A new entry-level version of Volvo‘s best-selling XC60 premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) goes on sale in South Africa this month (February 2022), priced at R750 000 all in (including VAT and emissions tax). It’s called the XC60 B5 Momentum, and it comes with front-wheel drive only, but it’s still packing fuel-saving and luxury features that make it attractive.
Like all derivatives in the recently updated XC60 range, the new B5 model offers a mild-hybrid powertrain that includes a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) capable of recuperating braking energy to charge a 48-volt battery. Its integrated starter generator uses this recovered energy to support the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine and further reduce tailpipe emissions. As a result, the vehicle’s claimed combined fuel consumption figure comes in at just 6.9 litres/100km.
No lack of motivation
Despite its status as the entry point to the range, there’s nothing entry-level about the performance on offer with the new XC60 B5. Driving the front wheels via an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission, that engine punches out 183kW of power and 350Nm of torque. Peak rotational force comes in from as low as 1 800rpm giving it spritely performance with a 0 to 100km/h sprint of just 7 seconds. Of course, Volvo‘s are limited to 180km/h on the top end.
Packed with bells and whistles
You’d expect an entry-level version in a line-up these days to come with just the essential luxury items to pass as a premium car, but that’s not the case here, as the XC60 B5 Momentum with FWD is loaded with standard kit. Volvo notes that although the model slots in below the XC60 B5 Momentum with AWD, it’s by no means short of gear.
As standard, you get 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, parking assist (front and rear), a reversing camera and inductive smartphone charging, while leather upholstery is optional. The car also offers an Android-powered infotainment system with built-in Google apps and services. The vehicle can receive over-the-air updates (software over the air) to ensure both the vehicle software and the multimedia operating system stays secure and up-to-date.
Volvo boss confident it will sell
According to Greg Maruszewski, Managing Director at Volvo Car South Africa, the new B5 FWD derivative will further cement the XC60‘s long-held status as the brand’s top-selling vehicle in the country: “The arrival of the new vehicle puts this efficient yet powerful mild-hybrid powertrain within reach of more South Africans, allowing them to experience Volvo‘s signature luxury and safety. Market-leading technology such as the new Android-powered infotainment system, meanwhile, offers unparalleled connectivity.”
The XC60 has been Volvo‘s top-selling vehicle globally since 2009 and was awarded the World Car of the Year title in 2018. A year ago, the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) handed the XC60 its Top Safety Pick Plus accolade to go along with the five-star rating it earlier earned from Euro NCAP.
Shift to electric vehicles is still a priority
We asked Maruszewski how the Volvo XC40 Recharge (full-electric vehicle) has been received so far since it went on sale online in SA last year. The model can drive more than 400km on a single charge, and for the first few years of ownership, you can still have access to a petrol or a diesel vehicle if you think you might experience range anxiety on those long road trips.
“We were hoping to bring the vehicle to South Africa in 2021. Unfortunately, this could not happen due to two of the most significant challenges facing the global automotive and electronics industries: the shortage of semiconductors and the Covid-19 pandemic. We sold out in four days, and to date, 30 cars have been reserved for customers. Currently, we are sold out for production until April, and we are waiting for the next allocation.”
The Volvo boss said the first XC40 Recharge delivery in SA took place on the 25th of January 2022. “Eleven XC40 P8 Recharge models will have arrived by the end of January for delivery to customers, and then the remaining 30 cars sold will land here by June 2022,” he expounds.
When you buy a Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge in South Africa, it comes with a Volvo Care Package that includes a wall box charger (AC, single phase) for your home. This package consists of a five-year maintenance plan and warranty (with the battery pack covered for eight years or 160 000km). You also get three years of comprehensive insurance, use of a petrol-powered vehicle for a two week holiday every year for three years and all the requisite charge cables.
“We launched the XC40 at R1.2 million, and all 30 were sold at that price. Interest in the model and electrification of our vehicles has undoubtedly increased in the last six months. Whilst BEV is the future, the PHEV technology is the ideal solution for South Africa right now, and our customers are seeing the benefit of short distance city driving on battery and enjoying the use of petrol engines on longer journeys,” Maruszewski says.
Mild-hybrid technology and plug-in hybrid technology will increase in South Africa in the coming years. However, Volvo plans to move ahead with fully electric cars, too, as Maruszewski has confirmed that the C40 will be launched in SA later this year – hopefully with an all-electric drivetrain if the global stock situation regarding semiconductor availability improves.
Source: Pritesh Ruthun (www.wheels24.co.za)