The all-new XC60 gets the same 2.0-litre 235bhp/480Nm engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission that does duty in the XC90/V90 (power is sent to all four wheels). On cranking this motor, you will find some diesel clatter, but thankfully, superior cabin insulation keeps external noises at bay. On the go, despite the power delivery from this motor being linear, you can feel the strong midrange that picks up post 1500rpm and goes all the way to the 4000rpm limiter, and it undeniably makes for a wide power band.
The eight-speed gearbox (with paddle shifters) complements the character of the engine. However, we felt that the short shift lever was a little tricky to use when actuated in a hurry. To derive the best out of the motor, there are five preset drive modes that alter the engine/gearbox characteristics. On the go, the snazzy looking rotating switch requires extra effort to switch modes.
With Eco, Comfort, Off Road, Dynamic and Individual modes to choose from, Eco is meant for the best possible efficiency. It also makes for easy driving since the upshifts are quicker and the engine runs smooth all the time. That said, Comfort offers a slightly better response for a bit more excitement behind the wheel. This brings us to the Dynamic mode that offers a more spirited driving experience as the transmission clings on to lower gears for instant response. Individual mode, on the other hand, is customisable, and allows the driver to mix and match the preset modes to alter the steering, powertrain, brake and suspension responses. We found ourselves driving in this mode to match our personal requirements.
On the suspension front, the all-new XC60 gets an air suspension setup for all wheels and the driving modes also have preset adjustments for the damping characteristics. Off-road mode can only be activated while doing speeds of up to 40kmph, and it gets the system to channel more torque to the rear wheels. Additionally, ground clearance is automatically increased to a maximum of 223mm. We shall reserve our judgement of the new XC60’s off-roading skills for a later date since we didn’t get the opportunity to get off the road.
In Eco/Comfort mode the ride at low speeds is great and although you can hear the suspension working its way over harsh bumps, you never really feel them in the cabin. However, there is some up and down movement at higher speeds. But as soon as you shift into Dynamic mode, the ride gets noticeably flatter, and the XC60 drives with good stability at highway speeds.
Let’s talk about the steering now. The XC60’s steering is adequately quick off the centre, and also feels light in Eco and Comfort modes. It goes without saying that this makes driving in the city an easy affair. But having said that, although the steering gets slightly heavier in Dynamic mode, we found the steering response in Comfort mode more natural, and eventually stuck to that. Volvo also seems to have got it spot-on with the brakes since it is remarkably progressive with excellent feedback. On the whole, we thoroughly felt that the XC60 will do a great job in covering great distances in good comfort.