Measuring 4,688cm nose-to-tail with 2,865mm of space in-between the two axles means very usable space for passengers and cargo at no squeeze. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
Measuring 4,688cm nose-to-tail with 2,865mm of space in-between the two axles means very usable space for passengers and cargo at no squeeze. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

Should more people searching for the perfect premium midsized SUV think deeper and consider this Volvo XC60?

We've been finding out over the past six months and this is why I say, yes. I’ve done more than 6,000km with the car. I’ve also opted for it a couple of times over some choice weekend wheels simply because it’s such a decent and thoroughly enjoyable car to live with.

Many a time a segment rival has arrived for a road test yet none has left having dented this Scandinavian’s capabilities.

But let’s recap a bit. In the time that the XC60 has been in our possession it has won numerous prestigious awards, including and not limited to, the World Car of the Year 2018; North American Utility Vehicle of the Year; Middle East Car of the Year; Best Luxury Crossover at the Qatar Car Awards 2018, and Executive SUV category in the local Cars.co.za awards.

The majority of kilometres were racked up in the heart of Gauteng’s main arteries where it joined thousands of other cars in the daily rat-race, averaging 8.6l/100km. The XC60 also lends itself to being the ultimate long-distance cruiser.

Measuring 4,688cm nose-to-tail with 2,865mm of space in-between the two axles means very usable space for passengers and cargo at no squeeze. It’s also naturally agile and made proper use of its latent dynamism to neutralise the bendy roads of Magoebaskloof when I took it to Tzaneen, Limpopo.

It also visited Mpumalanga on a number of occasions, safely, comfortably and confidently tearing past the forests of White River all the way to the back roads of Ngodini, all the while gobbling up no more than an open road average of 7.0l/100km.

The bird’s eye view perspective on the screen makes easy work of parking. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
The bird’s eye view perspective on the screen makes easy work of parking. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

Volvo’s current good run began with the larger XC90, itself a previous winner of World Car of the Year. The lessons and successes in R&D from that model trickled down to the more compact XC60, enabling Volvo to spread its magic to a wider audience.  The XC60 is exactly the kind of sub R1m upper-mid SUV a BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5 minded customer wants.

Priced at R812,150, our long-term Volvo D5 Inscription was a sumptuously kitted package with chrome trim on the body, dual pipes and handsome alloys. A host of cabin amenities included perforated and ventilated Nappa leather seat covers, a 31cm, TFT Digital Driver Display and much more.

This car was well equipped. Further to the aforementioned highlights it featured a number of optional equipment and the one I’d most readily buy is Volvo’s autonomous driving Pilot Assist.

This feature went on to reconfigure my views on driverless engagement. I reckon the car drove itself for 80% of all driving hours in my possession, needing my intervention only on hair-pin bends, intersections and when other road users deployed erratic driving behaviour, which still baffles a number of these systems. Otherwise, it went about its semi-autonomous driving brilliantly.

This and other additional niceties raised its price R948, 450.

Summary

It’s definitely an SUV that punches above expectations. This is a car that never feels anything less than ideal, particularly in D5 twin turbo diesel form. The motor kept things comfy and frugal.

My very last drive of the XC60 was taking for its 15,000km service at Tom Campher Motors, a Johannesburg dealership established in 1974.  The only niggle with the Volvo was that the navigation system couldn’t pinpoint the exact location of the car, but the dealership fixed that with a software update.