Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami! @VolvoUSA

By Jonathan Howe June 3rd, 2016 Posted in Roadtrip & Adventure, Travel Blog, Travel Gear Reviews No comments

Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami!

After a whole month travelling around Mexico and Central America on old chicken busses – discarded relics of the US school and prison systems – we landed in Miami Airport, ready for a few days of swanky hotels, beach life and good old dose of that ‘Miami crazy’ we love so much. The first thing we needed was some wheels, because getting around in Miami is simply not that easy without one. So we got out of the airport and headed over to the car park to pick up the brand new Volvo we had arranged to test out for a few days, putting it through its paces on the streets of Miami.

Two Monkeys Travel - Volvo xc60 - Miami 1Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami

Test Driving the Volvo XC60

When I had heard we would be testing out one of Volvo’s XC range, I honestly expected something a little bulkier, fatter-looking even. Having a three-year-old Volvo XC70 in the family, I was expecting something pretty big, but when we arrived to pick it up, I almost didn’t notice it was an XC at all. Sure it had some extra clearance but the lines of the bodywork and the lower trim seemed to keep the profile very sleek-looking, unlike other crossover SUV’s. You can see for yourself that this is a very good-looking car!

Two Monkeys Travel - Volvo xc60 - Miami 1Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami

Two Monkeys Travel - Volvo xc60 - Miami 1Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami

Inside the Volvo XC60

Climbing inside everything seemed quite familiar, as my father drives a 2016 Volvo V60. As I have always found with Volvos, everything feels solid and of a very high quality, without being unnecessarily fancy or blingy, as we’ve come to expect from Scandinavian cars. The leather seats and trim inside the new Volvos are very soft and smooth, while completely avoiding that sticky feeling that leather sometimes has in the heat.

Two Monkeys Travel - Volvo xc60 - Miami 1Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami

Something I liked a lot was the digital dials, which are designed to look and act just like regular needle dials, only a lot cooler! Both of the front seats had programmable electronic controls as standard. As well as the centre console gear lever, there were also flappy paddles on the steering wheel which were well positioned, although they weren’t really required as the 8-speed automatic gearbox always seemed to know what to do and when!

Two Monkeys Travel - Volvo xc60 - Miami 1Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami

This car was full of cool features, like the driver and passenger seats which could be adjusted in 8 different ways, including lumbar support and even thigh support to adjust the angle your legs approach the pedals! The biggest new features which I had never seen on a car was the collision avoidance system, which in the simplest sense seemed to be an automatic emergency braking system. I only found out it was there at all by accident, pulling up to park in a space directly in front of a wall, the Volvo decided that I wasn’t going to stop in time and slammed on the brakes, literally taking the brake pedal to the floor under my foot! While it wasn’t necessary at that point at all, I was impressed at its reactions and maybe I have a habit of pulling into parking spaces a little bit on the fast side! There was also a full onboard computer system, indicator signals on the wing mirrors, climate control, voice control, GPS navigation and all the other things we’ve come to expect as standard these days.

Two Monkeys Travel - Volvo xc60 - Miami 1Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami

When I started digging around the rest of the car, I came across several other cool features which could have been overlooked. The two rear seats on either side, which looked like normal seats, could lift up to become child booster seats. In the massive boot (sorry, trunk) there was a hinged floor panel that lifted up to reveal more storage underneath, but which could also be used to create a smaller compartment to stop things from moving around in there. We had two full-size suitcases in there and there was space for at least one more.

Two Monkeys Travel - Volvo xc60 - Miami 1Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami

In terms of styling, it’s definitely a Volvo; it looks rugged and tough enough to take a hit and keep you safe but manages to look good at the same time. The lines of the bodywork seem to make the roofline appear lower than it actually is, while the slightly nose-down stance and big alloy wheels disguise the extra clearance it has. In short, the XC60 does quite a good job of hiding the fact that it’s an XC at all! It looks and feels small, maneuverable, even sporty, but it provides all of the benefits of an SUV.

Driving around Miami and Miami Beach was a breeze, enjoyable even, with a higher driving position to see across traffic, full climate control, big leather seats and a power 2.0-liter turbo petrol engine, pulled around quickly and smoothly by the 8-speed auto gearbox. As a tourist in Miami, I make a lot of sudden lane changes as I’m trying to figure out where the navigation system is telling me to go! The Volvo XC60 has sharp handling despite the ride height, Volvo’s famous TCS system and brakes that would stop a truck twice its size, not to mention the ‘enthusiastic’ collision avoidance system, so this was not a problem. At least not for me anyway. The drivers around me might have said different, but i couldn’t hear them inside my moose-proof Swedish power-cocoon!

Two Monkeys Travel - Volvo xc60 - Miami 1Volvo XC60 Road Test Review – Road Trippin’ Miami

While I didn’t get the chance to try out the Volvo XC60 on anything other than Miami tarmac, I think lit would handle itself pretty well, although it’s not really designed for climbing boulders in the Moab or swimming through mud pits. Overall, the XC60 is a strong, stylish, powerful crossover SUV which gives you everything you expect from a Volvo and then a little bit more.

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Written by Jonathan Howe

Jon is the Old White Monkey. Born in the south of England, Jon spent much of his early childhood in Kenya and Malawi, before moving to the Lake District in North West England aged 13 where he acquired a northern accent and a love for lakes, mountains, waterfalls, black pudding and gravy! After 14 years of studying and working in various (very various!) jobs, he too felt the need to get out and see the rest of the world. He loves tropical beaches, surfing, hiking, the outdoors, yoga, adventure sports and motorbikes!

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