Volvo’s top-seller, the XC60, has received a much-anticipated overhaul, and being a Volvo much of the story is about its now higher standard of safety features. Internally and externally, XC60 has a strong resemblance to its larger SUV sibling the XC90, but XC60 took on only about 50 per cent of its DNA, granting it its own identity. But in line with the company’s vision of “no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020”, a large part of this carry-over has been equipping XC60 with a full suite of Volvo’s Intellisafe technologies.
Configurable within the Intellisafe package is an electronic speed limiter, adaptive cruise control, pilot assist and distance alert. Although not intuitive at first, it’s relatively easy to change between speed limiter, adaptive cruise and Pilot Assist (a semi-autonomous driving system). The adaptive cruise worked well, and in Pilot Assist mode XC60 felt confident in its understanding of the road ahead, employing an assertive steering assistance with very minimal movement within the lane. But even at the lowest headway setting, it seemed to start slowing down a little earlier than when you’d normally decide to change lanes and overtake. This was more prevalent with a small speed difference to the vehicle you were approaching.
Even without Pilot Assist engaged, XC60 monitors the road to help keep you safe, with features such as speed sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, run-off-road mitigation and protection, blind spot monitoring with steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert and large animal detection. It provides this aid in a relatively unobtrusive manner, although it was still clear to the driver that the vehicle deemed it necessary to intervene.
New to Volvo in XC60 is a collision avoidance assistant to help the driver in making evasive manoeuvres, and ‘oncoming lane mitigation’, which steers the vehicle back into its lane should the driver drift over the lines into the path of an oncoming vehicle.