How Volvo made the station wagon horny

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They’ve lengthy been protected as homes, however the newest breed of Volvo wagons does not appear like a block of flats.

Witness the 2d era XC60, the most recent interpretation of Volvo’s hottest mannequin – and an SUV primed to take the struggle to the trendy luxurious heartland.

An evolution of the unique, the most recent XC60 packs extra design particulars right into a lighter, extra spacious physique.

It competes within the candy spot of the trendy luxurious market in opposition to heavy hitters such because the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3 and Lexus NX.

Scroll via the gallery on the high to see the most recent game-changing station wagons. 

Numbers recreation

Along with most luxurious rivals, Volvo makes use of an alpha-numeric naming system.

Letters denote the physique form (S for sedans, XC for SUVs and V for hatches and wagons) and a bigger quantity means a much bigger automotive.

The XC90, S90 and V90 launched an all-new structure that has now made its manner all the way down to the mid-sized 60-series automobiles, the XC60 the primary to utilise it.

Its significance is the way it has reworked the driving expertise of Volvos, as soon as identified for security effectively forward of pleasure.

The finer factors of driving dynamics – notably steering really feel – are nonetheless underdone, with a very mild and distant really feel.

Blame that partly on the wonderful competitors.

But the core driving manners of the XC60 are sound, one thing that permits for the occasional spirited backroad punt.

And it is quiet and cozy.

Four thought

Every Volvo bought nowadays has a four-cylinder engine (and a three-cylinder is coming).

The diesel and petrol engines cowl all the things from the child V40 via to the S90 limousine.

And they’re accessible in a spread of outputs; a T denotes it is petrol powered and a D diesel, with bigger numbers signifying extra energy.

Not that the engine is left by itself in all purposes.

Buy a T8 mannequin, for instance, and the two.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged engine is teamed with a 65kW electrical motor, sufficient to propel the SUV to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds.

So, it is fast. Plus, in order for you you may recharge it from a family powerpoint and drive as much as 45km purely on electrical energy (albeit with considerably diminished efficiency).

Even the bottom D4 diesel is a candy engine, with respectable efficiency (the 100km/h dash takes 8.4 seconds) and a clean, versatile nature.

And the D5 provides some innovation within the type of PowerPulse, which makes use of an air compressor to inject air into one of many 2 turbochargers to scale back lag, thereby enhancing response if you press the accelerator.

Safe as…

Despite the concentrate on model and luxurious Volvo nonetheless charges security amongst its model pillars.

While the core of the automotive is designed to guard in an affect, the emphasis is swinging to avoiding a crash within the first place.

Auto braking (a part of the City Safety system) seems out for different autos and pedestrians, in addition to giant animals (suppose cows and horses); Volvo has additionally despatched engineers to Australia to guage the motion of kangaroos, with the view to increasing the system to these in future. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the erratic nature of kangaroos on the highway is inflicting challenges for engineers.

Most automobiles place the forward-facing radar that’s a part of the auto braking system within the grille, the place it will get a superb view of the highway forward however may be simply broken.

But Volvo now locates it within the windscreen, the place it is much less inclined to wreck.

Wagons ho

It’s not all SUVs over at Volvo, a model that when bought extra luxurious wagons than any competitor.

These days the V90 is left to do the heavy lifting on the luxurious finish of the wagon scale.

Adopting the Cross Country moniker, it is extra crossover wagon than pure luxurious machine, using barely larger and utilizing all-wheel drive to deal with snow or gravel.

Think of it as a limousine antidote to the bigger XC90 SUV.

The Cross Country shouldn’t be alone in that crossover house – Audi has its Allroad and Mercedes-Benz the All Terrain – however Volvo is one thing of a stalwart in utilising a standard wagon however tweaking the design to present it a brand new persona.

At $99,900 it is an acquired style in a broad discipline of SUVs – lots of which have an additional row of seats – however the beneficiant house and competent driving manners spotlight the luxurious over performance.

Clever and cozy

Modern Volvos do not trouble with the boxy strains that when outlined the model, as a substitute adopting a extra fluid design characterised by shapely LED tail lights that hug the elegant curves.

But it is the inside that finest screams Swedish model.

Some luxurious automobiles look busy and cluttered, however the interiors of the XC60 and V90 are an ideal instance of type assembly operate.

There are giant dials once they’re wanted (the quantity management, for instance) and a steering wheel that controls the digital dashboard and different main features, whereas controls for lesser used options are included into the central touchscreen (which even has a digital proprietor’s handbook).

And the choice of woods, metals and leathers feel and appear genuine, including to the atmosphere.

There’s additionally hints of cleverness.

Some fashions, for instance, have pop-up booster seats within the rear, one thing that creates a toddler seat on the pull of a lever.

Not that each one is ideal. Some issues appear to be completely different for the sake of being completely different.

The twisting stop-start button, for instance, or the 9.0-inch touchscreen that’s mounted vertically fairly than horizontally, lowering the dimensions of the reversing digicam show.

Sound off

Volvo was one of many pioneers of extremely high quality audio methods in luxurious automobiles.

In the 1990s, for instance, German manufacturers sometimes went for primary sound methods, however Volvos had a bit extra enhance and aural pleasure.

These days the competitors has caught up, though Volvo continues to be punching arduous.

Whether it is the usual Harman Kardon system or the premium Bowers & Wilkins, the latter laced with Kevlar audio system and fantastically completed steel grilles.

Out again

There’s a bit little bit of bush pondering within the newest Volvo wagons.

But it is their elegant interiors and candy four-cylinder engines that outline the XC60 and V90 Cross Country.

Sure, every has its foibles, however collectively they display how far the model has come.

Scroll via the gallery on the high to see the most recent game-changing station wagons. 

Toby Hagon from executivestyle.com.au

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