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It is amazing how long the Volvo XC60 has been on the road. It was introduced in 2009, wasn’t it? And it does not look a day older that when it first made the leap from paper to metal, unlike some cars with designs that aged prematurely. However, since one man’s Picasso is another’s kindergarten drawing, I’ll leave the design judgement up to you.

What can’t be argued is that the XC60 has one of the more interesting tail lamp assembly in recent memory. That line that goes from roof to shoulder is svelte and most certainly very attractive at night.

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The interior remains characteristically a Volvo, although you’ll immediately take note of the gear knob. It’s a well-crafted thing that’ll take your attention. Peek at it from different angles and it is apparent that there is a 3D effect happening inside. Gimmicky but it is one I like to have.

The interior design remains interesting. The waterfall console still looks just as groundbreaking as ever. Ladies will find that extra space handy to stow handbags no matter which front seat they are on. Then you’ll spot something different in the Volvo. The gear knob is now crafted to have some sort of 3D effect inside, so much so you’re encouraged to peek at it from different angles. It’s gimmicky, I agree, but it is one I like to have.

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Ergonomics is spot on and so is the placement of the knobs and switches. Quality cannot be discounted as well. But instead of making it look rich, the interior actually emanates a pleasant atmosphere that’s no less plush.

Under the hood is a lightly boosted 2.0-litre engine that gives the the SUV adequate kick off the start line to reach 100kph in 8.1 seconds. Having 240hp and 320Nm that gets sent to the front axle though a six-speed Powershift, a dual-clutch automatic gearbox in case you didn’t know, can give you that sort of figures. You’re right, the numbers isn’t exactly headlining but the SUV nowhere near being underpowered.

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Really, you don’t have to stand on the accelerator to get the XC60 off the mark. It has plenty of low end torque shove its mass – you get full delivery from 1,800rpm right up to 5,000rpm. The acceleration feels silky and more importantly, strong. The six-speeder performs as it should with good grades. Leave the computer to manage the gear-changes and you’ll find the car in the right teeth all the time. You could opt to flick the gears yourself – the XC60 gives you the freedom to stretch the revs to the redline – but fuel economy suffers from human meddling. Not that you can help it of course, especially when the XC60 is able to dance around corners.

Almost. The XC60 is still a rather large vehicle so it doesn’t track the corner with an even keel. the good news is that body roll is under control, as if the car has a mind that keeps everything in check. To be more accurate, there are three minds that keep the tyres on the tarmac: Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Roll Stability Control (RSC) and Roll Over Protection System (ROPS). Essentially, these systems will brake the necessary wheel or wheels depending on speed and angle of the XC60 to prevent the car getting out of hand.

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It’s quite obedient too, especially when the straight roads start to bear curves. The steering is weighted, depending on speed, and is smart enough to know when the XC60 is moving though corners of B-roads or the turns in a parking lot. Plenty of communication from the wheel increases handling confidence as well.

Let’s not leave out the safety aspects of the XC60, it is a Volvo after all. A glance though the marketing materials and the letters that make up the safety acronym is astounding: SIPS, WHIPS, PRS, LDW, BLIS, and IDIS just to name a few. Essentially, these system will alert you for approaching vehicles, help you avoid accidents and help reduce injury if Miss Bad Luck still wants to dance with you.

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The highlight of the lot is the City Safety that screams your ears out while it charges the brakes. Failure to slam on the middle paddle will result in the car doing it for you, while still screaming into your ears of course. Depending on how fast you car going, you may or may not crash, but the reduction in speed would have already lessen the damage. It’s not a fool-proof system. City Safety is only effective up to 30kph and it is up to the drivers to hit the brakes if the SUV is going any faster.

Needless to say, Volvo has made a very capable SUV and should be on your list if you’re shopping for one. The only thing that would stop you from committing is the price. Forking out RM300,888 for one is a little steep, don’t you think? Especially when there are already better products in the market?

While there may be better SUVs out there in similar price range, none could compare to the interior design or the safety features that come with it. But that’s not saying much, is it?