-max (which is electronically governed), 11.3L/100km fuel-use average and 284g/km of CO2 emissions.
Meanwhile, the upcoming XC60 3.2 “base engine” should produce about 175kW at 6200rpm and 320Nm at 3200rpm.
With no manual transmission on offer, each powerplant is tied to an Aisin six-speed automatic gearbox featuring Volvo’s Geartronic sequential shift facility. It sends up to 95 per cent of torque to the front wheels in normal driving conditions, and up to 50 per cent to the rear wheels if extra grip is needed. This amount varies through corners for optimum stability and turning agility.
All this is done via a fourth-generation Haldex four-wheel-drive transmission, which works in concert with the electronic stability control, traction control, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA) that Volvo collectively calls its dynamic stability and traction control (DSTC) system.
DSTC also includes anti-roll sensors to aid stability during evasive manoeuvres, as well as a trailer stability assist which dampens potential oscillations by braking of one or more wheels and by restricting engine torque.
Volvo has borrowed Land Rover’ hill descent control (HDC). Available as an option on the D5 and standard on T6 vehicles, HDC uses the engine’s torque and the ABS to maintain a steady crawling speed in steep descents.
Underpinning the vehicle is a development of Ford’s EUCD (European C/D class) transverse-engine midsize architecture that Volvo calls the P24 platform.
Derived off the C1 platform (Ford Focus/Mazda3/Volvo C30/S40/V50/C70), it is also utilised in the V70, XC70 crossover and S80, Ford’s closely related Mondeo range as well as its European Galaxy/S-Max people movers, and beneath the Land Rover Freelander II.
Front suspension is by coil over struts incorporating anti-dive and anti-lift geometry, while the rear uses a multi-link independent set-up.
Volvo calls the XC60 its safest vehicle ever.