These days with HD television, ageing stars like Teri Hatcher at 45 must be finding it rough. After seven seasons of the hit dramedy Desperate Housewives starring as Susan Mayer, she still looks FAB-o-bulous. Over the last few episodes, she is showing more skin than ever as her character turns to Internet porn for cash. And we think Ms Hatcher still has the goods, well at least to these gay eyes!
Whatever nip and tucks Ms Hatcher has undergone or not, we will never know, but part of her de-ageing should be credited to the car she zips around Wisteria Lane, the Volvo XC60. Trading in her somewhat more traditional looking XC70 for a more design-conscious SUV from Volvo.
This is the first Volvo to be ever designed by Steve Mattin; an ex-Mercedes man with the SL, SLK, SLR and the Maybach in his portfolio. Mattin is no longer with Volvo after completing the recently launched S60 and was replaced by his predecessor, Peter Horbury. Dramatic can be the used to describe his exit and his work. The mid-sized SUV carries such exaggerated curvy flanks and an almost coupe-esque profile. And who can miss the nose with quite possibly the largest Volvo badge ever.
Overall the XC60 is a distinctive looking SUV, but pretty it ain't, just like all SUVs. Still, park the Volvo next to rivals like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLK (for left-hand drive markets only) and the Land Rover Freelander II, the XC60 is quite possibly the best looking of the lot. That’s quite an achievement for the relatively small Scandinavian premium car maker.
Our featured car is the 2.0T model and there is precious little from the exterior to suggest that this is the base model. Offering this posh off-roader with just front-wheel drive might at first seem to be a move as disastrous as asking the cast of Desperate Housewives to go makeup free! But have you heard or seen anyone taking a Volvo XC60 out for serious off-roading? Perhaps kerb climbing would be the most extreme these posh off-roaders will ever do - which the raised ride height is capable of taking care of that.
Losing the rear diff, driveshafts and propshaft has saved 80kg and a further 55kg with the smaller capacity engine compared to the T6 range-topper. The end result is a reduced appetite for fuel (8.5 litres per 100km) , though performance takes a slight step back. Hitting 0-100km/h in 8.9 secs compared to 7.3 secs is not exactly a deal breaker, right?
The truth is, driving a Volvo is about mid-range punch and the new 2.0 turbocharged engine is exceptionally flexible and backed by the excellent six-speed Powershift (Volvo’s dual-clutch) gearbox, the 2.0T will satisfy most SUV-buying folks. (Oddly, the T6 still makes do with a conventional six-speed automatic.)
Speaking of the targeted demographics, driving the XC60 reminds us why REAL drivers do not actively seek buying a SUV. Its handling is safe and the ride is generally compliant. Oh yes, its quiet too and err... the steering is light but direct.
What matters to the SUV buying crowd is the interior and here’s where the Volvo gets our vote. If anyone is sick of German interiors, the Volvo would be your best alternative. While the exterior went 180° in terms of traditional "Volvo", the interior of the XC60 is kept intact with comfort and logic everywhere.
Controls are well-placed, the supportive seats are industry leading comfy, visibility is good thanks to its lofty stance and the rear has a glass tailgate which helps when you’re trying to reverse. Seems like the only downer would be the relatively stingy storage place for odd items. Somehow that minute space behind the floating centre console seems to be destined for dust.
In terms of equipment, the bells and whistles and more are still evident. For the shopholics, there’s the power tailgate and the keyless entry and start system. For the chatty, there’s the self-braking City Safety collision avoidance, gulp! Compared to the T6 model, most might miss the bi-xenon headlamps but no one will really care if the hill descent control is omitted.
Perhaps in the suburbs of Westeria Lane, there is a need for AWD, but over here in the concrete jungle, the Volvo XC60 2.0T with ESP and traction control will do just fine. Besides the S$16K savings over the T6 can be helpful in other de-ageing products and procedures. Surely, Teri Hatcher couldn't agree more with that!
|Engine||2.0 GTDi (1,999 cc 4-cylinder petrol turbo engine)|
|Transmission||6-speed Powershift (dual-clutch)|
|Max. Power||203 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Max. Torque||300 Nm @ 1,750-4,000 rpm overboost 320 Nm|
|0-100 km/h||8.9 secs|
|Top speed||205 km/h|
|Fuel Economy||8.5 litres per 100 km|
|Dimensions (L x W x H) / Weight||4,627mm x 1,891mm x 1,713mm / 1,756Kg|
|Price with COE*||S$179,000|