- An honest diesel – possibly the last of its kind
- In the Volvo, compressed air turns into steam
- Comfort comes before cornering speed
- The steering is a little unreal
An honest diesel – possibly the last of its kind
Anchor at Volvo in front of mountains. Our tester liked the comfortable set-up of Volvo‘s smaller SUV
For the future, Volvo is relying on hybrids, and our author raves about the cultivated diesel engine in the test car. He is also pleased that the Swedes are swimming against the current when it comes to the landing gear.
I.In Sweden one looks anxiously to Belgium. More precisely: to Brussels, to the offices of the allegedly cycling officials who are responsible for concocting the CO2 limit values. 95 grams per kilometer, that will apply from 2020/21, but regulators are already dissatisfied with that.
“We don’t yet know which limit will be applied later,” says Lutz Stiegler, at Volvo responsible for the drive train. "But whether it is 70 or 60 grams, both can hardly be achieved with conventional combustion engines."
So Stiegler’s boss Håkan Samuelsson announced that Volvo would not be a new generation of diesel engines develop more. electrification, Plug-in hybrid, Volvo customers have to be prepared for this. I can imagine that Stiegler and the other Volvo managers wanted to discuss other topics when the new XC60 was presented, such as the high design quality of the cockpit, but now the PR exercise is first of all: rowing back.
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The current diesel generation is only three years old and will certainly be maintained and updated for another ten years, I hear everywhere. The future family of three-cylinder engines that will be developed for the new Volvo compact models will also have diesel variants.
In the Volvo, compressed air turns into steam
But that is not the point. If the CEO decides not to have any new diesel engines developed in the future, then the day will come when he can no longer reverse this decision – because the competition will then have an unassailable lead.
So I climb into a diesel model with even more conviction than usual (like 96 percent of all German XC60 customers, by the way) and immediately wonder why everyone is working to put an end to such an excellent type of drive.
Infortainment. Many functions in the Volvo are controlled via touchscreen
Does this machine really only have four cylinders? Only two liters of displacement? It’s unbelievable how smoothly and seriously this 235 hp engine runs and how much thrust it gives the XC60, which is not exactly light at 1990 kilograms.
Stiegler and his team’s trick is a two-liter container that stores compressed air. It gets the turbocharger going when the exhaust gas, which is normally responsible for it, does not flow quickly enough at very low engine speeds. This idea not only works extremely well, it also shows that electric drives alone do not have the advantage of pulling off powerfully right from the start.
Comfort comes before cornering speed
However, the diesel will not compete with the future plug-in hybrid of the XC60. In the strategy of the Swedes, the cars with the partially electric drives replace the earlier top models with six and eight-cylinder engines. Therefore, the XC60 T8 Twin Engine offers 407 hp system power and 640 Newton meters of torque. However, if you use it in such a way that you notice it, it will not consume 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers.
No engine masters lying in-the-pocket as well as a plug-in hybrid, so I praise an honest diesel. In the XC60 D5 there are 480 Newton meters, which are partly responsible for the favorable standard consumption of 5.5 liters per 100 kilometers. If I add the usual 25 percent, I get almost seven liters in everyday life – that would be satisfactory for such a comfortable SUV with all-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic.
The Bowers&Wilkins sound system needs to be paid extra. But it also audibly enhances the car
Off-road reduction isn’t on sale, but if I wanted that I’d get a Land Rover Buy Discovery. But what I find more interesting than a possible off-road rating is how the Volvo XC60 differs from its competitors on the road. I don’t think I’ve ever driven such a smoothly tuned SUV – maybe the Range Rover, but it’s a whole league higher.
The steering is a little unreal
In serpentines you have to take it really slowly with the XC60, otherwise it will rock too much. The steering makes a rather unreal impression, also because of all the electronic intervention options – the XC60 can fall into the driver’s arm if the driver threatens to drift off the road or drift off in the direction of oncoming traffic. But in measured city traffic and especially on the long straights, the comfort of the XC60 is hard to beat.
At Volvo they accept that test drivers will come back and not rave about the sportiness of the car. I spoke to an engineer who impressed me with his test drive in an Audi SQ5 told. But there was also an undertone that said something like: These crazy Germans, why do they have to turn SUVs into sports cars? Because they can, I suppose. But Volvo can also do a lot: comfort, design, safety. Then you can lose the crispness rating.
And then there are two more details that you simply have to like the XC60 for, even if the D5 costs a hefty 52,600 euros. The Bowers-&-Wilkins system with Kevlar speakersand a room sound simulation of the Gothenburg concert hall. Anyone who has spent 2980 extra euros for this will also be enthusiastic about the idea of making the engine cover out of soft, foamed plastic. That makes the diesel quieter, and it shows how lovingly the engineers look after it. At least still.
The quieter one gives way. The engine cover made of soft, foamed plastic swallows a lot of diesel nailing
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