New Delhi | Anirban Mitra: It's difficult to assess the trajectory Volvo Cars India drive on. So is the case with owners who rely on the Swede brand. The numbers are not as compelling as German rivals, but the latest iteration of XC60, XC90 and flagship S90 will grab eyeballs, rekindle the sophistication every time you find yourself behind the neatly-crafted steering wheel.

Most popular of them all - the XC60 is here to solidify Volvo's ground against the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and the recently-launched Audi Q5. Unique as mentioned before, the key development in XC60 is under the polished skin. 

Out goes the 2-litre diesel and in comes a similar displacement turbocharged petrol with a 48V mild-hybrid motor. A wholesome 250 horsepowers and 350 Nm are sent to an all-wheel-drive system through 8-speed automatic transmission.

The response from the engine is moderate, and purrs much like the way the interior is laid: Refined. The transmission complements the unhurried driving dynamics. And your driving habits are bound to improve, thanks to a segment-exclusive suite of semi-autonomous features.

The steering is nicely-judged and responds to quick directional changes swiftly. The ride quality is largely plush in bumper-to-bumper traffic but the dampers partly lose composure over bad roads at a moderately decent speed.

The self-replenishing mild-hybrid motor is said to offer the extra oomph to the petrol motor in case of start-go traffic or leisurely coasting. Mileage figure of 12 kmpl could be clocked for all practical purposes.

The XC60 serves as a balanced family SUV, accommodating five grown-ups and sizeable boot space. Speaking of bells and whistles, the electric front seats come with massage functionality while a panoramic sunroof stretches wide to offer good visibility inside. Strolling it out of closed confines is relatively easy due to the 360-degree camera and auto braking and collision avoidance. The quality of the camera is below par for the segment.

The biggest change inside the cabin, however, is in the user interface of the portrait-oriented touchscreen. Volvo Cars has partnered with Google, resulting in direct integration of search engine service platforms in the form of navigation and YouTube.

As far as the design is concerned, it's safe to say XC60 has traversed a light year. Gone were the boxy, monolith design cues with the second generation introduced in 2018. The mid-life facelift has further polished the design. The classic L-shaped rear LEDs flanking the latest VOLVO lettering on the bulging back is an uncanny styling take you would ever find in any other car, save the Swedes.

Volvo XC60 may not be the first choice for most but it continues to provide the right balance of luxury, refinement and safety. At Rs 61.90 lakh (ex-showroom), the Volvo XC60 is available in single, fully-loaded trim.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma